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The Big Escape: Where Do Schools Go On Trips?

23 June 2019

We know how excited pupils get when they hear the words ‘school trip’. So we decided to do a deep-dive into the things you’ve told us about school trips! Hold onto your carrier bag lunches, here’s what we found…

1. MOST teachers go on at least one trip a year 

Have you been on a school trip so far this year? When asked, we found that just over two in ten (21%) haven’t been on any trips at all this year. That does mean the other 8 out of 10 have been on one or more trips, however. Amazingly, 7% of you are so flying the flag for school trips that you have been on impressive amount of more than TEN trips! On average, primary teachers spend more days out on school trips. Primary teachers are most likely to go on two or six-ten trips, while secondary teachers are most likely to go on one or none at all. Regionally, teachers in London and the North East are the most likely to go on school trips. With London having so many tourist attractions and easy (and free) travel around the capital, this is not surprising.   Though, if you really really like going on trips, then you are best off working in a private school. Teachers in the indy sector are substantially more likely to have been on at least one trip. Teachers of Maths and English are actually the LEAST likely to go on school trips despite their subjects being the core of the curriculum. More attention is paid to Primary, Languages, and Arts teachers. Does this point to a neglect of Maths and English opportunities?   Looking at the ratio of primary teachers going on school trips by year group, we found that on average teachers later down in the school years tend to be going on more school trips than those with younger classes.  

2. What kinds of school trips are teachers participating in?

Where do you go when you’re tripping with your school? Museums and sporting events were most popular, closely followed by the theatre, or an overnight stay somewhere. Half of primary teachers have personally gone on a school trip to a museum/gallery/sports event, whereas 35% of secondary teachers ticked ‘none of the above’ (how mysterious of you!), closely followed by a visit to the theatre (30%).  

3. The overnight stay… don’t forget your sleeping bag!

Overnight residentials can be a great opportunity for teachers to bond with their pupils and with each other. In the longer term there is a belief that it can help improve pupil motivation too. Teachers in Year Six are by far the most likely primary teachers to take part in overnight residential visits. (How many of you have been away now that SATs are over?!) As pupils get older we tend to find they go on fewer overnight residentials. Any thoughts as to why this is? (Harder to handle with the booze rules perhaps?)  

4. School uniform, should we bother?

The majority of teachers said that on the last school trip they attended their students wore uniform. However, almost 4/10 of you said that no uniform was worn at all. Primary students are a lot more likely to wear uniform. This is probably to make it easier for teachers to instantly recognise and locate their wandering, mischievous six-year olds. Over half of teachers in London said that their students wore school uniform the entire time. This isn’t surprising considering how busy and overcrowded London is, making pupils getting lost even more of a concern for teachers. Hence, distinguishing uniform is often a basic requirement for 72% of school trips.  

5. All this talk of school trips, let’s not forget the parents

A day-out to a local historical site can be one of the most fun and memorable days of the school year for pupils. On the flip-side, being handed a crumpled school-trip request-for-payment letter out of your child’s school bag can be another thing to dread for already stressed out parents. Expensive school trips to extravagant locations are on the rise – with some trips running into thousands of pounds. When we asked teachers how much parents were asked to contribute to the last school trip they went on, we found that 8% of parents were asked to fork out over £250. On the other hand, parents will be happy to know that over a quarter of them are getting away scot-free for their child’s fun day out. Interestingly, secondary schools score more highly than primary schools for both ends of the spectrum – either no charge or over £250. At primary, parents of pupils at independent schools are the least likely to be charged. (At least, charged specifically for the trip… the fees are clearly a cost!) In secondary schools, it is those in the poorest areas that are least likely to charge parents. Donations for trips are complicated. Schools cannot require parents to pay for a trip but they also may not be able to run a visit if enough money is not forthcoming to cover travel and entries. As we expected, the higher the proportion of free school meals pupils, the more likely a school was to cancel a trip due to parents being unable to contribute sufficiently. This doesn’t seem fair that some schools are missing out on valuable learning opportunities and could point toward a need for increased government funding for school trips in disadvantaged schools.  

6. Any chance of getting some time off?

 Without the kindness of teachers, school trips wouldn’t be able to run at all. HOWEVER, almost 3/4 of you said that no day off work is likely to be given in lieu of time spent on a school trip. Primary schools seem to be nicer when giving time off, whereas secondary schools are considerably less likely to grant time off. Do you think teachers should be given a day off work for their time spent on a trip? That’s one question we didn’t ask but we will in future. Is there anything else you would like to know about school trips? Let us know by email (, via feedback in the app, or over twitter (@TeacherTapp)

Finally, we know you love the tips, so here they are for last week…

And don’t forget to tell your teaching colleagues all about Teacher Tapp!