It’s the final countdown. I’ve calculated it’s 43 days until I make my great escape from the classroom. There will be many things I will miss but, as I’m sure many teachers will agree, there seems to be so much more that I will be glad to see the back of.
Number Eight – School trips
Teachers in 1985:
Should we hop on the bus tomorrow and go for a wander round the lake?
Kids!! Tell your mams that you’ll need a packed lunch tomorrow and your wellies!
Teachers in 2005:
Should we hop on the bus in six months time and partake in an educational ramble around a large body of water, researching the local wildlife beforehand in order to produce an information leaflet followed by writing a recount in the first person on our return??
Why not? Rock, paper, scissors on who has to do the risk assessment.
So spontaneity has all but disappeared from school trips because it takes months of planning before they can be approved.
First, there’s the logistical nightmare of putting it on the diary. A date has to be found which doesn’t clash with learning walks, book scrutinies, lesson observations, parents’ evenings, the six month window where OFSTED might visit and full moons.
Second, there’s the dreaded risk assessment. You have to spend the next few months imagining every possible scenario, mitigating the risks and making decisions to address these issues. I’m sure there’s a name for this. Oh, that’s right. A risk assessor! Another job teachers perform free of charge.
Thirdly, you need permission. You have to get reply slips signed in blood with three reliable witnesses that a child is allowed to partake in this activity. If it involves extending the school day and having more time free of their little darlings, most parents would pay the school to take them on the bloody trip.
The Risk Assessment
Activity: Walk to the bus
Risk: High. Possibility of mislaying a child or two (if only).
Action: Do a head count before leaving the classroom, before leaving the school, as children get on the bus, once children are on the bus and as the bus begins to move. To be repeated by the five other adults on the trip. Repeat at the other end.
Activity: Travel on bus (1)
Risk: High. Possibility of a random, stubborn sheep holding up traffic because the grass is always greener on the other side for them.
Action: Find something interesting in one of the kid’s packed lunches to entice said sheep back in the field.
Activity: Travel on bus (2)
Risk: High. Bus crashes.
Action: Give Valium in form of travel sweets to kids so as not to distract the bus driver. Give any spare Valium to participating adult.
Activity: Travel on bus (3)
Risk: High. Bus will probably break down. Very difficult to find a bus from the 21st century in West Cumbria.
Action: Sing Ten Green Bottles on the roadside whilst waiting for marginally younger replacement.
Activity: Skimming stones
Risk: Low. There’s not an athlete amongst them, so no chance of them hitting another child.
Action: Don’t tell them to be resilient. Don’t tell them practice makes perfect. Don’t tell them to persevere. Just let them be crap.
Activity: Paddling in lake
Risk: Low (because of action)
Action: Tell them crocodiles were spotted in the lake last week.
Activity: Walk round lake
Risk: High. Inclement weather in every season (we do live in Cumbria).
Falling over miniscule stones.
Action: Tell children to man up. Take paper towels to be wettened.
Activity: Eating lunch by the lake.
Risk: Low. No chance of choking. They’ll have eaten their packed lunches already on the bus.
Action: Tell them to stop moaning that they’re hungry because it’s their own fault for eating their entire packed lunch five minutes into the journey. What did I tell you?
Activity: Return to school by bus
Risk: High (see above for outward journey)
Action: Find somewhere you can walk to for the next trip.
Risk: high, many parents can’t afford trip, it’s extortionate
Action: leave some of them behind to cause trouble with the class below because it’s their own fault for being poor that they can’t pay
LikeLiked by 1 person
Luckily schools I’ve worked in have always made sure kids in that situation still go
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ours isn’t. Kids on school meals just pay the deposit but families just above that are stuffed. Kids in consecutive years going on the same trip at £300 each for 3 nights? Sorry, you aren’t poor enough to need help. Gaaaaa! So cross.
LikeLiked by 1 person