School excursions are an exciting part of a student’s learning journey and contributes to the development of well-rounded individuals who are prepared to navigate and thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. Meaningful travel experiences can have a lasting impact on students' personal growth, cultural understanding, and academic development.
Sounds wonderful but, the planning and organisation of these excursions often fall on the shoulders of the teachers who are already time poor. Anyone who has ever planned an excursion will know it can be admin intensive and time consuming. Planning a school excursion requires careful organisation and attention to detail so we have listed some key points to help you get started:
Determine the purpose and objectives: Clarify the purpose of the excursion and identify the learning outcomes or goals you want to achieve. Consider the educational value, relevance to the curriculum, and the interests of the students. Answering this question will guide you on deciding on destination and duration of your excursion.
Obtain the necessary approvals: Seek approval from school administration, the relevant authorities, and obtain any required permits or permissions. Depending on where you are going there may be government rebates available to your school so start to collate this information early the approval process can take time.
Set a budget: Determine the available budget and allocate funds for transportation, accommodation (if necessary), meals, entry fees, and any other expenses. Consider additional costs such as insurance or emergency contingencies.
Choose a destination: Picking a suitable destination is not just about checking the weather or time of year but more about researching a destination that aligns with the purpose and objectives of the excursion. Consider factors such as distance, accessibility, safety, time, and educational opportunities.
Plan the itinerary: Create a detailed itinerary that outlines the schedule, activities, and timings. Include transportation arrangements, sightseeing spots, educational visits, and any other relevant activities. You may want to evaluate the balance between educational and recreational components. You may even need to use this information for a parent presentation evening and don’t forget to compile an emergency list of services in the area.
Arrange transportation: Determine the mode of transportation (coach, flights, or school transport) based on the distance, size of the group, and budget. Make necessary bookings and ensure safety measures are in place. You may want to consider getting more than one quote, transport often accounts for a large portion of the excursion costs.
Organize accommodation and meals: If an overnight excursion, arrange suitable school group accommodation considering factors such as proximity to the destination, safety, and affordability. The accommodation will often include all meals for you but if not, plan meals and dietary requirements for the duration of the excursion. Do not underestimate the time it takes to collate dietaries and rooming lists this is one of the areas that change frequently and updating your accommodation is important.
Communicate with stakeholders: Inform parents, students, and teachers about the excursion details, including dates, destination, itinerary, cost, and any requirements or restrictions. Obtain consent forms and collect necessary medical information from students.
Ensure safety and supervision: Develop a risk management plan addressing potential hazards and safety protocols. Your school may already have a template for this so check with your school administrator. Ensure an appropriate ratio of supervisors to students and allocate responsibilities accordingly. Brief teachers and supervisors on safety procedures and emergency protocols.
Arrange educational activities: Coordinate with relevant venues or educational institutions to schedule visits, workshops, or guided tours that align with the educational objectives. Make necessary reservations and communicate any specific requirements.
If you are feeling overwhelmed just reading the above, you may want to consider using a travel agency or a company that specialises in planning school excursions to help plan your school excursion. There are several benefits to working with a travel partner not only do they take away the admin and save you time, but they can also provide valuable insights, destination knowledge, and suggestions to ensure a well-planned and smooth trip.
Our top tip would be to make sure you specifically look for companies who specialise in organising customised educational tours for schools.
Every school has its own specific procedures and guidelines for planning excursions and these guidelines may vary from one educational institution to another. So, if you are managing the logistics of your next excursion yourself, we would recommend that you start planning early or if you decide to work with a company who specialises in organising school excursions be sure to communicate the educational outcomes upfront. Whether it's fostering cultural understanding, enhancing topic knowledge, or developing leadership skills, sharing these objectives will help the agency create a program that is meaningful and targeted.