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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:27 am 
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I am sure I have posted on here about this before but we went hiking in Iceland as a family a few years ago and while we were there we encountered several school parties from the UK. My children were really shocked to see the lack of engagement by many of the young people, who were, for example, standing round looking bored at the geyser, mostly noses in phones; sitting down on the walkway at a frozen waterfall because they 'couldn't be ***ed' to walk to it; and in one case when we stayed a night in Reykjavik, tearing, screaming and shouting, round a hotel keeping everyone awake into the small hours. I actually went and asked some girls which school they were from and threatened to call their Head Teacher if they didn't shut up - it turned out to be a very expensive girls' school in London.

I also reminded them that their parents had probably paid more for one of them to go there than I had paid for the whole family and they would not be delighted to know what they were doing (trying to wake up boys from a far more soberly behaved party which was also at the hotel, and also one of my sons! :shock: ). It did turn quite amusing because their teachers got them out of bed at about 5am to see the Northern Lights which were displaying in the sky. Somewhat pitifully they were trying to film it on their phones while shivering in the street in teeny pyjamas.

Anyway, a friend whose child also went to Iceland on a school trip told me that said child was 'surprised' not to find any relevant questions on the GCSE paper. I was more surprised that my friend was surprised, to be honest. Come on, think about it - kids from all over the country and from all backgrounds take these exams. Some parents (like me!) won't pay for the trips; many, many others can't pay for them. How could they make a mark dependent upon a trip? They can't.

And all that said, I think it is not worth this level of worry. Please just ask. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:58 am 
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BucksBornNBred wrote:
My DS loves history and is interested in taking the GCSE history course but, for various reasons, is unwilling to go on the residential trip in Yr11 (this may change but I am not confident of that).

Will he be allowed to do this GCSE course without doing the residential? We have an options evening soon so I just wanted to find out if it is feasible to do the course without the residential bit. I have read that they might miss part of the curriculum if they don't do the residential but I can't believe that is right or fair.

Any guidance would be appreciated. Many thanks.


I am aware that the new AQA GCSE history course for first examination from 2018 gives the opportunity to study history in the field.In the unit e.g on Elizabethan England the historic environment of the time will be studied to illuminate how people lived at the time,how they were governed and their beliefs and values.The site will change each year and may include Tudor manor houses,theatres and wider historic environments such as villages,towns and cities.This will require a trip either a a day trip or possibly more than one or two days.The questions have to be asked of the school on the syllabus that is being taken.

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:52 pm 
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I have checked further on the AQA specification on the section on historical enquiry and its quite clear on their website there is no requirement in actually having to visit the historical site.

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:50 pm 
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Thank you so much for all your replies; they have all been very helpful. I am going to speak with the teachers on options day (so not afraid!) but I just wanted some opinions/facts before I meet the teachers! It may be that DS will be happy to go on the trip in 2 years time but I wanted to cover my bases, if you see what I mean. From all your responses I can see that he can take History without being worried about a residential, so thank you all so much :-)

PS I have not told DS about this worry of mine so it is only me that is having sleepless nights!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:02 am 
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Amber wrote:
And all that said, I think it is not worth this level of worry. Please just ask. :)

Thank you for a lovely anecdote. I am not really worrying, I just want to know the facts before I face the teachers. I hate to go into battle unprepared ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:12 am 
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Dd is going on one of "those" trips to Iceland this year for geography. Before she started the GCSE it seemed as though there would be an expectation (though not mandatory) that students would go. That has definitely not been the case - in fact there are not even enough places had everyone wanted to go.
I hope that her experience will be nothing like the one you describe Amber :shock: We said at the start of her schooling that we would pay for one trip to a value of £x *and right from the beginning she was desperate to go to Iceland. The only countries in the world she really wants to visit are Iceland and Russia so hopefully she'll make the most of it.
I'm sure it absolutely won't be an issue BBB - dd is doing history and their only trip is to the East End for a Jack the Ripper tour!

*DS has already asked for this in money for savings - he's another who would not be keen to go on a school trip (unless he could absolutely guarantee who else was going maybe but even then I think he'd rather gnaw his feet off....)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:24 am 
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BucksBornNBred wrote:
Thank you so much for all your replies; they have all been very helpful. I am going to speak with the teachers on options day (so not afraid!) but I just wanted some opinions/facts before I meet the teachers! It may be that DS will be happy to go on the trip in 2 years time but I wanted to cover my bases, if you see what I mean. From all your responses I can see that he can take History without being worried about a residential, so thank you all so much :-)

PS I have not told DS about this worry of mine so it is only me that is having sleepless nights!


BBB - I honestly think it would be better to tackle this beforehand. Options Evening can be quite busy and the teacher might appreciate you contacting them now, say how keen your son is to do History but ....


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:46 am 
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loobylou wrote:
Dd is going on one of "those" trips to Iceland this year for geography. Before she started the GCSE it seemed as though there would be an expectation (though not mandatory) that students would go. That has definitely not been the case - in fact there are not even enough places had everyone wanted to go.
I hope that her experience will be nothing like the one you describe Amber :shock: We said at the start of her schooling that we would pay for one trip to a value of £x *and right from the beginning she was desperate to go to Iceland. The only countries in the world she really wants to visit are Iceland and Russia so hopefully she'll make the most of it.

I'm sure she will. Her instincts are sound and Iceland is the best country ever if you love the outdoors, amazing natural landscapes etc. We did it all ourselves, and including car hire, 6 days there cost us just a shade over what my friend paid for her daughter to go on a school trip - for 5 of us. I know it is too late for you now LL, but I would so recommend going as a family. The school trips confine themselves to a few predictable (but still amazing, don't get me wrong) 'sights', but one of the great things about Iceland (well the whole of Scandinavia really) is that you can wander and hike wherever you like (allmansrett - translated as 'freedom to roam') and Iceland is so full of amazing scenery and so relatively empty of people that you can see some breathtaking stuff which you don't have to share with other tourists and groups of English schoolchildren!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:56 pm 
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We went to Iceland as a family last summer and had a great time (with some g she geography revision fitted in :lol: )

We fitted hoards in but still only scratched the surface.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:30 pm 
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Amber wrote:
We did it all ourselves, and including car hire, 6 days there cost us just a shade over what my friend paid for her daughter to go on a school trip - for 5 of us.


That doesn't surprise me. Why are school trips so darned expensive these days?

When I was young my parents couldn't afford family holidays abroad, but they did manage to send us on a couple of foreign school trips which tended to be good value and a bit more affordable.

These days, as you say it seems like it can cost almost as much to send one child on a foreign school trip as it can for a whole family to have a similar holiday. And from what I can see these expensive school trips still seem to be done "on the cheap". Overnight coach travel rather than flying if at all possible, basic accommodation with 5 or 6 to a room, shared bathrooms, basic food etc. And large group bookings would normally get a reasonable discount wouldn't they?

So where is all the money going? Are the companies who organize them just making a huge profit?


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