School Journeys

‘Travel is part of Education’, Bacon – this is quoted on the first page of this leaflet and sums up the premise of the purpose of school journeys – to educate the pupils and expand their horizons. 

Schools Journeys leaflet, NUWT Collection Ref UWT/D/70B/2, ©Institute of Education Archive

This leaflet is one of three included with a folder of correspondence marked ‘School Journeys’.  This leaflet pictured here includes a history of the school journeys movement, noting that they first received official sanction in 1900, although only for one-day trips.  By 1930, the year this leaflet was published, schools in the London County Council area undertook 480 school journeys.

Map showing locations of school journeys abroad, NUWT Collection Ref UWT/D/70B/2, ©Institute of Education Archive

There were many more school journeys taken within the UK than abroad but it is some of the descriptions of the trips abroad that are most entertaining to read now.  The other publications include pupils accounts of their trips abroad.  There were many more school journeys taken within the UK than abroad but it is some of the descriptions of the trips abroad that are most entertaining to read now.  One boy, from Westcliff High School for boys, talks about a trip to Paris and Rouen and recounts that they rode in a char-a-banc in the countryside around Rouen, that he thought Paris ‘tainted with novelty and artificiality’ and preferred Rouen, and that he found the driving in Paris made being a pedestrian very scary! I’ve never been to Rouen and I’m sure it’s lovely, but really Paris ‘tainted with novelty’, how can a young boy be so serious! Though it’s funny to read descriptions of the scariness of  Paris driving from a pedestrian viewpoint – things haven’t changed much there!

A girl from George Watson’s Ladies College in Edinburgh talks about the food on a trip to Germany.  She describes the one-pot stew dishes in non-committal tones and explains that although coffee was available for breakfast there get hot water and make their own tea as ‘German tea is for us undrinkable – as our coffee is for Germans’.

The School Journeys Association provided a mens of protection, support, and assistance for teachers and for the organising of school trips.  They provided reduced insurance rates for teachers in the case of a claim for compensation, they provided reduced railway tickets for school parties, lists of recommended centres, and legal advice amongst other things. 

I remember loving my primary school trips – to the Robert Burns centre in Ayrshire, to the Wallace Monument, Bannockburn, and a week-long trip to Aviemore.  I didn’t go on any trips in high school though, not that I can remember, which is the opposite to those described here in the 1920s – 1950s which were much more focussed on secondary school age children than primary.  Thinking back to those trips it was some feat of organisation taking that many children away for the day, or for a week, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the parents (usually mum’s) who voluntarily accompanied us.  They really were fun, and educational too, so this folder has made me appreciate the work of these early pioneers of school journey’s in the late 1920s.

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One thought on “School Journeys

  1. there’s another account of a school journey written by Becky over at the Newsam News blog from the records of the British Families Education Service of a trip to Koln.

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