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Compulsory Field Trips

Discussion in 'Science' started by Macon, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. One of my children has been told that residential biology field trips at AS are compulsory and that you must attend. Now I can understand a department encouraging attendance, but are field trip a mandatory part of the course?
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Not sure about AS but I know that our geography GCSE involves a field trip which whilst not compulsory will reduce the mark of any child that didn't go on it.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I believe some biology courses do have components which are best taken following a field trip.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    We aren't allowed to say trips are compulsary but I wish we were (we only do day trips currently).
    The few students who don't go can't move on with the others, need to be coached individually about what they have missed and are generally a pain in the bum. They are never the high fliers oddly enough. If your child's school has said this, then please take it seriously, it will be to their detriment if they don't go.
  5. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    For OCR Biology, one third of the practical coursework is fieldwork based. We do the AS coursework on site but the A2 parts during a field trip. The trip is not compulsory but studnets not going miss out on a chunk of the coursework in which it is easier to achieve the higher marks. If the school does make it compulsory then it can not expect parents to pay (assuming it is a state maintained school)
  6. Thank you for your informative replies.
  7. It is best to go on the field trip for AS & A2 biology. There will be activites set up for the coursework which could be up to 20% of the final mark.
    If a pupil does not go on the trip they may get a lower mark for this section of the syllabus AND they are likely to spend more time on it.
    Field trips are not 'parties'. The pupils actually work and, for those interested in the subject, it can give them a feel for the sorts of real activites that biologists gets up to.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    As A levels are elective did the school explain to students that there would be a compulsory field trip before they opted for the course? If the school did this and then the kids choose not to go then they are agreeing to have their marks restricted.
  9. It is a harsh economic climate out there and I certainly would not be able to afford to send my children on field trips because I have been forced to work in minimum wage jobs because schools will not pay a proper wage for supply teachers. I am afraid you can't just say it is going to be to the detriment of the students that do not go on a field trip, you as the teacher are going to have to do something about it rather than just say it's the parent's fault for being poor. Contrary to the beliefs of Daily Mail readers you do not become workshy and feckless when you lose your job. There is a lot less money out there and to discriminate against students from poor families, by not making extra efforts as a teacher to level the playing field, is not acceptable.
  10. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    If the field trip is an essential part of the A level, then it has to happen, but field work does not have to involve residential trips to far flung national parks. Few schools are more than 10 miles from nature reserves and field work can be done on carefully planned day trips.
  11. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    However as I said earlier. A levels are elective and by choosing them you choose whatever they entail. Schools normally have a hardship fund (well mine does) where we can, when circumstances demand, subsidise the costs of some trips.

    I don't know where you rant has come from but no-one on here has said that parents are workshy or feckless. However in many cases you sometimes have to question parents priorities.
  12. The 'rant' has come from the fact that as an M6 supply teacher schools and agencies because of cover supervisors and AWR do not employ me. Then I have the school telling me that I need deep pockets if I send my children to this school. My eldest in year 7 received about a third of her teaching from unqualified people, cover supervisors and students, and I still have to spend my spare time after 9 hours at work in a minimum wage job making up for the school's failing (despite being described by OFSTED as good to outstanding). I am fully entitled to my rant my children suffer in their basic education and then are expected by complacent teachers to go on a compulsory course!
  13. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    A compulsory course in an elective subject! You elect for the subject you elect for the course!
  14. u16jag

    u16jag New commenter

    Surely that would depend on the cost. I run a lot of out of school activities and many of them are completely free. A current example is a six day canoeing and hiking exepdition for this summer. The cost do do this through a comercial company would be about £850 plus, the cost to our kids will be about £70 and I have funds to remove that cost altogether if it is a barrier to students participating. I can do this because four staff members, who have a lot of expedition experience and qualifications, are prepared to give up a week of their summer holiday, the LEA will lend us a minibus, canoes etc and the school has paid for a store of tents and other outdoor equipment. It's taken many hours of negotiation to put this package together and I've put all that time in specifically so that kids like yours can participate. The only barrier is that they need to attend a substantial amount of training first (which is all offered free of charge and includes two weekends of outdoor activities and a series of after school sessions).
    I spend a lot of time finding funding to open opportunities to students from all backgrounds and parents who automatically say their kids can't go without coming to me to find out if I can help first are simply denying their children valuable educational and developmental experiences. Lack of funds is not a barrier to students participating in any of the visits, expeditions or fieldwork activities that I organise. Sadly, an attitude like yours is a barrier and prevents some students from ever applying to participate in these activities. Even more sadly, these are often the very students who will not have these experiences outside of school where they cost vastly more money.
    A fieldtrip should be looked on as an opportunity, not a burden. If there are any issues, talk to the school and see if they can help. The original poster doesn't say what the issue is, but there can often be negotiation around costs, dates, accomodation, activities and even locations of the fieldwork if concerns are raised early on. Any issues relating to disability or special learning needs should already have been considered, but again they should be discussed with the school if you have any concerns.
  15. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    With the removal of EMA all schools have bursaries to allow access to trips / resources for use in cases of hardship. If you can not afford the trip then you will need to contact the school to find out how to apply for one.
  16. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Speaking as a teacher who is currently on an AS/A2 residential field trip in the most south-west tip of Wales (next step Venezuela) I can vouch for that.
    Out students are working incredibly hard and walking miles each day in somewhat incelement weather. It's no picnic, that's for sure, but they are learning so much. For the AS students it's introducing them to the ecology part of the A2 syllabus (which I will be teaching them after the AS exams) and teaching them the statistical tests needed for A2 ISAs. For the A2s it's highly valuable revision of the entire ecology topic.
    For me...........it's bloody hard work!

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