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It’s that time of year again. Collecting stacks of brochures, trawling through websites, and squeezing in calls between classes, all to try to organise the much-anticipated school trip.
With so much going on at the start of a new school year, the last thing you need is more stress trying to navigate through the planning process.
Jamie Walls, former teacher and current Education Delivery and Product Manager at YHA (England and Wales), has some top tips to help you plan a successful school trip.
The most popular dates and locations fill up quickly, so if your class has their heart set on fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast or abseiling in the Peak District, get in touch as soon as you can to secure your place.
However, with more than 130 youth hostels through England and Wales and over 80 with LOtC accreditation, YHA will often have alternatives available if you find your first choice has already gone.
Whether you’re thinking about trying a brand-new venue or just want a better look at the facilities available at an old favourite, book yourself onto a free YHA planning visit.
These offer you the opportunity to talk to staff about your stay, chat about any requirements, get help completing paperwork and even have a go at some of the activities on offer for your students.
Decide on the kind of residential trip that would suit you and your class best. Will it be entirely self-led with you organising the activities and excursions? Or a national curriculum linked package filled with high-energy activities like rock climbing and kayaking?
Or, combine the two and add some full- or half-day bolt-on activities to your stay.
YHA can support you and your class by tailoring your stay to suit your learning objectives and the needs of your class.
Hostel managers have seen it all. Week in and week out, they live and breathe school trips. They are a wealth of knowledge and information and are always happy to help you plan your visit.
YHA hostel managers provide lots of information and advice, will show you around the hostel on your pre-visit, and provide pre-arrival packs that contain everything you need to know.
Sorting out your class’ meals on a residential can become a bit of a nightmare, particularly when you have multiple dietary requirements.
Offering a range of healthy and fulfilling meals, YHA is happy to work with you to provide suitable and delicious meals throughout your stay.
They are also able to cater for any special requirements and even provide meals that fit into your itinerary when you need them.
Don’t risk arguments on arrival day. Decide who’s sharing a room with whom ahead of your stay so that your class knows what to expect.
When you stay with YHA, you’ll always be guaranteed dedicated rooms with private group leader rooms, and many hostels are available for sole use if your group wants to have the place to itself.
Often, time for a residential is planned into school calendars well in advance. On the occasions you have some flexibility, it can be worth looking at taking your class at a different time of year.
Winter residentials have been shown to help build resilience, develop relationships and embed a healthy attitude to learning right at the start of the academic year, which then supports your students’ learning through the later terms and beyond.
They are also more cost-effective. YHA offers self-led residentials from just £8.33pppn (ex VAT) during low season. These quieter periods can also provide a more-comfortable environment for SEND students, particularly young people with behavioural or sensory difficulties.
With a YHA school trip you can be assured of a safe, fulfilling and unforgettable residential that will stay with your students long after the coach journey home.
To find out more about how YHA can help you plan your next residential, visit groups.yha.org.uk/school-trips or call 01629 592 637 to speak with a friendly advisor.
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