My former Lancashire high school is in the news this week as parents are up in arms at the price of a student trip to the US - totalling up to the best part of two grand.
Now amazing as this multi-centre American dream of a escapade sounds (and schooltravel IS always educational if not generally due to the art galleries) I do think the price tag is quite astonishing. I’m sure every parent would love their little darlings to enjoy the experience but as that much money could possibly buy several very nice family holidays, the deposit on a swishy car (or an actual car)or call me old fashioned - several months food -it is understandable if they balk.
Life is not easy for parents anyway but money aside it is an unfair position to put them in. Having to tell a child ‘no’ is hard enough at the best of times. Many parents may give in and say yes - putting themselves under significant financial pressure that is entirely unbudgeted.
School uniforms were introduced to make sure school pupils were not just smart but equals - a premise that works well. A trip like this could be incredibly divisive.
Of course, the concept of school trips is not a bad one - many an early memory is made. I myself went on a few with the school - to Whitby and skiing in Austria - the latter very much of the coach travelling budget variety in borrowed gear rather than the VIP experience. I was a shy child and those trips - my first without my family - were a great chance to build confidence outside the school confines - even if I was just watching the popular gang from afar.
But I know that even those fairly modest trips stretched my parents finances and I told how lucky I was.
I’m sure some amazingly lucky young people will get to experience this expensive trip. But I’m absolutely sure that their lasting memories will be the boy or girl they fancy, escapades with their friends, being the one who threw up mid-travel and how they hoodwinked their teachers. For which Whitby would suffice.