Innovative Ways To Fund Your School Trip

Kate Moore

15 May 2024, 18:00
by Kate Moore

Ensure Every Student Can Learn Beyond the Classroom

School trips offer pupils a wealth of benefits, not only providing a deeper understanding of a subject through hands-on learning and real-world exposure, but beyond academic gains, educational visits can have a pivotal role in building confidence and broadening horizons.

Research highlights the role of educational visits in leveling the playing field; a study by the Sutton Trust showed that bright, disadvantaged students obtained significantly better exam results when they engaged in out of school academic enrichment activities such as school trips.

However, the reality is that not every family can afford the cost, posing a challenge for schools: How to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in these enriching experiences?

Here, we explore some innovative strategies schools can use to make trips available to more students.

Top tips on funding a school trip 

  • Set up a voluntary No Limits Fund: Wealthier parents may be willing to help subsidise costs for students in need.
  • Look out for grants from charities and local authorities: Use the links below of organisations who offer financial support for educational trips.
  • Involve the PTA and students in fundraising activities: Collaborative efforts can raise significant funds for trips.
  • Reach out to local businesses for donations or match-funding: Some companies are happy to support community initiatives.
  • Organise trips during low season to save on costs: Being flexible can lead to considerable savings on travel and accommodation.

School Case Study: No Limits Fund

We heard of an innovative school trip funding initiative set up by a secondary school in Yorkshire. The Head of Languages explained the details of the school's No Limits Fund at a packed meeting of the Association of Language Learning in London. 

Here's how it works:

The school set up a No Limits Fund to enable children to experience the benefits enjoyed by their classmates. They raise funds in a variety of ways. One of these is to invite families to make a contribution when offering a particular educational visit.

Parents paying for their child's trip are invited to make an additional donation to support students who cannot afford to go. The system is entirely voluntary, with no set contribution amount—parents can give as much or as little as they like via Parent Pay or Gift Aid. This extra support is then used for students whose families find it challenging to cover the full expense of a school trip. 

Remarkably, some parents have donated enough to cover the cost of an additional child -  despite the school not being in an affluent catchment area and having a higher than average percentage of children on free schol meals.


The Ogdent Trust offers funding towards school trips to Cern

Grants for learning outside the classroom

Another approach is to explore external funding sources for educational trips. Some local authorities reimburse the cost of trips for students who qualify for free school meals. Additionally, some charitable trusts offer financial assistance to help subsidise learning outside the classroom.

By combining these approaches, schools can make a significant impact on student participation, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a school trip.

See our pick of school trip grants 

  • Royal Borough of Greenwich makes School Trips Grants available for children in the area who are eligible for free school meals.
  • Walton Charity Opportunities Fund supports Surrey-based children by funding enrichment activities.
  • Southover Manor Trust offers educational grants and funding towards educational visits and overseas travel for pupils based in Brighton and Sussex.
  • Schools within the Sheffield City boundary can apply for a grant from Sheffield Grammar School Exhibition Foundation to support field trips. 
  • Schools in North and West London can apply for the John Lyon’s Charity's Cultural Capital Fund which directly funds theatre trips and other cultural opportunities for state schools.
  • Jack Petchey Foundation offers Educational Visits Grants to support schools with the cost of visits to museums, theatres and science shows in the UK.
  • The Ogden Trust provides funding towards school trips to CERN. These are available to secondary schools that are members, or previous members, of their School Partnerships programme.
  • The Hargreaves Foundation supports education projects that improve the well-being, self-esteem and independence of young people growing up in poverty.
  • Schools visiting London can apply for a School Visit Fund grant of up to £300 from The City of London.
  • For a handy grant finder tool try the Grants4Schools website. 

3 bonus ways to fund your trip so more students can participate

1. Start a fundraising campaign

Start a school trip fundraising campaign or Just Giving page and promote the link on your social media channels, at the school gates, and via the PTA. Get students involved in activities such as cake sales, car washing, sponsored activities and quiz nights.

2. Reach out to local businesses

Many local business are happy to support their local community by donating raffle prizes in return for a social media plug or mention at your next fundraising event. Larger companies with a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy may make a direct donation to fund school trip places for lower income students.

3. Organise a residential trip in low season

As centre operators, we want to fill our properties all year round and offer generous discounts in the low season. There are also better deals to be had on flights, ferries and coach hire outside of the summer term too, so do try to be as flexible as possible on dates if you want the best price.


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