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Planning a trip – What matters to teachers

Sunday November 24, 2013

Done right, school trips can provide an enriching experience, allowing students to discover new destinations and build knowledge, cultural appreciation and friendships along the way.

After over 30 years in the educational travel sector, WST have learnt exactly what it takes to offer students a fulfilling travel experience, as well as being able to provide a hassle-free trip for teachers. Below, we’ve highlighted the key issues for educators taking students on a tour.

No loose ends

Understandably, teachers want to be free to focus on ensuring their pupils really get the most from their time away, and having to organise minor details along the route is a major inconvenience. WST think teachers should be able to enjoy a trip just as much as pupils, and focus on preparing every aspect of the visit in advance to avoid potential stress. We’ve been delighted by the feedback we’ve heard from teachers in this regard, with Kingsway School reporting;

“Everything ran so smoothly and I know that this would not have happened without Helen’s hard work, we really appreciate this.”

Having a plan B

Even with all the planning in the world, some things are still impossible to control, and we know that one thing teachers value more than anything else is having a back-up plan for when issues arise.

“Thanks to all the help from Jenny whilst stuck in the snow in France,” one relieved teacher wrote to us following a WST trip to the Opal Coast in France, “It was clear she knew the area well and could give us good advice and sort out an alternative excursion along with contacting the relevant people to say we had been delayed.”

Safety

The safety of students is paramount for teachers on a school trip. As a result, educators should be choosing a company that is part of the STF and has a rigorous safety management system in place.

Local knowledge

Understanding the local area isn’t just crucial in a crisis; it can also determine how much pupils learn and how much they appreciate their new location, so choosing the right facilities and tour guides is essential. Graveney School were particularly impressed by the quality of the Berlin walking tour guides organised by WST last July, stating, “Both Nikolai and Tariq were extremely knowledgeable about Berlin and struck a really excellent balance between history and anecdote.”

A personal touch

We’ve heard from many teachers who have been dissatisfied with travel companies in the past, experiencing difficulty getting through to representatives or being pressured into choosing certain packages. Thankfully, as this review from South Bromsgrove High School suggests, this is not the WST way.

“When asked by another member of staff why I would rate them so highly, for me it was a simple answer. A personal service!”

A sense of fun

Finally, the most important point of all for teachers; school trips must also be fun. WST shares this opinion, so we’re always overjoyed to hear feedback like these comments from Alsop High School;

“From the moment we got on the bus until we returned we never stopped laughing and enjoying ourselves.”

Have another suggestion for our list? Contact us at @WSTSchoolTravel on Twitter to let us know what matters most to you when planning a school trip.