Four Ways to Create a More Affordable Educational School Trip For Students & Parents
26 Feb 2019, 09:10 by Elise Tatman, Joanne Layzell and Sophie Berry
The benefits of taking students on a school trip abroad are widely acknowledged. A school trip can fire a child’s passion for language, bring a subject to life, boost skills and even open eyes to life’s possibilities. That’s why we want to help schools ensure that all their students, from all financial backgrounds, can access educational enrichment outside the classroom.
We asked our experienced educational travel experts to share their top tips on how to make a school trip affordable for all students without sacrificing quality and educational value.
Avoid travelling in summer
Our MFL specialist, Joanne Layzell, says being flexible on your dates is the best way to cut costs. “A lot of schools want to travel in June or July because it’s an opportunity to celebrate the student’s hard work and learning, but you are inevitably going to spend more. If you aren’t set on specific dates, you can really save.”
School trips taken in Autumn or Spring terms can be up to 20% cheaper, often meaning the difference between a trip being viable for the school or not. “Schools who took a five-day language immersion residential trip to our Château in February last year saved £76 per pupil on average compared to schools taking the same trip in June”. Both groups enjoy the same activities, the same quality instruction and the exact same educational benefits regardless of the season - they just paid less for travelling at a quieter time.
Joanne adds that groups planning a language school trip in July should consider potential learning loss during the summer break. “Ideally, students should have the opportunity to reinforce what they’ve learned straight after the trip. So it’s a shame if a child’s language progress gained over the trip is undone by lack of practise over the summer” she explains.
James King from Aldro School, Surrey, cites other benefits of travelling earlier in the school year. He takes a French language immersion trip to Voyager’s Normandy centre, La Grand’Ferme, in October because by autumn term his students are exhausted and he wants to energise them with an “enhanced academic experience”. Mr King believes that taking a school trip during the Autumn term is a great way to build team spirit and enthuse students at the beginning of the school year.
Potential savings: up to 20%
Steer clear of tourist traps
Our educational school tour consultant, Elise Tatman, says she helps schools on a budget by recommending residential accommodation outside of a city’s touristy areas. “One of my favourite educational school tours is a geography field trip to Sorrento which takes in Vesuvius, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast.” To make it more affordable for students and their parents, she recommends that schools stay outside Sorrento city centre, “Sorrento is beautiful but not in every school’s budget, so I recommend that my school groups stay at a holiday village just 4km from the centre.”
This one small change can cut the cost of a five-day school trip by £45 per student compared to using a youth hostel in Sorrento centre. Elise also says students enjoy staying in the holiday village which is just a short hop from Sorrento and set in landscaped Italian gardens, adding “students love staying in their own little bungalows with access to more facilities such as a large outdoor pool - perfect when you’ve been exploring volcanic ruins all day”.
Potential savings: £45 per person
As a mother, our Educational School Tour consultant, Sophie Berry, understands the financial pressures of being a parent and the importance of getting maximum value from a school trip. She explains why 40 is the magic number for savings. “Just as 30 is the optimum class size, 40 is the optimum coach capacity” Sophie explains. “Many teachers don’t realise how spreading the cost of transport across a larger number of students can make the difference between a trip being affordable or not.”
To put it in perspective, a group of 40 students travelling on a seven-day adventure school trip to the Ardeche would pay £70 less per person than a group of 25.
“It’s my job to help schools generate interest in the school trip so they can maximise their savings. We provide posters, powerpoint presentations, parent letters and I often attend parents’ evenings to help a school promote the benefits of a trip” she added that some schools have found creative ways of making a school trip more accessible “one great idea is to buddy up with another school in your trust or area to spread costs”.
Potential savings: £70 per person
Give parents plenty of notice
Booking your tour well in advance not only gives schools more opportunity to take advantage of cheaper flights and accommodation, but it gives parents and pupils longer to save for a school trip. Joanne gives the example of Priestlands School who go to New York every year. “The trip attracts anything from 40 to 60 pupils a year because the students are told about the trip from the moment they join the school. Teachers encourage pupils to start saving years in advance, using Christmas and birthdays to help fund the trip” she explains.
Speak to one of our educational travel experts today to start planning your school trip