Taking Students Abroad: Preparing a Proposal for the Principal

Do you want to take a school group abroad?

One of the first steps that you’ll need to take is to prepare a proposal for the principal and school board. They are the people who will either give your trip a thumbs up or down; and only with their approval can you start to organise your school trip abroad.

Taking students abroad has a certain amount of responsibility intertwined; yourself, the school and the trip provider could be liable for any disasters that occur due to negligence. Furthermore, student and parent satisfaction is a crucial consideration. You don’t want students feeling like the trip was a waste of their time and parents thinking that money has been wasted.

So naturally, the principal and school board will have a lot of questions to ask about your proposed school trip. Some questions that may be raised when the proposal is pitched include:

What safety precautions will be made to ensure that the trip abroad is safe for students?

How will the trip be education focused and worth taking students out of school?

How will the students enjoy the trip?

Will parents be able to afford to pay for their children to go on the trip?

What other responsible adults will go on the trip?

 How will the booking and administration of the trip work?

Process of Pitching

The process of pitching depends on your school set up and relationship with the principal, but should involve contacting the principal to initiate the idea of the trip, then organising a time for the pitch.

In preparation for the pitch, organise a presentation and handout with brief notes.

Some things to include in your presentation are:

  • Details about where your trip will be
  • Why this is a great place for the students
  • Who the trip is for
  • Suggested travel agents
  • How much it will cost
  • Which accompanying adults will go on the trip
  • How you will stay organised in the run up to the trip
  • Safety procedures for the trip

Common reasons for a trip proposal being declined include:

  • The safety measures aren’t strict enough
  • It doesn’t seem like the students will get enough educational benefit and the students will not enjoy it
  • It is not feasible to take a group of students to the destination.

To avoid your school trip being rejected, make sure you have prepared an answer to the following questions:.

How will the trip be safe for students?

Safety is likely to be the principal’s biggest concern. Make sure your pitch draws a strong emphasis on the safety measures of your accommodation, transport measures etc. and the general safety situation of the country you are visiting.

Parents are unlikely to want children to go to countries that have had recent terrorist threats or natural disasters – even if there’s the same chance of these kind of things occurring on home turf. Make sure to check www.smarttraveller.gov.au for advice specific to your chosen destination – and include your findings within your pitch.

When interviewing travel providers, make sure to gather all the answers you need in terms of safety. This means getting information from the hotel about their specific health and safety measures for school groups and researching reputable transport providers to make sure that their drivers are responsible. If a tour operator is vague about their safety procedures, it probably means that they’re not right for your school trip.

Similarly, make sure that the airline you use has an impeccable recent safety record.

How will the trip be education focused?

The principal will definitely want to know this – the trip has got to be worth taking students out of school, after all! Start with some facts about the benefits of school trips in general and then continue to discuss how your school trip in particular will help the students.

Mention how this destination will provide the students with valuable hands-on experience, give them a chance to learn about their topic in a different way and explore associated concepts with the ones that they’ve already learnt in class.

If you know anyone or any companies that have done the same trip in the past, try to seek out some reviews or thoughts about the trip and how it helped the students.

Is it a feasible trip and will the students enjoy it?

Most students will enjoy a school trip just because it’s something different and exciting. It involves leaving Australia and travelling to somewhere new where they may not have been before.

However, it needs to be stressed to the students that the school trip is not a holiday – and your job is to make sure that they enjoy the trip despite this fact!

The principal and school board may ask you questions such as:

Will the children enjoy the activities?

Will they take well to this new way of learning and is their leisure time included?

Make sure you also have concise details about the cost of the trip and whether you can offer a payment plan to parents, the flight distances and facilities for the students when they are at the destination.

What will you do if any problems arise?

Problems are likely to occur on a school trip abroad – but with careful planning, you should be able to make sure the only issues are minor. The principal and school board will probably enquire as to what problems could happen, and what are your strategies for dealing with it.

Minor problems include: a student being temporarily separated from the group, homesickness, arguments between students or a student behaving inappropriately. Make sure you have a plan for each of these scenarios and have them ready to demonstrate to the principal if you are asked in the pitch.

When Pitching

During your pitch, remember to take your time, breathe deeply and speak slowly, stopping often to ask if there are any questions. Relax and smile – the planning of your first school trip abroad has begun!


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