Value of overseas trips in primary school?

(39 Posts)
Everhopeful Wed 07-Nov-12 09:19:19

My dd's class (Y6) is going on a trip to France next June. At this point in the school year, it doesn't feel incredibly educational to me and nearly all the secondary schools seem to do trips in Y7 or Y8 in any case. Add to that the simple increase in risk through potentially being lost in a foreign country when your grip on the language is poor...and you're 11...I'm refusing. I expect a bruising from HT on previous track record. How would you feel about it?

SoldeInvierno Fri 09-Nov-12 16:24:46

OP, if you can't afford it at this point, then fair enough. Your DD won't be able to go and it won't cause her any long term damage. That's for sure. However, if you can afford it, then worrying about risks and educational value is unnecessary IMO. The risks are minimal and the educational value is probably beyond the scope of this trip. It is done to create nice memories for the children, have a bit of fun, practise a bit of French and give them the opportunity to mature a bit more, away from their parents before they move to senior school.

My son has been going away with school since Y3 for 2/3 nights at a time and each time he comes back a bit more mature and independent. He loves these trips. Independence is a skill they need to learn and trips are a perfect opportunity for it.

Everhopeful Fri 09-Nov-12 15:45:13

No expectation laid on the kids to speak only French - they do have a couple of specific occasions for this during the week, but that's all.

TunaPastaBake, thanks for your support iwth HT! I can understand that it looks like purely cost and that's certainly a lot of the problem. But I did say I'd find the money somehow if I was convinced she actually needed to go. That's the sort of thing that HT will get to me over, as she'll just guilt trip me over the risk of cancelling it. The governors have already said that this is the last trip anyway, so I don't see that I should feel personally responsible

Beanbagz Fri 09-Nov-12 15:19:10

My Y6 DD will go to France for a week next year.

She's been learning French for 4 years and they're expected to try and only speak french to the teachers/staff on site for the whole week. There'll be lots of local educational visits too.

I have no concerns for her safety whilst in France and wouldn't dream of her missing out on such a fantastic opportunity.

TunaPastaBake Fri 09-Nov-12 15:16:41

I'm not sure what the reasons are that you will not send her - it appears from your last pots that it is the cost - if so far enough don't send her.

But in your OP it was because of the risk of her getting lost and the lack of it being 'educational'.

Either way don't get bullied into it by HT.

Everhopeful Fri 09-Nov-12 15:01:39

Well, HT's tone is very determined and did bully (no better word for it) several parents into sending their dcs on IoW week in Y5. I wasn't happy then, but went along with it as I agree that it is great for the kids to do and MIL chipped in. Surely once is enough though? And surely we should have the right to choose, rather than just blithely stumping up each time?

I just feel that our culture is starting to give every kid absolutely everything as early as possible all the time. The more it happens like that, the more "essential" it is regarded as being. My dd is sensible enough to understand that cash is tight right now and will be till I get a job: for now, my savings have to cover it and I don't know how much longer they have to last. Even she agrees with me that the priority now moves to secondary, so I can support her better there (just hoping I'll have a job by then!), even though she wouldn't mind going. If we go away anywhere, it'll be France in any case - or I can send her to relatives there to be looked after lavishly for the entire summer for that money!

Hulababy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:31:26

A day trip would only work if you are really close to the ferry/tunnel. But it still isn't the same - a day trip with early start/home or the chance to sleep over with your school mates on a school trip - I know which most children would prefer!

Hulababy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:29:16

Who is picking on you/your child for not wanting to go?

In DD's school every child this year did go to France. I know int he classes below for the UK residential 2 children didn't go as didn't want to stay over without a parent - so their parents chose to drive them there (about an hour/hour and half each way) and take them home that day - but only one day of the three, rest of time they stayed in school. Nothing bad happened to these girls before or after; no child or school staff had a go at them. initially the school did check why they didn't want to go, and if there was a way round it - but after that nothing; they were just accomodated within school the rest of the time.

ByTheWay1 Fri 09-Nov-12 10:44:07

It is in June in Y6 - it is a jolly to keep them occupied and out of trouble since they are leaving school soon.... I wouldn't be happy either spending that much money when my child is not guaranteed to do French in Y7 anyhow... some do German, some do Spanish.....

Our Y6 do their "team building" PGL trip in July - "because the weather is nicer then" rather than doing the "team building" before they are all splitting up to go to different schools... again it is a jolly to fill the space between SATs and leaving...

Everhopeful Fri 09-Nov-12 10:37:55

Hulababy - I agree that not all kids get to visit a different country, but it isn't fair to expect everyone to support that to the point of picking on them if they aren't free school meals (I would expect that most would be though, so they'll be paid for anyway). Round my way, most are quite well off and the vast majority would have been abroad before with their families.

Everhopeful Fri 09-Nov-12 10:35:35

MrsMuffinTop, I would have a lot less problem with letting DD go to China (if I had the money, but that is a separate issue) though still think Y6 is a bit early for it. I'm impressed it was offered by a state school too, though I suppose Chinese would count as your "next-door language" in Oz, which often influences which one is offered in any country.

I don't especially have a problem with it being a jolly with a bit of education thrown in and I do respect that the school has been doing this a while, so the risk is low. However, there are many nice things you can spend money on and I'd rather put mine where she will grow new friends, sooner than have a few more happy memories of old ones. Those she really values, she will stay in touch with in any case, though previous experience has taught me that few are as good at it as we are (we've had a few disappointments already there - people who don't mind if we call them, but never, ever call us. They've moved on in their minds and expect us to do the same, I guess) and 5 days in France won't influence that at all. I think a day trip would give most of the benefits for much less money and would stump up for that!

The school has made it clear there is no hardship fund available: those on free school meals get it paid for by the state. We're in quite a naice area here, so many of the parents can afford it without thinking too hard, but I'm with the mum on another thread who doesn't especially want to access a hardship fund for something we consider unnecessary. I'd pay for it myself somehow if I thought it were necessary. It's just that I don't, that's all - it's only a nice-to-have IMO.

I'm really grateful to everyone for giving me my views and don't want any of you to feel I ignored any of them. They are all very valid. I have now become convinced why I felt as I do, which is as good an outcome as any - thanks very much!

Hulababy Fri 09-Nov-12 07:45:19

Wow, the china trip sounds amazing. Dd would live that!

mrsmuffintop Fri 09-Nov-12 04:41:02

My DD is in Year 6 (last year of primary school in our part of Oz) and has just returned from a school trip to China for 2 weeks. Only children who had taken Chinese as an optional extra for at least a year were eligible to go. They had a home stay and attended school in China as well as sightseeing.

It was hard to let her go, but the trip was very well-planned and highly supervised, so the risks were efficiently minimised, and I have great trust in the staff of her (state) school.

She had an amazing time, really developed her spoken Chinese and has become so much more mature and responsible in the space of a fortnight that it is amazing. I know she will remember it for the rest of her life. For me there is no question that the trip has been incredibly beneficial.

TunaPastaBake Thu 08-Nov-12 21:28:25

When our children leave school they will always remember the fun things - this would be one of them. smile

Hulababy Thu 08-Nov-12 20:36:14

And surely one of the elements of a good school trip should be that the children have fun. Yes, they are educational too - but why can't school stuff also be for a good fun time with friends and teachers?

Oh - and not all children get to visit a different country all the time.

Hulababy Thu 08-Nov-12 20:34:35

DD went on a 3 night residential to France last May, in Y5. She had a fantastic time. They visited various places including Rouen, used their French a lot in the shops and markets, and they loved that they were going to a different country with school - it made their school trip even more exciting to them. It wasn't cheap - but it was no dearer than this year's residential which is much closer but a PGL trip which costs more.

I was not concerned about the safety issue in terms of getting lost, etc at all. School had a good history of running the same trip, a comprehensive risk assessment was completed beforehand and DD had done residentials before with school so I knew I could trust the school staff to look after them.

MaggieW Thu 08-Nov-12 20:26:26

DS went to France last year in Y5 and it was about so much more than language, history or geography. He gained so much more out of it than the obvious and came back with a more mature outlook. He also had a great time with his friends and teachers and it really benefited him at school.

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 16:49:01

"I don't think there is any specific risk to a Yr 6 child going to France"

Ooh, I don't know, Blu- you can't trust those cheese eating surrender monkeys! grin

TunaPastaBake Thu 08-Nov-12 15:15:46

''simple increase in risk through potentially being lost in a foreign country when your grip on the language is poor...and you're 11...I'm refusing.''

I think you need to assess the risk here (minimal)- the amount of children at that go to France at that age and the actual number that do get lost !

The risk assessment that is done by school for a trip like this will be pages and pages ...

Bonsoir Thu 08-Nov-12 15:08:17

I agree that overseas trips are of dubious value at this age. My DD's school (in Paris) does a trip to the UK in Y5 that costs over EUR 1,000 for five days/four nights. Personally I think it's outrageous for a long journey and a trip to Mme Tussaud's and The Tower of London.

TunaPastaBake Thu 08-Nov-12 15:06:32

MY DS school does a French Trip in Year 6 - Cost just over £300, includes travel cost, accommodation , food and insurance .

DS1 went last year , DS2 heading off in June too.

I believe it is useful - they are encouraged to use the french they have been learning for last four years , they visit WW1 site - (WW1 and WW2 part of YR 6 curriculum, they visit Paris and do some fun stuff too.

Now , the kids work like shit over this year all towards the SATS and for many this could be the final year together before they head off to secondary school.

The children in YR6 love this trip and I think it is beneficial for the children in educationally and a great way to end their primary years.

Cost is spread over the next few months.

mummytime Thu 08-Nov-12 14:57:23

My kids school does one trip each year: sleep over at school year 3 (cost negligible), 2 nights camping in year 4 (about £50), 3 nights in Dorset year 4 (about £250), then 4 nights in Shropshire year 6 (about £350). They do try to keep the costs down, also there is a hardship fund.
Fortunately at seniors it is one trip in year 8 (about £350), but no more prett compulsory ones until GCSE. The compulsory ones tend to be cheapish (£50) for a weekend in Dorset for Geography or have a much cheaper alternative, and there is a hardship fund. However there are lots more possible trips, DS was offered: Tanzania, Canada, India, Madagascar, and Germany. With other courses it might have been Italy or NewYork.

Blu Thu 08-Nov-12 13:19:25

I would gulp at being offered a £400 school trip, and as DS has been to France and French speaking countries with us I would perhaps not prioritise £400 on this trip.

But apart from that I would love him to go on an school trip abroad. there is always so much that they get out of it, though it may not be what is described as the main purpose of the trip.

I don't think there is any specific risk to a Yr 6 child going to France. I might feel more anxious if they were canoeing and white water rafting and wild camoing in the wilderness of the Great Lakes in the U.S, or trekking in the Sahara...

seeker Thu 08-Nov-12 09:07:43

If you can afford it, then why non earth would you not let her go?

If you can't afford it then she can't go. Simple.

And if you can't afford it because you're actually poor, rather than just wantto spend thmoney on something else, then the school will have a school fund of some sort to help. Enquire.

QTPie Thu 08-Nov-12 09:02:22

Don't think that they should blackmail you to go - £400 is a lot of money (even for private school parents - who may be stretching themselves to send their child to the school in the first place...).

However, if money isn't an issue, then it is a great opportunity to learn new things, to experience some independence and to bond with school friends etc. It would seem a real shame to miss it.

APMF Thu 08-Nov-12 08:16:32

.... also, a full coach cost just as much to hire as a half full one. So, the final cost will depend on how many families share that cost.

Plus the more pupils go, the less pupils will have to be catered for back at the school.

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