Things going wrong on school trips is almost inevitable because, as you will know if you have ever had the pleasure of organising a school trip, many of the things that do go wrong are those over which you have absolutely no control.
Interestingly, a TES article has set out five things that are likely to go wrong on school trips – some of which you can probably relate to – so here goes…
“1) Permission slips – You told them they would need one numerous times, you told their parents they would need one numerous times and you emailed/texted/posted a letter saying exactly the same thing. And yet, here they are: excited, grinning with enthusiasm, all their kit ready and not a single permission slip in sight.
“2) The packed lunches – You’ve spent 30 minutes travelling in a 1970s living room (complete with curtains) masquerading as a coach, and for some reason every child has already eaten their lunch. Quite why school trips cause insatiable hunger, no one knows, but what you do know is that your carefully prepared meal is going to be shared into 30 equal parts.
“3) The lost items – Yes, they’ve had the spiel about the school not being responsible for lost or stolen items, but guess who is running back through every exhibition room searching for a missing iPod? Wide-eyed and frantic, you interrogate anyone who looks vaguely official, only to eventually get a call from another teacher to say that the iPod has been found. At the bottom of the child’s bag…
“4) The vomit – Excessive excitement, excessive sugar, excessive tiredness, and excessively aggressive driving by the coach driver. There is no combination more accomplished at causing vomit than that. You reach for the sick bag, but you know it’s too late. The children in the seats behind scramble for safety as the stream of sick winds slowly towards the back of the coach.
“5) Missing parents – You begin to think that, this time, things are going to be different. But then you spot it: the one student standing on their own. A phone call, some swearing, and then a screech into the car park. The frantic parent loads the student into the car with profuse apologies and protests that they are “sure it said 5pm not 4pm”. And with that, you finally head home, vowing never to do this again but knowing full well you’ll be repeating the process next term.”
However, one thing that teachers typically dread most about school trips is the not impossible likelihood of the school’s minibus breaking down – which is actually something that the school does have control over.
Of course, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of this happening by ensuring that the school’s minibus is enrolled on a full maintenance programme, which is just one of the services that Benchmark offer as part of the leasing arrangements they have with schools.
And another benefit of leasing a minibus with Benchmark is that it can often work out to be cheaper than buying a minibus outright (especially if one takes into account the re-sale value of a school bus at the end of its working life) or indeed the cost of hiring a coach each time.
It is an arrangement which makes it possible for schools to fund the minibus through a small payment each month, which has the added benefit of improved budgeting and cash flow.