23rd June 2017
Survey on Educational Visits and Activities
It is some years since we asked parental views about school trips, so in order to better judge the circumstances under which parents are prepared to contribute, we would like to ask your views, both on educational activities and on residential trips (residential trips are optional extras for which we charge and there is no expectation that all children will attend).
Educational visits and themed activity days held in school but delivered by external providers offer a chance for topics to “come alive” for children. However, the cost of these enrichment activities can be quite significant and school funding levels mean that the school simply does not have the money to cover the cost of these events. The PTA offers us some subsidy, but for the bulk of the cost we seek voluntary contributions from parents.
Our school has a charging and remissions policy, which is reviewed by governors every year, which states that for an educational activity to be viable we must meet the financial viability threshold by collecting 90% of the cost.
It has been increasingly difficult to meet this threshold, especially with regard to themed days held in school. To date, the school has not cancelled an event, preferring to make up shortfalls from other sources. However, the school has now entered a period where the impact of growth and the effect of low funding for a number of years mean that we do not have the capacity to do this.
Sometimes the school takes advantage of external providers to deliver enrichment events within school. These range from workshops or presentations which might last for an hour or morning, such as the mobile planetarium or Mexicolore visit, or take place over a whole day, in which case we use highly expert providers such as Off the Page to deliver exciting themed activities. There are great benefits to providing this type of learning experience in school; as there is no travel time the children receive a much longer period engaged in activities, and in some cases the offer is so unique that we would simply not be able to achieve the same experience elsewhere. As a general rule, the contribution requested for these themed days are lower than cost of a day trip, usually well under £10 and more often £4-£7.