Helping children stay sun safe

Each year, thousands of schools participate in the Soltan Sun Ready Schools programme, which has provided over half a million children across the UK with tips on how to stay safe in the sun.

Due to the closure of many schools in the UK, children are now spending more time in their gardens or outdoor space. That’s why Boots Soltan is making sure this important sun safety message still reaches young people by providing parents and teachers access to their Sun Ready Schools resources on their Family Hub.

Their resources are curriculum-linked and include activities such as the Sun Ready Show, Sun Ready Poster Challenge and the Soltan Sun Ready Challenge app so children can have fun whilst embedding sun-safe habits that last a lifetime.

Boots Soltan has also partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support to help make sure families stay safe in the summer sun. Take a look at their advice from the experts below, including tips on how to apply sun cream on children and how to keep little ones protected and Sun Ready.

How to apply sun cream on children
Getting kids to stay still for long enough to apply sun cream can be challenging! Here are a few tips on how you can ensure the sun cream is applied effectively and that you’re providing the best protection for your children:

  • Apply indoors, before going out in the sunshine; this will make sure the sun cream has sunk in and is ready to work before your child goes into the sun.
  • Use sun cream with a high SPF (30 or above) and a 5-star UVA rating to ensure your kids have high protection against the sun’s damaging UV rays.
  • Use plenty; most people do not apply enough, make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle to ensure you’ve got the protection that you need.
  • Remember those delicate areas. Make sure to cover all exposed skin evenly, including the face, neck and arms and encourage your kids to cover up their skin by wearing a hat and long sleeves. Reapply every two hours so that the protection doesn’t wear off. Even water-resistant sun cream can rub off so put more on after swimming and towel drying.
  • Have fun when applying; make the process fun for your children and get them to take part. Why not recite a poem while you do it – rub in the cream to the beat!

Keeping young babies safe
Be extra careful with children under six months; babies’ skin is much more sensitive than adult skin. Keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight at all times.

Explaining the need for sun protection to children
Applying sun cream may seem boring, but once kids learn about how it protects them from the sun’s rays, they’ll be more likely to regularly reapply. Try applying sun cream to each other to make it more interactive. Once they’re in a routine of applying their cream before sun exposure, it will become a habit and set them up for protecting their skin in the future.

You can also use Soltan’s Sun Ready activity resources, available on their Sun Ready website, which help teach children about the importance of protecting themselves in the sun in a fun and engaging way!

About Boots Soltan
Boots UK want to help young people start sun safe habits that last a lifetime. Our free curriculum-linked teaching and family resources and will get children making the most of the great outdoors, having fun and keeping sun safe!

About Macmillan Cancer Support
Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support are working together to provide cancer information and support on the high street. For more information visit

If you or anyone you know has questions or concerns about cancer, talk to Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00, open 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm or visit

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Top teacher tips for home schooling Primary aged children

Blog post written by Caroline Cudworth, Marketing Assistant Manager at Rayburn Tours.

Let’s get down to giving you some advice and tips from teachers that may just help you educate, develop and entertain you child at home while the schools are closed.

1. Take the pressure off!
First things first, teachers tell us that we need to remember that this is not ‘home schooling’ in the strictest sense. Home schooling has vast support networks, children are able to leave the house and go on visits and parent-teachers will have done extensive research and planning before deciding on home schooling. This situation is somewhat different due to the fact that we were all suddenly thrown into this and no one had time to prepare. So the first tip is…take the pressure off yourselves!
Mrs Wadsworth, teacher at Borrow Wood Primary School said, “I’ve been a teacher for over 13 years now and have taught all of the age groups from reception to Year 6. Suddenly, I had my two children at home and I thought ‘I’ve got this! How hard can it be?’. I began to plan all sorts of exciting activities – but it didn’t, hasn’t and won’t always go to plan. It’s not easy, even for us teachers, so as parents all we can do is our best!”

2. Have a plan for the day
Mrs Allen, teacher at Portland Spencer Academy, advises having a structure for the day. She says, “this doesn’t need to be really strict or tight, but children and adults like some sort of routine however loose that may be. A bit of structure will help your children to feel safe and secure. A good way to think of it is like little bursts of learning mixed with lots of independent and outdoor play.”
Top tips:

    • Make it visible so that the children can see what their day has in store.
    • Ask your children what they would like to include in their day, it may help them engage with the activities better.
    • Be flexible! If an idea works, then go with it. If an idea doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to bin it and move on.
    • Be prepared for it to not always go to plan! Some days the plan will just go out of the window, and that’s ok!

3. Have more than one child? Use holding activities!
The challenge is even harder if you have more than one child at home. Mrs Wadsworth recommends using ‘holding activities’.
“Teaching two children of very different ages and abilities is hard, especially if one is in reception and used to play- based informal learning. My tip would be to give one a ‘holding activity’ such as drawing, colouring or Lego while you give the other your attention and then swap.”

4. Include physical exercise and free play
Why not start the day with some exercise to get the body and the mind kick-started? The Bodycoach, aka Joe Wickes, is leading a live PE workout on his YouTube channel every weekday at 9am. It’s a 30-minute workout designed for children (and still challenging adults everywhere!) that’s a perfect way to start the day.
Young children also need breaks, so be sure to include plenty of time for independent and outdoor play. This give you a chance to grab a cuppa and enjoy a well-earned break too!

5. Get creative with your methods
Mrs Allen suggests getting creative with your learning methods. “For younger ones especially, don’t always feel that they have to write it all down on paper. Why not think about writing words in salt or flour in a tray, or getting outside and using a paintbrush and water on the fence. It’s different to something they might do at school and won’t fail to get them engaged.”

6. Use everyday things to count, problem solve and measure
We’ve got the best teaching resources anyone could wish for all around us when we’re at home. Count up the penny jar, organise the superhero figures into height order, do some baking or reorganise the pan drawer to make them all fit back in – there are plenty of things to do around the house that keep your child learning. Don’t force it though, keep working small activities in throughout the day.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Mrs Butterworth suggests “take the advice of the teacher and use the activities they have planned for your child so that you don’t have to take on too much planning yourself. And remember, we’re still here, albeit behind a screen, so don’t ever be worried about asking for help!”

8. Communication is key!
Headteacher, Mrs Weston, says, “in the first instance it’s all about communicating with them. Our number one priority is to help them feel safe and secure in these difficult times.”
She goes on to advise “think about giving them experiences around the house, encouraging them to help with simple daily chores such as the cooking, cleaning and tidying up. When watching things, talk about what they are watching and encourage them to think about what might happen next and why. When reading stories to them, ask them questions and even encourage them to make up their own endings.”

9. There’s a place for screen time
We all need a break so don’t be afraid of letting them watch TV or spending sometime on the iPad. Everything in moderation, right?

10. Try and enjoy!
Mrs Allen says, “as parents, we will probably never be asked to do this again so try and enjoy this extra time with your children and embrace your inner-teacher. Just go with it!”
Remember, you’re trying your best!

We’ve all been thrown in to this mad situation together so all you can do is try your best. If today’s not going to plan, then enjoy the PJ day, build a den and read some books…there’s always tomorrow!

About the Author
Caroline Cudworth is the Marketing Assistant Manager at Rayburn Tours. Caroline and her team’s role is to inspire schools to take learning outside the classroom, within the UK, Europe and beyond.
Rayburn Tours is an independent, family-run business that has been dedicated to providing tailor-made, international tours for groups since 1965; specialising in Educational Trips, Ski Trips and Sports Tours for schools, as well as Concert Tours for all types of youth and adult ensembles.

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Top teacher tips for home schooling Secondary aged children

Blog post written by Caroline Cudworth, Marketing Assistant Manager at Rayburn Tours.

Before we jump right in, “well done parents, you are doing a fantastic job!”

Now that has been said, let’s get down to giving you some advice and tips from teachers that may just help you educate, develop and entertain you child at home while the schools are closed.

1. Try and stick to their normal timetable structure
Most people thrive better when they have a routine and whilst it’s tempting to throw all routine out the window, it really will help when it comes to your child’s learning. English teacher, Miss Malone, encourages her students to “do English when they would normally have English, take their normal (and regular) breaks and finish working when the school day would usually finish”. If your child knows what their day holds, and when it’s due to finish, they’re more likely to focus and apply themselves.

2. It doesn’t need to be a full school day
Mrs Brown, Head of English at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Ashbourne, recommends making every lesson shorter than the usual hour they would have at school. “Lessons are that length at school because there’s approximately 30 children in the class. 1:1, 1:2 or even 1:3 ratios means the work can be done in a lot less time.” Less time on the usual lessons, means more time for practical learning…which leads us nicely on to our next top tip!

3. Encourage practical learning too!
It’s not all about the reading, writing and maths, it’s great to encourage your child to do some practical lessons too. Mrs Brown says, “all kids (even GCSE) have some practical lessons but younger ones especially are used to learning through play. Build a bird box or hedgehog hotel, put up a shelf or make a double bed (a challenge for any of us).”

4. Exercise is key!
Mrs Bowler, teacher at De Ferrers Academy Trust, remind us to not forget the power of exercise. “Children spend around an hour and 20 minutes or more outside playing each day, as well as PE lessons – factor it into the home schooling so that they can have some time away from the table.”

There are plenty of online exercise classes going on at the moment, so why not let your child choose what they want to do? Looking for some inspiration…check out Rayburn Tours’ blog on the ‘top free online exercise classes‘.

5. Let the creative juices flow
It’s really important not to put too much pressure on students at this time. Miss Malone says, “from what I’ve seen, teachers are setting work to continue students learning but we are also mindful that we’re in strange, emotional times and it’s important to remember that! It’s a great time to let kids take on some creative projects. I’ve asked my students to do a photo journal of something they’ve enjoyed each day and write something about it. There are some other nice projects for well being out there!”

If you child’s teachers haven’t set any creative tasks then why not do a little research and set one of your own?

6. Help build independent learning and research skills
This type of learning will be very alien to your child (and you!) and so now is a great time to talk to them about how independent learning and research skills are important skills to develop for A level, University and life. Encouraging older students to take more ownership of their learning is a great way to start building these skills.

7. Tap into your home resources
As parents, you have an array of resources that teachers don’t have and they’re lying all around the house. Cook, bake, sew, paint, do some gardening – it’s real world, real life education at its finest!

8. Rewards can help
Mrs Bowler suggests, “use rewards just as school does. If your child is really focused and is showing a positive attitude to learning, use a rewards chart and plan to do something exciting once isolation is over!”

9. There’s a place for screen time
We all need a break so don’t be afraid of letting them watch TV or spending sometime on the iPad. Everything in moderation, right?

10. Forgive!
Miss Brown reminds us that forgiveness is key! She says, “the most important tip I could give parents is to forgive. Firstly, yourself – it’ll go wrong, you’ll get frustrated, it’s fine. And always forgive them. They’ll get mad, frustrated and upset, and they’ll say things they don’t mean. Forgive them and give them a clean slate every time.”

We’ve all been thrown in to this mad situation together so all you can do is try your best. If today’s not going to plan, then there’s always tomorrow!

About the Author
Caroline Cudworth is the Marketing Assistant Manager at Rayburn Tours. Caroline and her team’s role is to inspire schools to take learning outside the classroom, within the UK, Europe and beyond.
Rayburn Tours is an independent, family-run business that has been dedicated to providing tailor-made, international tours for groups since 1965; specialising in Educational Trips, Ski Trips and Sports Tours for schools, as well as Concert Tours for all types of youth and adult ensembles.

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Why can I not go on a life changing opportunity?

Blog post written by: Steve Dool, Chair of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

Covid- 19 is the greatest challenge society has faced in our lifetime. It is a crisis second to none, it will test our attitudes, approach and response to the limit. It will shape our thinking and behaviour for the rest of our lives.

We can perhaps all point to what made a difference in our lives. It may have been a person or an experience but more than likely a combination of both. I firmly believe, as do the vast majority of school leaders and teachers, providing developmental experiences which help to inform and change young people’s lives are crucial to their future success.

Educational visits and their capacity to bring learning alive and create life changing experiences play a vital part in helping our young people to realise their potential.

The impact of Covid-19 on the availability of these immediate opportunities is significant and, often shattering for all those who have had visits cancelled when they were looking forward to them so much. My own daughter is one who had to return home early from a once in a lifetime back packing tour of Australia and New Zealand that had only just started. My old school had to pull 100 students out of a sports tour to Cape Town while a friend cancelled her school ski course to Italy days before departure with the official visit sweatshirts, complete with school logo and details of the expedition, already issued. All so hard to manage and deal with but not in the same ball park as what we all face today.

The priority at this time is staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives and it’s important we are all resolute and focused on the social distancing strategy that will get us through this extraordinary challenge. Our reliance and respect for our magnificent health workers, care staff and other key workers is evident and well deserved.

It’s been inspiring and heartening to observe the massive range of ideas, resources and improvised activities that have been promoted on social media and from organisations passionate about using the natural environment as a place of learning. Searching for insects and birds in the garden, daily workouts and skills challenges, online chats and conferences with friends at home and abroad, cooking, drawing, building and fixing have all featured and I would observe, being enjoyed, by millions of young people. We must offer our congratulations to parents and relatives who have used their imagination and creativity to use the home and its surroundings as a learning space, and a place for personal development. Also, recognising and supporting the mental health and well-being issues that result are all key issues that we need to acknowledge and address.

‘Some of the best learning opportunities are those that take place in real life scenarios’

This crisis makes me reflect and realise that some of the best learning opportunities are those that take place in real life scenarios away from the classroom. It reinforces in my mind the case for developing the school curriculum to embrace learning in different spaces as a way of improving knowledge, understanding, retention and recall along with motivation, enthusiasm and commitment.

So, what happens when we return to school. It will not be possible to simply “switch the light back on.” Learning in the future will look very different to that we experience now. We will not forget or ignore what we have witnessed in these times of improvisation and creative thinking.

The place of learning outside the classroom and the benefits for mental health and well-being will become more apparent than ever before and school leaders will be searching for ways in which to deepen the learning experience. We will need to provide curriculum and a range of opportunities that can build on the stimulating and inspiring things that have been shared between parents, teachers, communities, voluntary organisations and the media. The importance of also recognising that our disadvantaged young people may have grown in number and the gap may have widened, places an increased responsibility on schools and other organisations to make sure such opportunities are an entitlement for all, not just those fortunate to have a strong support network around them.

As we move on, our school based colleagues, in extreme conditions, are dealing with massive challenges involving not only trying to continue to develop our young people but also being involved in life and death situations within their communities.

‘So, what happens when we return to school. It will not be possible to simply “switch the light back on.” We will not forget or ignore what we have witnessed in these times of improvisation and creative thinking.’

As we move from crisis to resilience and recovery, my advice to providers of educational visits and learning outside the classroom activity is you have a critical part to play. You must be ready and prepared for an avalanche of interest in your programmes. You must spend your days creatively designing and preparing new and innovative opportunities for school groups, that will be even more flexible, appealing and attractive to young people, school leaders and teachers in the months and years to come.

Your involvement and contribution will become more valuable than ever before. Looking to the future and planning to secure the right opportunities for all our young people will be of paramount importance. It will help to ensure our children have the broad and balanced curriculum they need, enriched by high quality opportunities. We have a key role in unlocking potential and discovering real talent that will add so much to regenerating our economy and supporting our future prosperity and well- being as a nation.

I appreciate for those that have had their visits and activities cancelled this has been a real blow. However, let’s overcome this pandemic and seize the opportunity to embark on the experience of a lifetime at some point in the future.

Finally, many colleagues, friends, families and communities face a period of uncertainty, illness and worry and my thoughts and prayers are with you.


About the Author

Former headteacher of Neston High School in Cheshire, Steve is now Chair of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

Steve has extensive experience in a wide range of activities that have enhanced learning and made a significant contribution to high achievement for young people.

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School trips and Language Learning

Blog post written by: Jenn Parker, Digital Content Co-ordinator for educational travel providers Adaptable Travel.

In 2019, it was revealed that sadly the UK was facing a decline in students opting to study languages at GCSE and A-level. Amongst the reasons for this was student perception, with many students deterred by their perception of languages as difficult subjects.

As a teacher it’s fantastic when you are able to bring a subject to life and share your passion with your students, but it can be disheartening when students lose faith in a subject. However, immersive and engaging school trips and extra-curricular experiences could be the answer to engagement issues surrounding modern foreign languages (MFL). Offering plenty of opportunities to show students that these trips and activities allow the curriculum can be explored by learners of all types.

Experiences such as residential trips allow your students to immerse themselves in the subject in a dynamic and engaging way helping to dispel any myths and doubts and ultimately connecting your students with their curriculum. As you and your group engage with each other in new and vibrant settings, it is the perfect opportunity to maximise engagement and learning, bringing the subject to life and tying classroom learning to experiences, which can prove particularly useful when handling challenging topics.

Without further ado, let’s discuss what language can trips do for your students and how to unlock the potential of an MFL trip!

Bring learning to life
It can certainly be argued that language studies have a natural appeal to aural and verbal learners, as a majority of curriculum activity centres around students developing and utilising these skills. However, school trips and educational visits offer an opportunity for all types of learners to interact with the language and its core principles. As your students explore a range of immersive experiences language skills will start to appeal to logical and social thinkers too! School trips and the array of activities which come with them allow your students to navigate through visits with a combination of their skills, reading, interacting with native speakers and utilising opportunities to develop their skills in relaxed, real-life settings.

Explore culture and identity
School trips can often serve as students’ first and only times travelling internationally, offering them a completely unique opportunity to explore cultures outside of their own. Exploring cultures in this way can help your students cement their understanding of core language principles, as they discover more about the national identity, history and culture of the language they study. In doing so, languages become opportunities for your students to engage with the world around them experiencing the rich tapestry of cultures, faiths and histories which make up our globe. As they explore new countries, cities and experiences first-hand your class will develop personal experiences as well as ones they share with the peers. Given that peer contact informs much of their understanding of the world around them, shared experiences help students to connect with each other driving engagement and conversation in the classroom.

Boost skills and confidence
Learning a language is undoubtedly a process which takes time, effort and consistency, all of which have their foundations in structured classroom activities and regular sessions. However, a languages trip offers your students an opportunity to put their skills to the test, developing their aural and verbal skills with comfort and confidence in authentic environments. Speaking a foreign language can be daunting, particularly for beginners and those newly embracing a new language. Cue a language trip, the perfect way for your students to dive into language practice. Travelling with a group your students will rely on their strengths and develop their weaknesses in a pressure free, relaxed environment benefitting from the comfort of their friends, classmates and teachers all while embracing the opportunity to get key practice with native speakers. As they discover the value of their skills your students will feel inspired to speak more regularly, with a confidence backed up by experience.

Listen to the figures
As teachers we’re sure that you’re no strangers to school trip struggles, from costing to places and of course approval, the process can sometimes seem a gamble. However, the good news for language students is that schools are more likely to approve and run MFL trips than any other subject! According to the 2019 STF Residential Survey, a whopping 70% of schools organised language trips throughout 2018 and 2019. This means that although school trips come with their difficulties, school approval and student engagement with languages trips seems to be growing. These figures suggest that there’s never been a better time to look into language trips, removing much of the risk of school trip planning with higher rates of school approval and student engagement.

Shop around
The importance of shopping around for the best deal and package has never been more prominent, as further data from the recent STF Residential Survey displays. Amongst the factors which influence school trips the top 5 across over 200 UK schools included parental cost, school budget, term time travel and time management with others including paperwork and workload as well as educational value. Shopping around and knowing exactly what you want from a trip will not only help with the success of the planning process but also help the trip to run smoothly from start to finish.

Final advice:
To help you maximise the impact of your next language trip here’s some final tips that are definitely worth noting before you book:

Reduce Paperwork, Time management and Workload
A sure-fire way to reduce the paperwork and admin duties of a school trip is to work with a travel operator. Often the process for this involves requesting an initial quote, confirming student numbers and choosing from a selection of curriculum activities on offer at specified destinations. An important thing to remember when using services like this is that there is likely some level of correspondence necessary between yourself and the operator during the operation and booking stages. However, you can rest assured that a majority of the logistical, costing, booking and planning will be done for you and this often comes with ABTA and ATOL assurances. If you’re unsure of which providers to use STF (School Travel Forum), CLOtC (Council for Learning outside the Classroom) and ABTA or ATOL certified members are your best bet for ensuring peace of mind that you’re getting the best service possible.

Reduce Parental and School Costs
There’s a number of ways to keep cost down to a minimum when booking a trip.

  1. Competitive Pricing – Price matches, price promises and similar guarantees will give you peace of mind that you’re travelling at the best possible price.
  2. Travel Options – You can also cut costs by quoting on a number of travel options including air, train and coach so ensuring that your provider can arrange various travel options will help control cost.
  3. Free Staff Places – Checking what offers your travel providers run on staff places and ratio allowances will help keep school costs to a minimum, increasing the chances of trip approval.
  4. Student Numbers – It’s probably a given that the more interest in a trip the lower individual costs will be as most providers cost based on paying travellers. If you are running short on numbers, it might be useful to consider cross curriculum trips allowing two or more subjects to benefit from low cost travel and opportunities to explore what destinations have to offer. Although if travelling by coach it’s worth noting the number of passengers per coach, to avoid a costly supplement for additional coaches.

About the Author
Jenn Parker is the Digital Content Co-ordinator for educational travel providers Adaptable Travel.
In her role Jenn uses her passion for travel and adventure to inspire groups of all ages to use travel to embrace the cultures, histories and identities of the world around them.
Adaptable Travel is an educational travel provider offering safe, cost effective and innovative school trips and college tours across the UK and internationally. With over 25 years of experience in educational travel our trips aim to stimulate learning with bespoke curriculum itineraries designed to bring learning to life.

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Improving Wellbeing by Learning Outside the Classroom

Blog post written by Andy Pratt, Head of Group (West) and Wellbeing Lead at Field Studies Council (FSC).

There is increasing research supporting that time in the outdoors and nature connection improves health and wellbeing. At FSC we are all working towards the 2025 vision which has a cross-cutting theme to improve wellbeing running through everything we do.

Rachel Manning, a PhD Researcher at FSC Slapton Ley is providing research and evidence to underpin our approach. The conclusions from the PhD will provide invaluable recommendations to improve the quality of the FSC learning experience.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing is a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population. They were developed by NEF (the New Economics Foundation). The Five Ways to Wellbeing have been used across the UK since their launch in 2008 and provides a common language for FSC and other organisations to communicate a contribution to wellbeing.

Keep Learning
Learning about urban and natural environments.

A shared experience. Developing new or better relationships in the outdoors. Seeing others in a different way and meeting new people.

Being Active
Being outdoors in the fresh air, walking and doing practical activity from ecological surveys to adventure activities or conservation.

Take Notice
Being in the natural environment with opportunities for awe and wonder from the smallest creatures to the largest landscapes.

Working together in groups, learning ecological skills and contributing to our sustainable Centres.

At FSC we are pleased to be working alongside YoungMinds, The Sensory Trust and Groundwork UK on Nature Friendly Schools (NFS), a £6.4 million, four-year Department for Education funded project, which was awarded to The Wildlife Trusts.

The project aims to demonstrate and understand how an increase in supported delivery of high-quality activities in natural environments, for pupils in schools with the highest proportion of disadvantaged pupils, contributes to improved mental health and wellbeing, engagement with school and other key project outcomes.

We are focussing on six ‘soft outcomes’ for NFS residentials and day visits, which have been informed by the Young Minds Academic Resilience Approach:

  • Developing social skills and teamwork
  • Encourage adventurous play
  • Foster interests
  • Improve problem solving
  • Support children to have fun
  • Support children to find places of calm

We are working on a number of other projects all with an aim to improve wellbeing:

  • Our Bright Future (OBF) – This is a national £33 million programme funded by National Lottery Community Fund and managed by Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. It is a forward-thinking social movement that supports young people to lead progressive change in their communities and local environment.
  • Vision England – This is delivered by Sense which provides residential opportunities at a number of our centres for visually impaired.
  • Growing Confidence – In partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Fordhall Farm. This is a project which aims to build skills and confidence in young people through funded environmental activities.
  • Green Futures – This is hosted by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and involves FSC as delivery partners at FSC Malham Tarn. It includes several strands all developing wellbeing and life skills in young people but particularly the annual Youth Environment Summit, planned, organised and delivered by young people.
  • Green Guardians – This is a part of the Green Futures project that gets young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the outdoors to do various activities.
  • City of Sanctuary Hosting Weekend – Now in the 5th year of involvement for FSC this is a really important weekend involving the local community and refugee families from Leeds. It’s hard to emphasise the impact this has on both the refugee families who attend and the families in the local community who host.

We are continually being shown that wellbeing is in the forefront of educator’s minds. Reports we receive from group leaders after the many residentials which have been subsidised or provided for by our bursary fund and kids fund refer to the benefits and improvement in wellbeing seen in young people.

About the Author
Based in Devon, Andy Pratt is the lead for Health and Wellbeing for Field Studies Council (FSC). He is also responsible for operations of 6 residential FSC Centres in the South West and Wales.
FSC is a charity providing first hand experiences in the outdoors. We want to create a world where everyone feels connected to the environment so they can enjoy the benefits it gives and make choices that help protect it.

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The five sensory benefits of a school trip abroad

Blog post written by: Danielle West, Marketing Coordinator at Rayburn Tours.

The way we learn is a characteristic that makes each person unique. It’s as much a part of our identity as our appearance, speech, interests and values.

That’s why every child deserves the chance to explore their potential for knowledge through multi-sensory education. Access to learning experiences tailored to engage each of the five senses allows students and teachers to gain insight into how best to achieve lesson objectives.

Inside a classroom, sensory learning can be limited to looking at the brightness of a projector screen or touching the pages of a book. School trips offer students the opportunity to feel a different air around them, smell the uniqueness of a new environment and hear languages and sounds they wouldn’t hear every day.


A sense we take for granted, we use our sight to process our surroundings, often without the need for any further data.

Take art for example – the interpretation of a painting or sculpture can vary enormously from one person to another, meaning when it comes to visual learning, each student’s individuality will determine how they interact with and absorb information.

Having committed hours of time to teaching young geographers about Iceland’s tectonic plates, nothing compares to gearing them up with drysuits and snorkels for an eye-opening swim in the Silfra fissure, allowing a first-hand view of its stunning beauty.

Being able to point at and comment on what can be seen ‘in the flesh’, as opposed to a flat image, gives your students a brand new appreciation for their lesson content.


Focusing on auditory learning alone may seem like an unusual approach, but it can unlock previously unidentified creativity within students. Asking your class what they think about when they hear certain noises, encourages use of imagination and independent thought.

Music can influence emotion and create association, whilst hearing the rush of water or a crack of thunder can put the power of Mother Nature into perspective.

Visiting foreign countries and being exposed to native speakers introduces new dialects and a wider vocabulary that language students may not have had access to in school.

Using sound as a teaching tool doesn’t have to be complicated. Tyne Cot Cemetery has a straightforward technique for creating maximum impact. By playing aloud the names of over 34,000 missing soldiers for history students to hear during their visit, brings home the startling reality and consequence of war.


Choosing school trip excursions that are interactive can make all the difference in engaging the minds of those who are easily distracted.

One experience in particular that comes to mind when considering the use of physical touch as a learning mechanism, is the DDR Museum in Berlin. A self-proclaimed ‘hands-on experience of history’, the museum allows visitors to feel and hold the objects on display, and uses game-playing as a way to deliver information.

Direct contact with a variety of textures and temperatures, including the heat of the fumaroles in the Azores, or the misty spray Iceland’s Skogafoss waterfall, is ideal for tactile learners.


Smell is probably the most powerful of the senses when it comes to triggering memories – almost everyone has a particular scent that reminds them of a past experience, making smell an effective way to help students cement their knowledge.

Those looking to inhale the aromas offered up by local cuisine may choose a visit to Switzerland’s cheese factory ‘La Maison du Gruyere’, or Sorrento’s Limonoro, where you’ll find some of Italy’s finest produce.

A cultural trip to Barcelona’s Boqueria Market offers more than just historical and language learning. It can also be an opportunity to absorb a plethora of exotic smells, helping to associate education with a positive event.


No school trip would be complete without tasting a selection of the local food on offer.

A geography trip to Iceland is more likely to be remembered with a stop-off at Efstidalur, where students can gain an insight into Icelandic farm life right in the heart of the Golden Circle, and taste some of the country’s most famous ice cream.

Most people associate Italy with pizza, so the promise of a meal at an authentic Italian pizzeria is enough to get students excited about a trip.

In conclusion

The world is filled with endless opportunities to stimulate the five senses, and allows both students and teachers to realise that learning doesn’t have to be limited to the four walls of a classroom. There are thousands of ways to engage young people, and many teachers would agree that the benefits of a school trip abroad extend far beyond what you might think.

About the author

Danielle West works as a Marketing Coordinator at Rayburn Tours.

Based at Rayburn House in Derby, her role is to help inspire young people to seek new adventures, embrace new cultures and learn new skills.

Rayburn Tours is an independent, family-run business that has been dedicated to providing tailor-made, international tours for groups since 1965; specialising in Educational Trips, Ski Trips and Sports Tours for schools, as well as Concert Tours for all types of youth and adult ensembles.

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Try something different for your next school trip

Image: Scout Adventures

Blog post written by: Justine Lee, Communications and Fundraising Manager at the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

When you know a school trip works, it’s tempting to keep repeating it year after year – but there’s a whole world to explore out there, urges Justine Lee…

Your next school trip could be the most impactful educational experience your students will take part in this term, but it’s easy to fall into old habits when planning a programme. You had a great time last year, you know what to expect if you go back… and before you know it you have been going to the same venue for 10 years to do the exact same activity! Here are five ways you can make a change to what you do for your next learning outside the classroom (LOtC) session or school visit – without an unreasonable impact on your own workload:

1. Let your students lead
At its simplest level this could be asking learners where they would like to go to find out more about the topic being studied. At the other end of the spectrum you could involve them in planning the whole experience. Helping to plan and manage a school visit/ LOtC session can have enormous and lasting benefits for young people. Taking responsibility for themselves and others provides pupils with a sense of ownership. This approach has been found to improve engagement, confidence and attitude to working with others.

It also empowers young people and allows them to take control of their learning experience. After the session or visit, ask them to reflect on what happened and look at how they might do things differently next time.

2. Look for the badge
Breaking free from a regular annual trip means finding a new location or provider, checking insurance, risk assessments, health and safety and emergency policies, safeguarding… but don’t panic, because you can circumvent all this by choosing a LOtC Quality Badge holder. This accreditation is the only national award which endorses good quality education provision and effective risk management. Providers with this accreditation have been assessed and meet all the appropriate safety standards and liability insurance.

3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
A new venue or location also means a new lesson plan, new activities to develop. Take the pressure off and make use of the wealth of material available online. Many destinations offer resources for all ages and Key Stages, covering the whole curriculum. Packs usually include lesson plans, curriculum links, case studies, tips and recommendations, location/ setting ideas and activities. These will save you time and ensure your students enjoy an engaging and value-added LOtC session or visit. If you are using an external provider to help deliver the session, talk to them, too. They will have information sheets and activities along with examples of what they have done for other schools, and will know what works well. They will also be able to work with you to ensure the experience meets your desired learning outcomes.

About the Author
Justine Lee is Communications and Fundraising Manager at the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, which runs the LOtC Mark for schools, the LOtC Quality Badge for providers and venues, and CPD training for teachers.

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‘School trips disrupt learning’ and other educational travel myths

Studies have proven that learning outside the classroom has a positive effect on motivation and behaviour

Group travel specialists Rayburn Tours disprove some of the common beliefs regarding extra-curricular escapades.

When teachers begin planning a school trip, the road ahead can look like a daunting journey of red tape and flaming hoops, and the easiest escape is to refer to a ready-made list of excuses.
But travelling with students is not something that should be feared or avoided, especially when you realise that the level of enrichment far outweighs the potential stress.
Are educational tours as strenuous as you think?Below we’ve disproved some of the common beliefs regarding extra-curricular escapades.

School trips disrupt learning
Do school trips require time to be taken out of the classroom? Yes. But who’s to say all teaching has to happen in the classroom? Many teachers are beginning to recognise the value that the outside world can add to your students’ education.
Planet Earth is home to a plethora of sensory experiences, many of which lend themselves to different ways of learning. Those who don’t enjoy or engage with classroom learning may find themselves thriving in an environment where they can see, smell, feel and hear their lessons. It brings the curriculum to life and allows students to make a physical connection to the things they’ve been taught.
As well as exposing students to different cultures, authentic traditions and native languages, school trips can contribute to invaluable personal development including independence, social skills, career choices and a sense of responsibility.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that school trips, in fact, are learning.

School trips cost too much
But they don’t have to! The most important thing to consider when planning a trip is exactly what you want your students to gain from it, before you even start thinking about how to deliver the learning.
There are many ways to make your trip more cost-effective when taking students abroad, such as travelling by coach, staying in hostels and opting for free or low-cost excursions.
Travel with a reputable tour organiser who has expert knowledge of your chosen destination, and they will be able to tailor your itinerary to suit both your budget and your learning objectives.
Choose your timing wisely as certain times of year mean higher prices. Maintain as much communication as possible with parents – you may want to consider offering a payment plan over time or organising some fundraising activities in school to help pay for the trip.

School trips are a logistical headache
Again, they don’t have to be! There is an ongoing debate as to whether a DIY school trip is better than using a tour operator, but the reality is that those who book trips day-in day-out will have invaluable knowledge to share with you and guide you through the process, ensuring no important details are missed.
On the trip itself, many teachers find themselves wondering how they are going to deliver their subject curriculum in a completely different environment. Look into the resources that are available to you, for example hiring a field study tutor or a history tour guide, who can join your trip solely to teach your students according to your learning objectives. In fact, based on feedback received from teachers over the years, at Rayburn Tours we won’t plan a history trip without recommending a history tour guide for the group.

“Many teachers are beginning to recognise the value that the outside world can add to your students’ education”

School trips encourage bad behaviour
When taking students out of school it can be easy to become a lot stricter. You’re more on edge and always anticipating potential issues.Instead, try to see it as an adventure for your group. They’re being subjected to a different kind of stimulus and will be extremely curious. Studies have proven that learning outside the classroom has a positive effect on motivation and behaviour.
Adventure and physical challenges allow students to expel their energy and apply their knowledge and skills in a different way. Similarly, having access to the arts can stimulate an emotional and thoughtful reaction, therefore making learning a lot more engaging.
Make fun high on your agenda and focus on the opportunities to be had.

School trips won’t benefit a teacher’s career
The term ‘extra-curricular’ is always associated with more time and therefore more work, so to add to the load of a teacher’s already packed schedule can seem counterproductive.
Think about the passion you have for your subject and how an increased uptake at choices stage will reflect positively on you. The relationships you have with your students will become more solid, making for a less stressful experience when back in the classroom. Not only that, you will have a deeper understanding of the way your students like to learn and can therefore encourage a more committed attitude towards education.
A school trip is your chance to learn and show your skills as much as it is your students’. See it as a development opportunity and an unmissable experience, rather than a time wasting nuisance!

About the author

Danielle West works as a Marketing Coordinator at Rayburn Tours.

Based at Rayburn House in Derby, her role is to help inspire young people to seek new adventures, embrace new cultures and learn new skills.

Rayburn Tours is an independent, family-run business that has been dedicated to providing tailor-made, international tours for groups since 1965; specialising in Educational Trips, Ski Trips and Sports Tours for schools, as well as Concert Tours for all types of youth and adult ensembles.

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Learning Beyond the Classroom with Literacy Inspired Outdoor Education

Blog post written by: Kate Heap, Primary English Specialist from Leeds.

There is so much scope for imagination when children are given opportunities to learn beyond the four walls of their classroom and explore the wider world through outdoor learning.

The Michael Morpurgo novel, Kensuke’s Kingdom, is an engaging story which can be linked to many fantastic cross-curricular units in Upper Key Stage Two. “Journeys”, “The South Pacific”, “Exploring the Word” and “Survival” are just some of the exciting possibilities. In this book, ten-year-old Michael embarks on a sailing adventure with his parents. As they cross the South Pacific, they are caught in a storm and Michael falls overboard. The remainder of the story follows his quest for survival and rescue.

A number of years ago, my Year 6 class included many children for whom English was an additional language and who had never had the experience of being out on the water in a boat of any kind. I knew they may struggle with the vocabulary and concepts of Kensuke’s Kingdom. In response to this challenge, we decided to take the children to our local sailing club for a day of sailing experiences, vocabulary development and survival role play. It has since become a regular (and popular) part of the school’s Year 6 Literacy plans.

Our aims:

    • give children an experience of sailing to support their understanding of the novel Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
    • help children to develop empathy for the main character, Michael
    • develop vocabulary around sailing, ocean, weather, island, survival
    • teach children the basic needs for survival
    • develop team-building and personal resilience at the beginning of Year 6

During the day, the children took part in three sessions. They were given a booklet to enhance their understanding of the various activities and to hold any notes and sketches.

The first activity was sailing itself. This was incredibly empowering for the children. Many were nervous but once they were out on the water, the freedom and joy they found was amazing. Their confidence, pride and sense of teamwork flourished. The sailing centre staff made a greatly appreciated effort to read the book ahead of time and strived to use as much vocabulary from the story as possible. They chatted with the children throughout the experience and referenced the story as often as they could. The children came away with an in depth, practical understanding of the sailing and marine elements of the book which was invaluable.

Their second activity was a survival role play. Using extracts from Kensuke’s Kingdom, the children imagined they had been washed up on a beach. As they lay on the ground at the side of the water with their eyes closed, they took in the sounds, smells and feelings of the shore. Listening to the story being read aloud, the children slowly opened their eyes to see nothing but sky and then slowly got up to take in their surroundings. A discussion about basics needs for survival helped to focus the group on their priorities for exploring the nearby trees. They worked in small groups to role play a search for food, water, shelter and fire building. At the end of this session, they made brief notes in their booklets in preparation for a “Recipe for Survival” to be written back at school – more advanced instructional writing to add to their range of genres.

Finally, the children took part in a vocabulary and poetry session on the shore. With a focus on being intentional and specific with their word choices, the children sat quietly to take in their environment. The adults encouraged them to jot down a wide variety of words, thinking about nouns, verb, adjectives and adverbs linked to water, waves, wind, weather and sky. The group then developed their understanding of abstract nouns and figurative language, thinking about possible themes for shape poetry based on sailing and the sea. Using examples in their booklet, the children experimented with lines of poetry in the shape of sailboats, waves and the wind which they continued and improved once they were back at school.

Linking Literacy with OAA (Outdoor and Adventurous Activities) was more successful than we could ever have imagined. The empowerment of adventure, the depth of the conversations and the focus on team-building as the children worked together on something completely new contributed to love for fantastic novel, respect for the outdoors and elements of survival, and inspired the children to write with rich language and detail. Every child, especially those with EAL (English as an additional language) or who had lower Literacy skills, progressed and surpassed our expectations.

I encourage every teacher to look for OAA links in their Literacy units. Thinking beyond the classroom helps to create a meaningful, vibrant and engaging curriculum that is memorable and inspiring for our students.

For more information, you may wish to visit the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom website.

Credits: Thank you to Farsley Farfield Primary School and Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre.

About the author

Kate is an experienced Primary English Specialist from Leeds. She is passionate about helping children to be inspired by their learning through adventure and imagination. She is skilled in supporting colleagues in their professional development, creating meaningful cross-curricular English plans and linking English objectives, lessons and resources to the rigorous Key Stage Two assessment requirements.
Kate is also an author for teachers with her book, Classics for Key Stage Two, to be published in 2020.
Read more from Kate on her blog: and follow her on Twitter (@KateHeap1).

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