Treats set them up for real life

5th March 2004 at 00:00
As an ex-teacher of 30 years' experience I despair at the comments made last week by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers' general secretary, Eamonn O'Kane, advising teachers to avoid school trips.

My present interest is as a partner in London Theatre Tours, a company that specialises in educational visits to London. Like all teachers and similar companies our overwhelming priority is always given to the health, safety and well-being of group members.

All the hotels, theatres and workshop studios used by us are inspected and fully licensed by the appropriate authorities.

The visits we organise give pupils the experiences of seeing shows, meeting and working with performers from shows and staying behind after performances for question-and-answer sessions, as well as the added experience of visiting their capital city.

It is not all that dissimilar from when I was a secondary modern pupil in the Sixties and was taken by enthusiastic teachers to the theatre. We even had a school trip to Belgium. I remember all the experiences to this day whereas I retain nothing specific from lessons I had at the same time.

As a comprehensive school teacher, I was involved in endless theatre visits as well as Outward Bound treks to the Yorkshire Dales and visits to Germany and Russia. All were enjoyable, memorable, even exciting and always educational.

Why should the present so-called enlightened but increasingly depressing education system deprive our young people of the life-enhancing experiences enjoyed by their parents and grandparents for 40 years or more?

Allan Stronach

Partner, London Theatre Tours

47 Fernleigh Road

Winchmore Hill, London N21

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