A survey conducted by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has revealed that cuts to school trips in England are hitting children in poorer areas the hardest. The survey found that since 2012, spending on such activities has dropped by 36% across all schools – but those in deprived communities have been most affected.
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The survey of more than 1,000 primary and secondary schools found that expenditure had fallen twice as fast in the most disadvantaged areas compared with more affluent ones. It also saw a significant drop in educational visits for pupils from low-income backgrounds, with fewer than one in three (29%) making any trip outside their local area last year, compared with almost half (43%) of pupils from better-off areas.
John Fowler, a research director at the Education Policy Institute and author of the report, said it was “troubling” that pupils from deprived backgrounds were missing out on experiences that could help them develop important life skills.
He said: “It is very concerning that schools with more disadvantaged students tend to use fewer educational visits, not least for reasons related to their resources. This means children in these schools will likely miss out on experiences such as learning about different cultures, developing team-building skills or expanding their knowledge of science and history outside the classroom.”
The report concludes by calling for an urgent review into how best to ensure that all pupils have access to such opportunities – regardless of their background. It also urges the government to invest more in educational visits to ensure that schools provide these experiences for all children.
We must ensure every child has access to learning opportunities outside of the classroom, and this report is a wake-up call to take action now. We must take steps to close this opportunity gap and ensure no young person misses out on life-enriching experiences due to their background or circumstances. The government must invest more in school trips if we are serious about providing equal opportunities for all students in England.
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