How school trip prices have parents fuming
Of all the potential costs incurred by parents through the course of the school year, school trips or outings are among those most likely to catch them out.
According to a recent survey, commissioned by the National Consumer Agency, almost half of the parents (49pc) asked have previously had to make an unforeseen payment in relation to costs for the new school year. For almost three in five of the group, this unforeseen or unexpected cost was in relation to school trips or outings. Most schools will organise school trips or outings of some kind or another, but many parents and teachers are openly wondering whether the more expensive overseas trips are worth it, particularly in today's economic climate.
According to one of the largest school trip travel agents, Budget School and Group Tours (BSGT), which is now owned by the student travel company USIT, the most popular destinations for overseas trips include London, Paris, Barcelona, the Rhineland, Rome and even New York.
Even for day trips, some primary schools are apparently asking for up to €60 for end-of-year outings to places like adventure parks. This occurrence had some parents fuming on magicmum.com.
Steve Goode, a childcare consultant, says: "Children spend too long in school and they should spend more time visiting places in their communities at little cost to parents."
But the cost of school trips still causes much debate among parents, particularly now as financial pressures take their toll.
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation confirmed that a number of schools over the past two years didn't organise school trips to avoid putting additional financial burden on parents.
Keith Darcy, a teacher of Spanish at Drimnagh Castle CBS in Walkinstown, Dublin, has been involved in a number of school trips in the past, including Paris, Barcelona, Germany, Amsterdam, Andalusia and Alton Towers.
"I don't believe that school trips are particularly beneficial for students," he says. "While students' cultural knowledge is enhanced, the trips are very expensive and I don't believe that they get value for money."
Irish Independent Supplement