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Diversity Study Trips – Benefits of Study Trips 

Spokesperson: Kate Erskine, head of Diversity Study Trips 

Bringing learning to life: The importance of study trips 

Last year was the year of school refusal. The rise of persistent absence from pupils across the country last year was described by the UK Government as one of the most significant ongoing impacts of the pandemic.  

Recent figures show that the number of pupils missing 10% of lessons has more than doubled among both primary and secondary students. This issue is down to a number of factors, from poor health, both mental and physical, to a growing call by some parents for online lessons. 

One way to tackle this issue is to get students excited and motivated for school again. 

Learning outside the classroom is often an overlooked method of education. In addition to the usual curricular learning, educational trips are proven to improve mental health and confidence, as well as develop personal and teamwork skills.  

The recent extension to the Turing Scheme demonstrates that the UK Government has also identified widening access to outdoor learning opportunities as an important feature for students from all backgrounds up and down the country. 

Study trips will play an important role in encouraging students back to school and motivate pupils to continue performing highly in, and outside, the classroom. 

Hands on learning  

Not all students find it easy to sit and learn in a classroom for five days a week. Introducing different teaching and learning methods, such as study trips, will not only make learning more accessible to those who are challenged by traditional methods, but also encourage students to get to know their own strengths, and address their learning needs.  

For example, the opportunity to visit the National History Museum could be the reason that some of the curriculum ‘clicks’ for a student who might be able but is struggling to stay engaged during lessons.  

We can all remember laying out our clothes the night before a school trip and struggling to get to sleep with excitement. The more that we can encourage students to feel that way about learning, and being exposed to new cultures, the more well-rounded, tolerant and enthusiastic students will become.  

As the overall absence rate in schools for 2023 was 6.6%, higher than the pre-pandemic levels that ranged between 4.5% and 4.8% between 2013 and 2018, students are still struggling to find the same motivation to show and be ready to learn. Study trips can be a huge source of motivation for students who have lost their love for learning.  

Putting the classroom into context 

For so many students, school can be difficult to put into context as the future can seem far away, and disconnected from the lessons that they work through each day.  

Discovering a spark for a subject or topic can transform a student’s experience of school, and study trips are one of the best ways to do this.  

From a day trip to the Globe Theatre to experience some Shakespeare, to a week’s trip to Iceland to inspire some budding geographers, opening up the eyes of students to the way that their learning is relevant in everyday life is essential to create enthusiastic and engaged learners.  

With reading enjoyment levels at an all-time low since 2005, with just 43.4% of 8 to 18-year-olds saying that they enjoy reading, seeing literature leap off the pages onto a stage could be the catalyst for a bookworm in the making.  

Incorporating study trips to support the curriculum is not only an exciting opportunity for students to find a love for learning, but it also boosts morale in the classroom.  

Developing future leaders 

The best way to make the most of a study trip is to get the students involved in the planning process.  

Whilst this may sound daunting to any teachers who are used to doing the planning, it provides a great sense of achievement when the trip goes ahead successfully.  

Giving students agency over their learning, from setting a list of objectives to plan the trip against, to choosing from lists of museums to visit, young people thrive from being asked questions and being able to make their own choices.  

Splitting the students into groups with their own responsibilities will also give them the opportunity to develop leadership skills, taking ownership of their tasks. By the time you get back to school, the students will have developed long lasting friendships with each other too, perhaps with peers they haven’t spoken to before.  

What next? 

Today (24 January) marks the International Day of Education. This is an opportune moment to reflect on the ways we can enrich the curriculum and inspire students.  

Extending access and participation for outdoor learning opportunities, such as through overseas study trips, is a great way to transform education after a difficult few years post-pandemic. 

Normalising outdoor learning will help provide much-needed motivation for pupils to attend and feel enthusiastic again for school.  

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