Here are a collection of our most frequently asked questions. If the answer you are looking for is not listed, please contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help.
- CAN WE CHANGE THE ITINERARY TO SUIT OUR SCHOOL BUDGET?
Yes, this is always possible. Please discuss your requirements with your dedicated Tours Consultant, who will be happy to tailor your itinerary to suit your year group’s needs.
- CAN WE VISIT THE HOTEL BEFORE WE TRAVEL?
Yes, a pre-visit can be arranged for the group leader at any time prior to your departure date. The SJA will provide one night’s complimentary accommodation. All travel arrangements will be your own responsibility in the UK. For European destinations we can offer Eurotunnel costs to assist the school with transport payments.
- ARE SJA SCHOOL JOURNEYS FULLY INSURED?
The SJA is ABTA and ATOL protected so you have peace of mind of being fully protected at all times.
- ARE HOTELS AND TRANSPORT CHECKED?
The SJA has always carried out hotel and transportation inspections/checks. All properties and coaches used for our school journeys have been checked to ensure they meet current health and safety standards.
- CAN THE SJA CATER FOR PUPILS WITH SPECIFIC DIETARY REQUIREMENTS?
Many of the hotels we use can cater for most dietary needs. Please highlight these requirements as early as possible with your Tours Consultant who will contact the hotel to organise this for you in advance of your trip.
- CAN WE OBTAIN A GROUP PASSPORT?
Most schools travelling to a European country can obtain a collective(group) passport. Please have a look at the comprehensive information at www.fco.gov.uk/travel . You and your pupils may still require visas and these can sometimes be obtained using the British Council List of travellers visa waiver https://www.britishcouncil.org/school-resources/partner/visit-exchange/list-travellers-visa. Our top tip is to look at the requirements at least six months prior to the trip in case anyone needs to apply for a visa.
Q&A with Mr Stephen Crinall – Bishop Perrin Primary School
- What are your main considerations when organising a school trip?
When organising a trip, several points come into consideration. The main one has to be ensuring that the children will be safe and well-cared for whilst off site. After this, the links to the curriculum and the cost to parents are both high priority considerations.
- Are there any trips that you run on a regular basis that you have formed special links with?
We have formed good links with the SJA for our Year 5 residential, PGL for our Year 6 residential and we also have good links with Twickenham Rugby Stadium as we are one of the local schools they have in their community partnership.
- Does your school face any particular challenges when organising school trips and if so, how do you overcome them?
As a one-form entry school the cost of transport, particularly for coaches, can often prove prohibitive. We are sometimes able to overcome this by sending more than one year group on a trip, providing we can justify this through the curriculum links. We sometimes avoid hiring coaches by contacting other local schools to see if we are able to borrow their minibuses and then using staff or parent volunteers and minibus drivers.
We are lucky enough to have a very supportive and active School Association (run by parents) who regularly provide a pot of money to be used towards subsidising a trip.
- What value can a well-chosen residential trip add to a student’s educational experience?
Having a well-chosen residential can have a huge impact on a child’s development. Children who attend residential trips have a chance to experience their learning first hand, which is something that can prove invaluable in introducing new concepts and really showing children the purpose of their learning. Children also have the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals; for many children they may not have stayed away from their family before attending a residential trip.
- What are some of the best educational outcomes you witnessed from a school trip?
I have witnessed children fully appreciate the grandeur and importance of Queen Victoria when visiting Osbourne House. They have also been in awe of the size and scale of castles and castle defences when visiting Carisbrooke. Children have also fully understood formation of rocks when visiting the west coast of the Isle of Wight.
- What advice would you give to fellow teachers who might be nervous about organising a school trip?
Make sure that you know what you want to get from your residential. Make sure that your plans are feasible and not too busy as you don’t want to have to rush around for the entire time. Booking through a third-party like the SJA can take away a large amount of the administration and ensure that you have the support that you need throughout the booking process and whilst you are away. Seeing the children enjoy their activities and their time away from home with their friends is more than worth the time it takes to organise.
- How have The School Journey Association helped your school with taking learning outside the classroom?
The SJA has allowed us to organise a regular trip to the IoW without the administration becoming a burden. They have liaised with the centres we stay at to ensure that children with specific needs are well catered for and can have the same opportunities to learn outside the classroom as their peers.
- What is your Top Tip?
Pack some ear plugs for when the constant singing on the coach stops being fun!
You can download this Q&A as a PDF by right-clicking this link and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.