Top 5 school trip memories
Updated: 8th March 2017
First Published: 24th June 2014
We know that educational school trips help students learn and create memories they will cherish for a lifetime. But, what about you - and the other party leaders - who take them? We polled 30 party leaders to find out their funniest, most poignant, or unusual school trip memories. Here are the top five…
1. Mike Sheldrake, Deputy Head:
“The first time that I took a school party to Auschwitz it was a bittersweet experience. On the way to the camp it began to snow heavily. One of the party was an Australian who had literally never seen snow and therefore when we made a toilet stop, the students joined in one of the most humorous snow fights I have witnessed. Therefore the mood was high as we arrived in the camp car park. Initially as you pass through the entrance area it feels rather sanitized and similar to other museums that I have visited but as we approached the notorious gates with the words “Arbeit macht frei” above. Then you began to feel a chill and mood began to darken.
“The reality of this site became clearer as you entered the sleeping quarters for the inmates. They have now turned these areas into extraordinary exhibits. Each room contained huge amounts of individual items taken from the Jewish inmates on arrival. One room had piles of suitcases still with their luggage labels and the names of the original owners who most likely died in the camp. Another room had a pile of human hair, which was recycled to be used in army uniforms.
“However, the most poignant moment was when we entered another room, which was full of shoes. I was behind one of our female students when I noticed that she stopped by this exhibit. Her eyes had fixed a pair of shoes, which were red and white brogues that had originally worn by a toddler. She burst into tears as the inhumanity of man burst around her. Her friends consoled her and I noticed a number of other students crying. I was now concerned for the emotional wellbeing of a number of the party and certainly the atmosphere on the coach as we returned to the hotel was somber. But that evening many of the students came and saw me and thanked me for giving them the opportunity the experience. They simply said that it made them look at life in a very different and more mature manner.”
2. Daniel Menashe, Head of Classics:
“It would probably be the occasion when members of the party put together a 10-minute version of Oedipus to act out at the theatre of Epidavros. The main performers had read the play as part of their A Level classics syllabus, and wanted to put their own interpretation of it on stage. Casting was done and scripts were read on the coach between various sites on the trip, but to see the group actually take to the stage, put on their performance and be applauded by other watching groups was a real pleasure.”
3. Leanne Jhalley, Head of French:
“One of the highlights from our trip to Normandy in 2013 were the visits to the American and German cemeteries. I had previously had concerns about students not engaging well with the locations, but the students were extremely respectful and asked lots of questions. Upon our return, students said that it was one of the best parts of whole trip, and I agree!”
4. Richard Anderson, Head of Modern Foreign Languages:
“This year I will have completed my 88th and final school trip abroad, having taken thousands of Lincolnshire lads to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway and former Yugoslavia. It all started in 1972 with a 10-day “Round Europe” tour costing £39 (with Hourmont Travel) and it is going to finish on a five-day trip to Berlin costing well over £500 at the end of August.
“Trips are what the students remember most vividly and I have had hundreds of former school tourists say that they have re-visited the countries and even taken their families back to the same hotel or youth hostel! When I first started at Boston Grammar School, someone told me: “no one likes to go on trips round here. They are very insular!” Well, I think I’ve proved him wrong…”
5. David Hodgkinson, Head of Classics:
“The thing that stands out to me was talking to a large group of 48 year 8 boys at Delphi about the origins of Western philosophy. There was a colleague there who had no experience of the classical world, who got incredibly excited about the whole thing.”