Potential for Passport-Free School Trips to Germany

Kate Moore

10 Jan 2024, 13:19
by Kate Moore

Student with German flag boat ride resized
Student with German flag boat ride resized

Breaking Barriers: German plans to boost school trips and foster cultural understanding

Proposal to make German trips more accessible and boost uptake of the language in British schools  

British pupils might soon enjoy school trips to Germany without the need for passports according to the Mirror. This initiative, stemming from Germany's campaign to boost interest in GCSE-level German studies, aims to simplify travel and cut costs for UK students.

Stem the decline in students taking German

There has been a significant decline in the number of students taking GCSE German as pupils opt for French or Spanish instead. Spanish overtook German as the second most popular language in 2011 and since then the number of students taking GCSE German has fallen to 34,700 last summer compared to 125,500 in 2003.

In the Mirror article, the German ambassador to the UK, Miguel Berger, emphasized the importance of language learning, stating, “To get a real understanding of another country requires you to learn the language.”

Germany's initiative

In response to these challenges, Germany is considering scrapping the need for child passports on school trips, making visits both easier and more cost-effective. Though there is no detail on how this initiative might work within the new EU border controls, by addressing these logistical hurdles the German government underscores the value of how learning a new language can foster cultural understanding.

The Home Office's Response

The Home Office acknowledges the hurdles faced by school trips and exchanges between UK and the EU now we've left the union. This was reinforced during a meeting last year between the Prime Minister and the French president to look into the possibility of allowing French school groups to visit the UK on an ID card, rather than a passport, to encourage school trips and exchanges to this country.


The prospect of British students embarking on passport-free school trips to Germany presents an exciting opportunity to rejuvenate interest in German language studies.

Stay informed - keep an eye on our updates to see how these changes unfold. 

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