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Day Trip vs Residential: 6 Ways to Choose the Best UK School Trip

Teachers must make hard choices when it comes to UK school trips. You know children will benefit from a longer residential, but it’s a larger financial commitment for parents. You might be tempted to book day excursions in an attempt to save money.

ChildMapReadingBut could the benefits of a residential trip mean that day outings aren’t worth the money you spend? Let’s look at the key elements to see why a residential trip wins every time.

1: Travelling for a UK School Trip

The excitement of the journey soon wears off. After settling your classful of overexcited children on the coach, it takes forever to arrive. The time limitations of a day trip means restricting yourself to locations that are up to 90 minutes away. Longer than this and your class spends more time on the motorway than learning.

A big problem with having to choose a location close to school is how limited your choices are. Typically, your children will have already visited everywhere. It’s hard to convince parents that the cost of the coach and entrance fee is worth it. They could go by themselves, in the holidays, for far less expense.

On a 9am-3pm day trip, 50% of your time could be spent travelling. Residential trips allow you to maximise the time spent away by dedicating time for the journey. Rather than a rush to get on site, you can break it into smaller chunks, stopping at interesting places along the way. Travelling becomes part of the fun rather than a problem to overcome.

2: Time Available

Day trips are short and sweet, but take away the time spent in the loos, eating lunch and visiting the inevitable gift shop, and you end up feeling rushed. The day feels like a route march to see everything. There’s no time to relax or enjoy the experience.

Residential trips are stuffed full of fun and discovery but also allow important down-time to talk, relax and bond with friends. The learning that takes place can be discussed and reflected on. Instead of rushing back to school, the outing forgotten, residentials make big memories for our young people.

3: Costing Your Residential Trip

Day trips seem like a much cheaper option. No overnight accommodation costs, no food to pay for. But coach prices and paying for entry can turn a simple day trip into an expensive option. It’s hard for parents to see the benefit of spending lots just for a few hours out of the classroom.

Residential UK school trips can be expensive but there are ways to make them affordable for all. Travelling costs are likely to remain broadly similar whether you go away for a day or a week. Using payment plans for parents is an easy way to spread the cost over a longer time. Clearly telling parents what their child will experience whilst away is a great opportunity to sell the benefits to them.

4: Learning Opportunities

Day trips offer fantastic snippets of new learning that can be followed up in the classroom. But somehow, the pressures of the timetable squeeze your plans and you move on to something new. The learning opportunities are wasted. Your trip will soon be forgotten, and the narrow curriculum focus won’t have made any real impact on learning.

Many teachers are choosing to ditch day trips in favour of bringing experts into school. This cost and time saving measure is the perfect way to add to the budget for a residential trip. One longer adventure has a far greater impact than a few days out scattered through the school year.

Residential UK school trips give you the time, specialist equipment and staff to introduce children to many new experiences. A few days away can become the centre of a whole term’s worth of learning. You can use it as a stimulus for every area of your curriculum.

5: Independence Skills

Day trips are fun but there’s little time for children to make choices about their learning. They are micromanaged from the moment they get out of the bus until they get back in again. The dangerous rise of helicopter parenting becomes ‘helicopter teaching’.

Residential trips allow your children the chance to stand on their own feet and make decisions for themselves. They can be responsible for their belongings, look after communal areas and make their bed. These simple skills teach them valuable life lessons that will help them manage their own learning.

6: Resilience and Risk-Taking

child_rock_climbingDay trips aren’t focused on the skills children need to be successful in later life. They normally cover a narrow curriculum area like history, geography or art. They are over so quickly there’s only a short amount of time to try things out.

Residential trips encourage children to take risks. It’s a big part of the experience. We need to give children the opportunity to try, fail and have another go. It’s hard to teach them there’s more to life than winning. Longer adventures away from school can be key in developing those essential resilience skills.

Choosing UK School Trips

Day trips are a fantastic experience and a great way to get children out of the classroom to learn. But that’s where they end.

Rushing around, toilet breaks, high coach costs, risk assessments – it can all feel like too much effort for a few hours of learning. You start thinking about how to deliver the same lessons in the classroom to save the expense of leaving school.

Residential UK school trips offer learning that you simply can’t recreate in the classroom. The chance to have independence and freedom in a safe, supportive environment. They are the perfect way to help your children grow and mature.

The opportunity to try new experiences, build resilience and grow as an individual makes a residential trip worth every penny.



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