However much teachers enjoy the company of students, having responsibility for them out of the school environment is, in no sense, a holiday. Rather, teachers take full responsibility for other people’s children – sometimes in potentially dangerous situations. It should be enjoyable for them, but it is not a holiday! For the students, there are real advantages beyond the cliché of travel broadening the mind. These may lie in the opportunity to practise language skills (Dame Allan’s promote work experience for older pupils in both Spain and Germany), to experience other cultures (as in our biennial World Challenge expeditions) or to promote international cooperation and fellowship, as in Dame Allan’s membership of Relais de la Mémoire, a pan-Europen group of young people whose purpose is to prevent a recurrence of war in Europe.
Dr John Hind, Principal, Dame Allan’s Schools, Newcastle
The mission statement of Westfield School embraces the notion of educating the whole person, and opportunities outside the classroom for pupils at the school are numerous. Westfield is an established member of Round Square, an international schools organisation with over 80 school members, committed to educating tomorrow’s leaders through conferences, projects, exchanges and leadership opportunities. We offer our pupils life-changing experiences that have a direct effect on their understanding of the world; this in turn feeds into the curriculum and enriches knowledge and understanding. There are opportunities for younger girls including junior conferences and exchanges with Round Square schools in Europe providing pupils with an exciting network of new friends. Over the last 18 months, Westfield pupils have been involved in service and ecological projects in Costa Rica, South Africa and Namibia and have attended conferences in the USA, Thailand, Australia and Kenya. A delegation of girls of different ages will be attending the Round Square International Conference in Bhopal, India in late September where they will engage in debate on issues of global importance including the role of government in the world’s largest democracy.
Steve Ratcliffe, Assistant Head and Round Square Coordinator at Westfield School
School trips and other extracurricular activities are an invaluable part of an all-round education. They provide a myriad of opportunities and new experiences which a child might not have at home, ranging from cultural trips (in the North East and further afield) and language exchanges to Outward Bound and other sports-related expeditions.These experiences give children confidence and a sense of freedom, an opportunity to be more independent away from home without the normal sibling interaction, as well as the chance to discover a new interest or passion. The very experience of travel without family is invaluable and helps foster independence as well as broadening horizons. School trips also provide the opportunity for both pupils and staff to meet and get to know each other in a different context, and discover different interests and abilities. This in turn helps to strengthen the school community as new connections are made and relationships formed, both within and across year groups and ages. And, yes, trips are also meant to be enjoyable – both for students, and staff who have given up days of their holidays, weekends or half terms to accompany them.
Hilary French, Headmistress, Newcastle High School for Girls