5 things parents need on a school trip

Hooray, the child is going on a school trip! It is usually in 8th grade at the latest and the child travels with their class for several days. Not only because it is the first trip without parents for many children, parents have their heads full of questions and concerns during their first class trip. Can my child consume alcohol or drugs while traveling? What if my child misses me? How expensive is a school trip?

1. Costs and financing

How expensive will a school trip be and who can help me finance it?

In general, it is important for the school and teachers to make it possible for every child to take a class trip, as this is a school event that is required in the curriculum. Teachers therefore take into account the financial resources of their class right from the planning stage. Should a school trip nevertheless exceed the financial resources of a family, there are a number of funding opportunities that are offered by teachers in advance.

Possibility of payment in installments

School trips are always announced very early so that parents have the opportunity to arrange an installment payment. Teachers should already offer this in their parents' letter.

Financial support from the school's own funds

Most schools have their own support association, which can support parents whose financial resources are insufficient. There is also funding from the Higher School Office, which can be requested.

Education and participation benefit

Parents who receive housing benefit or the child allowance are entitled to benefits for education and participation. The corresponding application is submitted to the city, municipality or district. The application can also be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour. Education and participation benefits also apply when receiving unemployment benefit II, but they also offer parents who are generally able to cover the daily costs of their child the opportunity to subsidize a school trip.

2. Obligation to supervise

Who has the duty of supervision during a school trip? 

At least two teachers are assigned for a school trip; the recommendation is that a female and a male teacher should accompany the class trip so that there is a contact person for all children. During a school trip, parents delegate their supervisory duties to the teachers for the duration of the trip. This can be agreed in writing in advance, but it doesn't have to be, as it is a school event.

Individual rules for class travel are set by teachers. In general, however, there are rules that children must abide by. For example, rules are set in a youth hostel and cannot be negotiated individually by teachers or parents. Of course, the Child Protection Act also applies on a school trip.

Things such as alcohol consumption in particular play a role in children's lives from a certain age and may cause parents concern. Teachers can also set individual rules regarding alcohol consumption, but parents cannot expect that their rules applicable at home will necessarily be implemented on school trips. All rules apply in general to all children and young people who take part in the school trip. However, the Youth Protection Act is also decisive with regard to alcohol. This allows young people aged 16 and over to buy and consume beer and “light” spirits. Younger kids don't.

Can my child be sent home?

It is the task of teachers to set rules depending on the situation and context. Whether a child is finally sent home if the rules are broken is also at the discretion of the supervising teacher. However, this is usually only practiced in cases of really serious violations of the rules. Even if the student has no insight and there are therefore repeated violations.

In general, supervising teachers have the right to send a student home and parents are required to pick up their child when this is reasonable.

3. Food/medicines/allergies

My child has allergies or is a vegetarian, will this be taken into account during a school trip?

Most children have their likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to food, but religious regulations can also play a role in eating. How is this handled on a school trip?

In general, not all preferences or dislikes regarding food can be taken into account during a school trip. Meals are usually booked at a youth hostel. However, when choosing the food, it is usually possible to comply with religious guidelines or vegetarianism. Otherwise, children and young people also have the opportunity to buy their own food. However, allergies must be considered. For this reason, all parents are given a questionnaire on which they can and should note allergies. ALL allergic reactions are important and MUST be listed to rule out a risk to the child. Even if the child himself knows that he or she is allergic to peanuts, for example, and avoids them, peanuts could be included in an Asian meal. If the teacher is informed, she can and will pay attention to it.

Can the supervising teacher give my child medication?

Information about medications that must be administered regularly or in emergency situations is also extremely important and is requested in advance. Allergy remedies, asthma spray, Ritalin, the list of urgently needed medications is long. In general, teachers are not allowed to administer medication, but individual arrangements with parents are possible. Which means talk to teachers. If teachers and legal guardians agree in advance of medication administration, this is legal.

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4. Media consumption and home contact

It is important for many parents to keep an eye on their child's media consumption and, if necessary, to limit it. It is important for parents to also offer their children “real” experiences, otherwise the children and young people would “just hang on their cell phones.”

But what is it like on a school trip? How is media consumption handled and how can the child make contact with home?

Can the teacher remove my child's cell phone?

The supervising teacher on a school trip may well impose a mobile phone ban. This is possible with regard to rules, which may also be signed by parents. However, most teachers will not do this today. The distraction caused by a cell phone is annoying, but the children are in an unknown city and mobile phone use is almost indispensable today, especially for navigation and use of public transport. And every teacher would also like to make part of the class trip available for free. Here, all children should arrive safely at the meeting point and, if necessary, have the opportunity to contact the teacher.

Teachers supervising a school trip will therefore also determine the use of mobile phones through rules that are also communicated with parents.

What if my child is homesick?

For some children, a school trip is their first trip without their parents. Most have already stayed with friends, but many children have never had several days without parents before. But even with children who have already done something without their parents, there is a concern among parents: What if the child gets homesick? Especially when cell phone use is prohibited or regulated, children cannot easily make contact with their homes. But parents must also relinquish control and therefore security.

Here, it is advisable to talk to the supervising teacher and provide information if your own child is prone to homesickness. Homesickness is usually only a brief, situational feeling that can be overcome at least 10 years of age. For children aged 10 and over, it is no longer necessary to have them picked up; teachers can help the child endure the feeling. If parents have tips and advice on how to help their child get through the situation, teachers and parents can work together effectively and together provide the child with a pleasant school trip.

5. Transfer of knowledge

Will my child only party with their friends on the class trip?

Since a school trip is a school activity, but parents know their children very well, especially during adolescence, questions can also arise here. Even many students assume during a school trip that they can finally have a lot of time with their friends and have fun without parental control.

However, a school trip is a school event that places emphasis on meeting the curriculum as well.

However, this can and should take place much more freely and unconventionally on a class trip. There is no need to hold frontal lessons, but the children are given the opportunity to acquire knowledge independently and with pleasure.

Most teachers use the following rule when planning their class trip: one third education, one third group dynamic activity, one third free time. In this way, everyone's needs are met in the best possible way.

Even though every parent or guardian has very individual questions during their first school trip, I hope that some of them could be answered here. Further concerns and questions are generally best answered in an individual conversation with the teacher or at parents' evening on the school trip.

A school trip is definitely an experience that is possible for every child and should be creatively designed with passion.