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Teacher's family accompanying school trip

(269 Posts)
Trifle Thu 26-Sep-13 19:25:46

DS1 (age 13) went on a school trip today to the zoo. One of the 6 teachers accompanying the 104 children on the trip took his wife and two young children.

Does anyone know what the legal ratio of teachers to children is for this age?

I think it is highly unprofessional to do this as the teacher spent the majority of time with his family and not supervising the children.

If the ratio is 1:17 then he should have been acting as a teacher first and foremost. If it is 1:20 then, fine, but really, a day off at the zoo just because a school trip happens to be going somewhere fun for his kids.

I'm pretty peeved at this as I had to pay for the trip and wonder if I am paying for his family too.

What would you do ?

Threalamandaclarke Fri 27-Sep-13 16:53:38

Lots of interesting views on each side. I'm still on the fence and I doubt I'd mind tbh. But the "dealing with a crisis" points have been note worthy.

I don't think that accompanying family members on a business trip is neccessarily the same as a school trip though.
When I've accompanied DH overseas, it has often been at the expense/ request of the paying client (or not) Also, there are times when my presence is more or less likely to affect business and that's taken into account. I can lounge about on the beach while he is in a meeting. I can accompany him to a lunch, but I'd get in the way if I was present when he's actually "on the job" grin

Sorry the body

DontWannaBeObamasElf Fri 27-Sep-13 17:03:18

I went on a residential 10 years ago when I was 13/14. The teacher who organised it brought his family with him. Two small children who were a joy and his lovely wife.

Everyone grew really fond of his family and it was nice to have his wife there as she was so loving towards us and very motherly if anyone was homesick.

None of the other teachers had children.

rallytog1 Fri 27-Sep-13 17:07:19

YAB totally U

When I was at school, teachers often brought their family on trips. It was great - we got to see our teachers more like actual human beings and we got to interact with a load of new people. Often their spouses had useful skills, such as being a doctor or sports coach, which came in pretty handy too. They were often giving up their own annual leave to come and help out.

When my mum was a primary school teacher, I often went on her class trips. As a teenager I was a useful extra pair of hands.

And this really is going back in the day but when my teacher grandmother had my mum, her headteacher insisted that she should return to work and just bring the baby with her. So she spent four years in charge of a class and her daughter at the same time. The HORROR.

Sorry OP, but you need to get a grip.

babybythesea Fri 27-Sep-13 18:00:30

I spent 10 years teaching school kids who were on trips to a zoo.

First of all, to the poster who asked what could 13 year olds be doing in a visit to the zoo, the answer is loads - I taught everyone from nursery to university students. Ecology, evolution, conservation issues, adaptation, microbiology (when an animal is ill, what do you do - includes looking at parasites, and bacteria through the use of techniques like agar plates), genetics (essential if you are breeding from a limited number of endangered creatures), not to mention the broader topics like 'how science is used in the work place'. Then you've got those who study psychology and the detailed behavioural studies they can carry out on the gorillas and orangs etc as the starting point of their course. And that's before you get to the non-science topics - enclosure design (design and technology), English (writing for marketing material, sign writing and so on). Zoos are not just for little kids to gawp at animals.

Second, the idea that a teacher would be less effective at helping in a crisis if his family is there is daft. Sorry. But the people you'd need would be the zoo staff. Our zoo was divided into zones, with designated 'safe places' in each. If there was a threat from an escaped animal, staff from each zone would go out and sweep their given area, gather up any visitors and get them into a particular building. I would not have been allowing anyone to leave that area to look for someone else, because another person elsewhere in the zoo would have been collected by another zoo staff member and taken to safety elsewhere. Bear in mind that some of our safe places would be off view to the public so your nearest safe place may not even be somewhere you know exists. Zoo staff also are likely to know where the animal is - everyone carried radios so letting someone head off to find a missing student might mean them unknowingly heading right at the danger situation. Whether his family is there or not is irrelevant - zoo staff would take over. Same with a fire or bomb procedure. And every zoo (in the UK)has to have someone on duty who is fire-armed trained. If an animal is posing a real threat, we have to shoot them. But before that there are people trained in the sue of dart guns so the animal can be sedated... You really can't convince me that a teacher who has left his family at home is far better in those situations is better than a teacher whose family are present. I can't think of much they'd be able to do in either situation - you need the people who know the setting, the animal and the procedures in place to manage an incident, not a member of the public.

babybythesea Fri 27-Sep-13 18:16:22

Oh, and my parents were both teachers.

Dad took a bunch of secondary kids on a trip to Holland once. My mum went too, as another adult to help on the trip, but they also were on the receiving end of nasty comments about freebie holidays etc.

Two years later I was born. Dad never offered to take an overseas trip again. He wasn't about to leave his own children behind, in order to offer chances to other people's kids when they couldn't be bothered to offer the children these chances themselves, but were happy to bitch about someone who did. He'd rather just spend the time with us.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 27-Sep-13 18:37:03

You haven't a clue have you OP?
This teacher has a wife and young family and he does not have to go anywhere with your DS and the rest of his pupils if he doesn't want to.
He generously gave up his time to do this trip and took his family because he can.
Did you thank him? I'm betting you didn't even think to.

BoffinMum Fri 27-Sep-13 18:48:56

Thebody I am so sorry you all had to do that. I am not sure what happened but it does put things into perspective.

GatoradeMeBitch Fri 27-Sep-13 19:07:36

It's nothing I've heard of before, and it certainly sounds unprofessional and like he's grabbing personal perks - but if he's being too cheeky he'll get into trouble sooner or later.

breatheslowly Fri 27-Sep-13 19:15:45

I think that two small children might have a civilising effect on a group of 13 year olds. It strikes me as enriching to allow the pupils to mix with staff families.

As for the cricket tour, perhaps his wife works and he normally cares for their children during the holidays (she might get the minimum 20 days plus bank holidays off). If he couldn't take his children, she would have to take 2 weeks off work to care for them and then they would only have 2 weeks off together during the rest of the year. If that was going to be the case, he might well not want to take the cricket tour and nothing would compel him to do so.

breatheslowly Fri 27-Sep-13 19:22:51

I've also had a freebie trip courtesy of DH's work (not a teacher). It was cheaper to fly me out economy than fly him back business class. I had a lovely few days looking round San Francisco while he worked and we then took a a week's holiday together (we paid for our car rental and hotels for this bit). Then I flew home and he went back to work. It all made business sense. Should we have worn hair shirts on our holiday or is it ok because DH isn't a teacher?

Arisbottle Fri 27-Sep-13 19:23:01

I a a teacher and I don't think it is professional to bring a family on a trip that runs on a school day, when the teacher would be at work anyway. The only exception might be a reward trip at the end of a year which might be more informal. But even then, I am not sure.

When I was teaching part time I once took one of my children on a school trip because the trip was on my day off and I was working unpaid on my day off and the school needed me but thought it was unfair to ask me to pay for chilcare for dd2. I agreed, - this was a trip to a theme park on the last day of term for secondary students. I am not sure I would take my child now.

I used to run our schools DofE expeditions and would sometimes takes the whole family camping at the same time - but that was at a weekend and slightly different.

I have also been on school trips as an extra adult and paid my way -it is not always the case that teachers places are free.

ravenAK Fri 27-Sep-13 20:06:50

Ultimately, it comes down to individual school policy.

Our policy is:

It's sometimes OK, subject to HT discretion, & on the premise that any teachers' brats are both paid for in full AND occupying a place that cannot otherwise be filled ie. student drops out at last minute, no waiting list.

Also, the teacher taking their own child can't be counted as part of the official teacher:student ratio.

Therefore it's only practical on trips organised via an outside company which provide more teacher places than our working ratios demand, or on weekend/holiday trips with no actual teacher cost, such as DofE.

I suspect that if a parent complained, my HT would say That's Quite Enough Of That Then.

At which point DofE would cease to happen, as would our annual 2 day KS3 jolly to London. Which would be a bit of a shame IMO.

School trips trade on teacher goodwill. They really don't have to happen at all, & there's an increasingly limited pool of willing mugs happy to run them.

BoffinMum Fri 27-Sep-13 20:46:22

Ach, the Teach First clones will do all that in the future, before they burn out wink

Arisbottle Fri 27-Sep-13 20:50:34

I am a teach first clone , one of the very early ones - still running trips and fat from burnt out

Donkeyok Fri 27-Sep-13 20:56:42

Poor teachers I thought they wanted to escape. I have to praise the Teachers at my dd school she's just back from a couple of days away in youth hostel, marching up hills and getting lost all day long. It sounds like they had a riot. Well done teachers for both fun and responsible, adventurous adults in my dc lives. I don't think you get paid enough and I wouldnt begrudge you a day out - mean post.

ravenAK Fri 27-Sep-13 21:00:07

<nods> I'm fat from burnt out, too.

It's all those mid-term Friday nights falling asleep over a takeaway curry & bottle of wine.


Thymeout Fri 27-Sep-13 21:00:28

I'd second that, Raven.

We used to run 6th form residentials to Paris and New York, alternate years. We wanted them to be as inclusive as possible. Did all the planning ourselves to keep costs down, even undertook special training so we could take pupils with Cystic Fibrosis and Thalassaemia.

Freebies to Paris and NYC? I've never been so shattered in my entire life. Surprisingly enough, there wasn't a queue of teachers lining up for their 'perk'. No extra pay, no time off to recover, no expenses. Those with small dcs couldn't make it work. We had to rely on office and site staff to make up the numbers. Eventually, the teacher organising the trips, IN HER OWN TIME, visa's, accounts, bookings - you can't just turn up at MoMA on spec - had to call it a day. The demands of her day job took over.

So we used a commercial firm. They massively scaled down the itinerary, wouldn't use public transport and the pupils with medical needs had to be left behind. 'Too much responsibility'. Oh - and they doubled the price. Too much for the inner-city kids who were working in Saturday jobs to raise the cash.

All very sad.

OP - there's absolutely no reason why the teacher concerned shouldn't have been able to do his job because wife and chn were using up spare places on the coach. I'm sure if he hadn't been pulling his weight his colleagues would have made him aware of the fact.

Arisbottle Fri 27-Sep-13 21:09:49


I am actually a bit fatter from going into teaching.

Tinlegs Sat 28-Sep-13 13:20:24

I run a massive school trip. Some of it is in school time, most of it is in my time. I have spent hours in casualty with children, been awake all night while someone vomits and needs her hair held out of the way and sips of water. I have raised money for that trip over evenings and weekends.

I love the trip. But if some parent started telling me I was getting a freebie, I would go nuts. It costs me a fortune. Motorway food both ways (12 hour journey). 7 days of bought lunches and some evening meals. Small incidental things (last time it was plasters and eye drops, sanitary pads and aspirin) which I can't really claim for, and never do.

I don't get paid extra. In fact, when I was part time and ran the trip! I didn't even get paid for the 2 working days I worked as an extra.

Next time, I will take my DH. He works at the school now. Both our children will be on the trip. Why shouldn't he come, as staff? He is the one who has covered for the many days and nights I devote to this trip.

And, if I stopped running it, it would stop running.

OP - you see to have run away! Wonder why?

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