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In thinking year 10's shouldn't be able to have free reign in London

(101 Posts)
Verbena37 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:41:28

DD just came home with a music trip letter. The trip is to see a major London show which I was really keen for her to go and see.

However, it says they'll arrive and then have 'free time in London', with staff staying in one place and giving the kids a mobile number if there's an emergency.

I'm totally not happy with this. If something major happens, then the medical forms aren't with the kids and the teachers might be miles across London. It doesn't say a specific area, such as Covent Garden.....just London.

My DD, as I assume many others, don't know their way around London and I think it's quite a daunting city for kids who don't know it.... some of them will only be 14. DD will have just turned 15.

Why have a theatre trip that has free reign in London attached to it?

Trifleorbust Fri 11-Nov-16 17:43:30

Just say no if you're uncomfortable with it.

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Fri 11-Nov-16 17:43:43

Yes, I would ask for more information.

I hope it is just a badly worded letter.

Basicbrown Fri 11-Nov-16 17:45:00

I think yabu, I went to Berlin at the same age with the school. We had free time, with different language and before mobile phones. I had never considered that was odd at all.

corythatwas Fri 11-Nov-16 17:45:05

To let them practise independence? At a slightly younger age, my dc did a trip to Belgium which involved free time in Brussels; at the start of year 11 they had a trip with free time in Berlin. 15 does not seem unreasonable; at that age they should be used to moving around freely in their own area and should know how to read a street plan.

PurpleMinionMummy Fri 11-Nov-16 17:46:35

I would assume they'd have to stay in the area they're taken too but I think they're old enough either way. I'm sure they don't carry medical forms around when you let them out alone though so I don't understand that particular issue.

TheNaze73 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:47:14

I think YABVU. Most children of that age, in cities commute to school on the tube etc.

Verbena37 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:47:18

There aren't many places so it will be oversubscribed.
We live in a very rural little town so the kids here haven't yet gone anywhere alone other than into town. DD and her friends haven't yet gone to our nearest city on their own....only dropped off into the cinema etc.

museumum Fri 11-Nov-16 17:47:59

I guess it will be Piccadilly Leicester sq / the west end. They can't exactly roam far can they?

PotteringAlong Fri 11-Nov-16 17:48:49

It's fine.

Verbena37 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:49:09

Hmm, perhaps it's because we as a family aren't really big on cities so don't go tovthem very often. When they went a couple of years ago to DLP, the staff let them go off but that was contained within Disney so slightly less daunting.
Perhaps I'll message the music guy and ask if it will be a specific area, like convent garden etc.

Basicbrown Fri 11-Nov-16 17:49:51

We live in a very rural little town so the kids here haven't yet gone anywhere alone other than into town. DD and her friends haven't yet gone to our nearest city on their own....only dropped off into the cinema etc.

So surely an hour or so in a controlled environment with friends is really important for their development then?

HarrietSchulenberg Fri 11-Nov-16 17:50:09

How do you think London children cope with "free time" in their home city? YABU to think that a Y10 can't cope with a couple of free hours in a city, with teachers on call via mobile. If they're really uncertain about what to do and where to go they can stay near the teachers.
My Y9 went to London in the summer from darkest, rural Shropshire and loved having a bit of free time with his mates. He didn't get lost and they spent most of the time in Covent Garden, buying butties in M&S and taking selfies trying on shades in the Oakley shop.

Verbena37 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:51:46

from darkest rural Shropshire grin

sleepwhenidie Fri 11-Nov-16 17:52:08

I think if kids feel daunted then they won't explore very far, there'll be enough to keep them occupied in theatre land anyway. What do you mean by 'something major' and how would them being confident about getting around make a difference? Plenty of teens are given 'free reign' where they live, why is London different?

Lilaclily Fri 11-Nov-16 17:52:44

Before everyone gets too harsh I can understand your nervous but if the other parents are okay with it I'm sure it'll be fine, you could go in and speak to a teacher about how it will actually work

stubbornstains Fri 11-Nov-16 17:53:53

I used to take American high school tour groups around Europe. Free time in cities is pretty standard for that kind of age, TBH.

The teachers, though, were ultimately responsible for how that free time was managed- ie, I'd say "OK everybody, here we are in the heart of Covent Garden, shops that way, good places to eat that way etc, see you back here at 5.30 prompt", and any of the teachers worth their salt would already have organised things like "buddy groups" or pairs of friends who had to stay together, or, in the case of the younger ones, small groups with an adult.

Why not just talk through your concerns with one of the teachers leading this? If they've done any of these trips before they'll probably have a very good idea how this free time is going to work. They've probably just said "London" rather than a specific area to keep things flexible at this point.

I never lost a student for very long in all my time of doing that job. The adults, on the other hand....hmm

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Fri 11-Nov-16 17:54:06

"They can't exactly roam far can they?"

But of course they damn well can, unless teachers are at all exit points.

Though if it's in a reasonable confined area, where teachers can be in clumps to stop (possibly disoriented) pupils from wandering down the wrong turning, then it's just a badly worded letter and really no problem.

London is pretty crowded with Christmas shopper already, and if although there will be good procedures of finding mislaid pupils, it could still be quite worrying for DC during any period they were lost.

SquirmOfEels Fri 11-Nov-16 17:55:29

Sorry, misread year 10 for 10 year old.

Ignore me, it's utterly normal by that age.

SparklyLeprechaun Fri 11-Nov-16 17:55:43

I had free time in Paris at that age. No mobile phones either. We were told to stay in groups and be back by 5. One coach full of kids, all accounted for in the evening.

Verbena37 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:55:48

I won't tell you my 'something major' list but I like to be prepared for all eventualities. I do realise something major could happen anywhere. I just think why would staff want the responsibility of having a group of under 16's wandering around London.

I think I might be BU so I will check if her friends are going perhaps and get more details from the teacher.
Thanks everyone.

NerrSnerr Fri 11-Nov-16 17:56:42

'DD and her friends haven't yet gone to our nearest city on their own...' By year 10 that's really rare. Lots will be turning 16 in the next 12 months so I imagine looking for part time jobs etc.

BareBum Fri 11-Nov-16 17:56:55

I let year 10s have free time in Paris on the trips I have done there. It's pretty standard to point out perimeters and show them where the teachers will be and give them an emergency number to ring. Have never lost any... so far!

teacher54321 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:59:26

Absolutely standard for a year 10 trip IMO. They won't have time to go far and they'll be too scared to leave the immediate vicinity! The teachers will park themselves in an easily visible coffee shop with a school mobile phone, and read the kids the riot act about staying in groups of 4 etc. The kids will run off willy nilly around Covent Garden for the first hour and then will be so nervous about getting lost that they will return to the Meeting point half an hour early and hang around showing the teachers the crap they've bought from the shops smile

Trifleorbust Fri 11-Nov-16 17:59:33

I actually think this is safer than attempting to shepherd them around Covent Garden. They are going to want to go into shops and Burger King and to the toilet - I think it's better to have them in small groups rather than having a teacher trying to do constant head counts while being snarled at by tourists and office workers, with kids being constantly separated from the main group. At 14 they are certainly old enough to use a mobile phone and say they are unsure of where they are, then stay still whilst an adult picks them up.

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