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Question Time with a Busy Educational Visits Co-ordinator

5 May 2017

Cathy Green is an Educational Visits Co-ordinator at The Blue Coat School in Oldham. She has been booking a range of educational trips for a number of years now. We spoke to Cathy to find out more about how she organises so many trips for a range of teachers in her school.

Experience of school trips

How long have you been organising school trips?
This will be my 6th Year.

Your school takes a lot of trips – Why is this and what do you and the teaching staff believe are the main benefits for taking the students outside the classroom?
We are giving our students a chance to experience different place, cultures, places of interest that they might not necessarily get to do so with their families.

How does organising trips work at your school? Does each department give their requirements to you and you shop around for them?
Yes, each department tells me where they would like to visit and we take it from there.

Is this part of your general role at school or an additional task?
It is my general role as we usually have over 100 trips throughout the academic year. Our students have opportunities to go on a whole range of trips from local theatre productions, Duke of Edinburgh activities, local enrichment days and ski trips, to subject trips to London, Geneva, WWI Battlefields, New York and China. 

How do you manage the tour planning process with teachers, parents and students – particularly in terms of encouraging people to sign up for the trip and giving them enough time to save for the payments?
A lot of our trips are repeat trips year after year so word of mouth around the school works really well. Also we send out letters to parents encouraging students to take part.

Making the school trip decision

Who makes the decisions on what’s included in the trip – you or the specific subject teacher?
The teacher asks me to find out if their preferred visits can be done on the trip they wish to run. If they can be covered in the itinerary within the right budget then we can proceed.

Your school takes a lot of trips and you’re clearly very organised at doing this – any tips on good planning for a school trip?
Using a good company like WST and being a very organised person who is committed to the role.

Do you go to tender each time?
No. Not all companies can cater for the size of school that we are. Plus we have excellent service from WST so use them year after year.

Why have you chosen WST to take a number of school trips for you? What are we doing right?
The service that we receive from WST is second to none.  We know we will get treated well and the organisation is brilliant.

Do you go on any of the trips?
Unfortunately not as they need me in school just in case anything happens.

I have been a Trip Co-ordinator for The Blue-Coat School for 6 years and have worked with WST for most of those years. WST make my role so much easier as they do all the costing for the trip, and the itinerary to match the teachers’ requirements. They make dealing with them such a pleasure whoever you speak to in the team. I just wish all the travel companies that we deal with were as good as WST.