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Revealed: UK parents are spending over £4,000 on school trips

School trips are an eagerly anticipated event in the school calendar for children, and it seems that this sentiment is shared by parents too, with over half (46%) believing children learn more from school trips and visiting places, than they do in the classroom.

A new study, conducted by home education provider, Oxford Home Schooling considers how many trips children at different levels in the education system attend, alongside parent’s thoughts on the value of these trips, and the benefits of educational versus fun school outings.

Of those willing to spend money, the average amount that parents pay for one school trip is £140. With an average of three trips a year, during their child’s education from KS1 to KS4, a parent is spending £4,620. Interestingly, it is dads who are willing to spend more, with nearly a quarter (21%) admitting to spending between £101 – £200, compared to 13% of female parents paying within this price range.

The research conducted by the home schooling provider found that parents overall have a positive attitude to school trips. Over a third of parents (34%) think there should be more school trips available for school children, and 38% think it’s still important for children to go on school trips, whether it’s a treat or not.

However, not all British parents share the same reasoning. One in five (20%) think school trips are a waste of money, and 17% of men think school trips should purely be about educational benefits rather than a treat, versus 11% of women sharing these thoughts.

The research also found the cities which think school trips are a waste of money; these are:

  1.       Edinburgh (38%)
  2.       London (29%)
  3.       Glasgow (27%)
  4.       Dublin (25%)
  5.       Birmingham (24%)

School trips are often seen as a nice treat for children, or a chance to get out of the classroom and enjoy visiting somewhere new, or taking part in an unusual activity.

Suzie Ross, a GP Receptionist based in Bradford has a son in Year 2, she said: “I think school trips are important for both a child’s development and education. Any time to get out of the classroom and explore, is beneficial in my opinion.

“Trips help to aid academic skills as well as essential social skills and much more. Personally, I would only be willing to pay £20-£30 for one trip within the UK, and I think five to six trips each year is fine, as long as they are educational in some way.”

The research revealed the top five types of attractions for school trips as:

  1.       Science and transport (63%)
  2.       History and heritage (60%)
  3.       Wildlife and nature (56%)
  4.       Museum and galleries (52%)
  5.       Activities (41%)

Children in Key Stage 2 (7-11 years) and Key Stage 3 (11-14 years) both attend an average of four trips a year, compared to those in Key Stage 1 and 4 who attend three. In addition, it seems schools in Ireland are the most relaxed when it comes to allowing children to leave the classroom, with 14% of parents in Dublin admitting their child goes on over 10 trips a year, followed closely by 11% in Belfast.

Dr Nick Smith, Principal at Oxford Home Schooling, said: “School trips are fundamental to a child’s education both academically and in terms of their understanding of the wider world.

“Our research revealed that in general, parents think school trips are very important and they think children learn more on these trips, than in the classroom.

“There is more flexibility when it comes to home schooled children attending trips, outside of their studies; it is up to an individual parent to decide on the location and purpose of the trip, as well as how many their child goes on each year.

“There should be a balance between spending time learning the curriculum and also attending school trips to enhance their academic performance, but also enjoy time away from learning, to have some fun.”  

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