The difference that school trips and away days can make
With the demands on teachers’ and young people’s time, public sector cuts and rising school costs, should trips and away days really be a priority for schools?
At Lakeside, we’d argue that trips should be a greater priority for schools.
Mental health benefits
Recent NHS data shows that more young people than ever before are being admitted to hospital suffering from anxiety. One in 10 children suffers from a diagnosable mental health problem, and 75% of mental illness starts before the age of 24*.
Yet it’s well documented that being outdoors and having the opportunity to explore and interact with nature offers a wealth of mental and physical benefits for children**. For example, studies show that exposure to nature can reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children threefold compared with staying indoors.
With reports that children aged five to 16 are spending more time indoors in front of a screen for, on average, 6.5 hours a day^, and the importance of school trips is more apparent.
For some young people, the outdoor education and adventure programmes we offer for schools at Lakeside can be their first real introduction to nature and outdoor play.
The true value of school trips
While quantitative studies offer an overview, what they don’t show is the huge impact that school visits can have on individual children. Visits to Lakeside can be life-changing for some.
Take Lewis for example, his mum tells his story:
In the month’s leading up to the residential, Lewis was adamant that he didn’t want to go. Finally, the week before the trip and with support from school, he agreed but was still very anxious and extremely worried about the trip, saying: “I will go but won’t do all the activities I’ll just watch the others”.
When the coach left for Lakeside, I honestly expected a phone call asking me to pick him up. But that call never came.
On their return, Lewis jumped off the bus his face glowing with pride. His first words were: “I could have stayed longer, it was so much fun!” He talked non-stop about how fantastic the trip had been. He couldn’t believe that he’d actually taken part in every single activity and was so proud of himself.
Since then he hasn’t looked back. The visit to Lakeside changed his attitude and mind-set to challenges he meets in his everyday life. There are things he’s since tried and achieved that he would never have dared to attempt before Lakeside.
Lakeside gave him the self-esteem and confidence he needed. It was a fantastic life-changing trip for Lewis, and for us as a family.