Can you remember the last time your children went on a school trip? A school trip like the ones we all used to go on, involving a coach trip, lots of activity, ideally mud - and most importantly building a memory bank?
School trips to the countryside play a vital role in our kids' education according to the Association for Science Education. Yet despite the fact that getting kids to pull on their wellies and adopt a more 'hands on' approach can boost their learning ability, an increasing amount of teaching is now becoming entirely classroom based.
Shockingly, half of all six to 15-year-old pupils have never had a school trip to the country, according to the latest figures from the Countryside Alliance. This, it claims, is due to a combination of factors including red tape, bureaucracy and health and safety concerns.
Last April the Commons School Select Committee warned that the number of school trips were in 'shocking decline' and recommended every pupil be entitled to at least one school trip a term.
While teaching unions like the NUT (National Union of Teachers), agree these trips are of 'substantial benefit to pupils when it comes to character development and social skills', it's often the lengthy risk assessment forms and paperwork needed to sign off a trip that means kids don't get out as much.
And even with more 'tame' museum style trips there are still issues to consider, including the ratio of teachers to pupils and issuing permission slips to be signed, along with collecting payment from parents.
With school budgets already strained, many schools just can't afford the necessary cover when staff are absent on trips. Under rules put in place to ensure teaching staff aren't constantly on call to 'cover' for colleagues; schools can be expected to pay for 'supply cover' while staff are away on school trips.
This has now prompted the Field Studies Council, which runs 17 educational centres across the country and has also seen a dramatic decline in school visits over the past two years; to take action.
It will be launching a report in Parliament next week to 'address the issue', says the FSC's Dr. Steve Tilling, 'and identify ways to increase learning outside the classroom'.
What do you think?
Do your kids still go on school trips?
If not, do you think they are missing out a vital part of a rounded school experience?
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