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School trips, do they make you anxious?

(53 Posts)
WideWebWitch Sun 01-Jun-03 21:24:18

There was an interesting article in The Observer today about school trips and regulation and I just wondered how everyone feels about letting their children go on trips with an element of danger, i.e walking, abseiling etc., especially given that some children have died on these trips (I know it's not a lot but still, surely any child dying as a result of a school trip is unacceptable?)

Someone said on another thread they thought trips were often an excuse for teachers to have a holiday (I think it was a teacher but I could be wrong) and I know custardo was/is irritated at the amount parents are expected to shell out for school trips. We're not quite there yet but I'm interested to hear views anyway. Where would you draw the line or have you already?

The article is here, you'll have to cut and paste since Observer links don't work because of the commas.

http://www.observer.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,967925,00.html

codswallop Sun 01-Jun-03 21:26:19

Holiday? A pal of mine just came back from France after having caught pupils a deux shall we say

Claireandrich Sun 01-Jun-03 21:30:36

As a teacher I keep as far a way from them as possible - personally I don't want to take the risk or the responsibility. I know that might sound bad or harsh but if anything happened....

I have done an activity week in my first year. As a NQT I was sent out with groups of pupils (aged about 14) with an instructor from the centre on all sorts of activities including abseiling and caving. No one informed me of my responsibilities at all - I only went with a week's notice as another teacher pulled out. Looking back I should have had more information surely?

BTW, none of the school trips I have been on yet as a teacher can be classed as a holiday!!! Maybe I haven't been on the right ones.

codswallop Sun 01-Jun-03 21:31:16

Cand R, Mine were never a holiday. Battle fields in Belgium was good tho

soyabean Sun 01-Jun-03 21:32:44

Hi www. I dont think its much of a holiday for teachers, a pretty darn exhausting one! I felt happy that the 5 day trip ds went on aged 10 was v well supervised and tbh I would trust the teachers, and also trust the school to check that all the hol. centre staff are qualified etc. I know there have been accidents, and I wd perhaps have been more unsure about watersports.
The fact is that climbing, abseiling etc are dangerous, but if my kids have the opportunity to do these things while on holiday with me, I would let them, as I think its an important part of growing up. I loved those things myself as a teenager and I now realise that my poarents were pretty cool about letting me try them out.
ds also had a really fantastic time and the cass bonded really well at the beginning of their last year at primary school

soyabean Sun 01-Jun-03 21:34:28

I feel more anxious wehn they go on a public bus to a museum or gallery. I cant see how the teachers cope with the stress of it. I have been as a helper and it is hell, but I obviously have the wrong disposition, and Im not a teacher

robinw Sun 01-Jun-03 21:35:38

message withdrawn

janh Sun 01-Jun-03 21:46:30

Hi, www!

My only experience of kids going on potentially dangerous school trips is our primary school's Y6 trip to PGL every year. (Ours go to Boreatton in Shropshire - DS2 will be going next summer, when DS1 went 4 years ago it cost about 130GBP, like the one quoted in the Observer piece, ours is going to be 240 GBP this year, we have a meeting at school about it this week and I will be asking about that!)

As the Observer piece said, PGL is about as safe as you can get. Our Y6, of c40 kids, is accompanied by 2 teachers and 2 parents and they seem to be heavily supervised all round.

Secondary school trips are different - places are always limited and many parents just can't afford them anyway. None of my older ones has been on eg a ski-ing trip, because of the ludicrous cost as well as anything else - we have got away with one watersports holiday (DD1, S France and N Spain, Y12) and one German exchange (DD2, Y10). DS1 would have liked a football trip but those don't seem to be happening at the moment - we owe him a school trip to match the others at some point (*relatively* cheap though, 200-300GBP).

My SIL's son, in Y7, goes to a private school. He went ski-ing the week before the rest of us broke up for Easter and broke his leg on day 1 (I don't know the circs). He is still in plaster, hasn't been back to school because there are so many stairs and will miss a number of his end of year exams. It does sound as if ski-ing is one of the dodgiest school hols - maybe they are good ones to avoid?

XAusted Sun 01-Jun-03 22:04:55

Working with schoool kids is hazardous for the staff at outdoor pursuits centres too! Dh and I used to work at one, he was chief instructor. Some child jumped off something on the assault course (about one metre high) and broke his leg. It's the sort of thing my ds (who's only 4) does all the time, could have happened anyway to anyone but of course, the parents wanted to sue. They didn't in the end (didn't have a leg to stand on, ha ha) but even so, very stressful for dh. When our kids get old enough for these adventurous trips, I'll send dh to vet the centre first!! At the moment it's only trips to the local museum, etc, and yes, I do worry.

XAusted Sun 01-Jun-03 22:05:47

I meant that the accident could have happened anywhere to anyone.

lou33 Sun 01-Jun-03 22:06:34

I shouldn't have read this, dd is off for a week with her school tomorrow, to Torquay. Her first time. Anyone living there want to tail her for me?

janh Sun 01-Jun-03 22:21:01

Good luck, lou, for you and her! Hope she doesn't have any problems.

ScummyMummy Sun 01-Jun-03 22:25:41

Bit scaremongery that article, imo. I went on loads of school trips all over the place and really enjoyed them- including skiing in Italy as a primary schooler, Spain with London schools orchestra, Russia with 6th form. Also went sailing and canoeing all over England and France with watersports club for deprived kids- there were no deprived kids in the area where my sis and I grew up so we went instead. All dirt cheap, all experiences I'll probably never have again. Fab. I'll definitely let mine go on whatever's offered as long as I can afford it and they want to. I would ask about safety issues if it was anything outlandish and do agree with those who've said cost is a worry, though. Also, I know I'll have ants in my pants and the face of a worrywort until they get back but I think that's my problem not theirs!

ScummyMummy Sun 01-Jun-03 22:26:34

Hope little Lou has a great time, btw.

WideWebWitch Sun 01-Jun-03 23:06:22

IKWYM about scaremongering but OTOH, the children mentioned did die and it did appear to be as a result of negligence (non swimmer left on beach, hmmm) mostly, so I do feel for the parents. I think my instinct will be (when it happens) to try to go as a helper if I'm really worried or to ask a ridiculous amount of questions beforehand at least, since I suspect I actually *wouldn't* want to go if it came down to it! Lou33, I'm sure she'll be safe in Torquay. I would offer to tail her since we're near-ish but I try to avoid the place if I can. English Riveria indeed

ScummyMummy Sun 01-Jun-03 23:43:38

Yes- very true WWW about the kids dying. Awful and tragic and devastating for the parents.
But mercifully rare because I don't think staff are usually that absolutely shite and negligent. I really hope not, anyway. Statistical risk assessment is never a comfort if it is you that has suffered a dreadful thing but from the numbers mentioned in the article it does sound like the guy quoted is right and the vast vast majority of trips are very safe. I do wonder if this sort of huge investigative piece urging caution isn't part of the general trend towards not letting our kids do anything fun out of our sight- eg walking to school, playing out, etc etc.

Tortington Mon 02-Jun-03 00:03:59

for me it would have to be a personal decision weighing up my child against proposed activity
so..
not bothered if you take them to all the museums in england ( yawntastic!) from t he age of 5. but an activity holiday which may involve water not until a teenager.

and i wouldnt pay fo my kids to go on a school holiday abroad whilst they are teenagers and certainly not younger. but to me a foreign holiday as a teenager is just 10 days of trying to bed someone, smoking, necking and getting pissed. - hey can pay for that themselves when they get a job!
camping out with scouts or cubs... for me would have to be about 10.

Zoe Mon 02-Jun-03 09:05:48

As a mum, the school trips do concern me as I do worry about the levels of supervision - I think I will have to take each proposed trip on it's own merits.

As I begin a PGCE in September, school trips are something that I have thought about, and I do think that I will be like Claireandrich and try to avoid where possible - if something goes wrong, the teacher is the scapegoat, and I couldn't live with myself if something ever did go wrong, be it my fault or not. So again, I think I'd be assessing each opportunity as it arose - I will never ever supervise a water/action holiday as a teacher as I know I am not qualified, but museums, well that's a bit different

Zoe Mon 02-Jun-03 09:06:53

As a potential Primary school teacher I would like to point out that I know that the first sentence should have been "on its own merits" and not "it's" - I am v tired this morning!

jac34 Mon 02-Jun-03 10:03:07

I know I would be worried, but thats because of my children, not realy the level of supervision.
I know what their like, I don't trust them with many other people,as you can't turn your back on them for 2 minutes, without then getting into scrapes. Their even worse when they get together with other boys, so unless their behaviour improves dramatically in the next few years, (their not quite 5yo), they won't be going anywhere, and I certainly wouldn't want to inflict them on any poor teacher.

bubbly Mon 02-Jun-03 10:41:28

First schooltrip (to a farm) dd went on I waited for the bus to arrive and tested allt eh seat belts and asked the driver if he had had enought sleep. I think he thought I was bit weird. I worried all day and was soo relieved when they came home. I'm a bit better now but not a lot.

WideWebWitch Mon 02-Jun-03 11:01:46

Bubbly, that's funny, especially asking the driver if he'd had enough sleep!

CAM Mon 02-Jun-03 11:02:45

When I was at Grammar School in the late 60's and early 70's, I went on many and varied school trips abroad and loved them. However, the teachers barely supervised us and children of 13 did get drunk on the ferry to France (my sister being one of them - I was a good girl in those days and my only vice was kissing the French boys). I think nowadays things might be different due to a stricter liability culture and so I am very keen on my children having these opportunities. My eldest dd went ski-ing in Italy, art trips to Paris and Amsterdam, etc,etc and loved them and there were no safety problems. My youngest dd aged 6 has already been on a weekend camping trip (2 nights)with her whole school (tiny independent school). She came back with more independence, loved it and, whilst dh and I missed her we also had a lovely relaxed weekend. I think its greatly liberating for children to be with their school pals and have to cope without us.

lou33 Mon 02-Jun-03 11:04:48

Well dd went off this morning, she should be on the motorway now. She's a bit nervous , not helped by the fact she has to try and keep her bedwetting a secret. I've told her that if she can't cope we will come and get her, but I would like her to have a fantastic time. Just counting the days down til Friday evening now.

bubbly Mon 02-Jun-03 11:35:42

www - he was most offended. I try and go on all the trips now but when you have a baby in tow you cant be of use in the adult to child ratio even if said toddler is strapped (screaming) into a buggy (the only time he is ever required to be in one!Poor lamb.)

We used to use school trips as an excuse to escape the teachers at the Nat Hist Museum or wherever and go shopping down the Kings Road....Just scoot back int time to be ticked back on to the bus.

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