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Key Stage 2 Trip to London by train

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Brommie, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. Brommie

    Brommie New commenter

    We are taking four classes to the British Museum next term, approximately 100 children. We were hoping to use ‘Kids for a Quid’ but I’m concerned that we won’t all get on the train and we can’t reserve seats. Does anyone have any experience of taking a group this size on the train to a London and any advice to make it run smoothly. Obviously we will be going up to complete a Risk Assessment. Thanks
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    When we went with that number we hired 2/3 coaches.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Ring the train company in advance and ask their advice.
    Although we can't reserve seats as such GWR sometimes will close a carriage or so at the stations before where the school want to get on.

    Have lots of adults and talk to the children beforehand.
    It's worth it financially, but is hard work.
    Lalad likes this.
  4. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    sounds amazing! Do it! All these things are hard work, but I have never regretted doing this sort of thing. Being on public transport actually makes it more memorable for the children too.
  5. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Excellent advice.

    Definitely ring the train company - they can, and usually will, put on an extra carriage but they need to know well in advance so that the rolling stock is in the right place the night before.
  6. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    How does kids for a quid work? Do you need a certain number of full fare adults?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    We took our entire school on the train, 80 pupils and all the staff! You can reserve seats - we had two whole carriages reserved for us.

    It will be a great experience and the children will love it.
    hammie and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  8. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Assign a small group of children to each adult. Every adult needs to be fully briefed on the route and itinerary. The adult is responsible for that group of children for the whole journey. This means that if all the best laid plans go awry or you are using the tube (where you would all be in different carriages or might not all fit on the train) the adult in charge can make the best decision for that small group of children and make sure they end up safely at the destination.
    You need to have a clearly agreed meeting point in case you do get split up on the journey.
    Will each adult have a mobile phone and will everyone have the numbers of those phones?
    Have you done the journey and been to the museum yourself so you are aware of any possible problems? I guess this depends on where you are travelling from, but if you can I would advise it.
    It’s a fascinating museum. Have a great day!
    hammie and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Excellent, practical advice from @ViolaClef there. :D
    hammie and ViolaClef like this.
  10. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Excellent advice from violaclef and caterpillartobutterfly. We have often taken large groups on the train (we're in London and kids travel free) and always ring the train company beforehand. If it's a large group, I also go down to our local station to talk directly to them - let them know what time we'll be arriving, what train we want to catch and if there are any special needs such as a wheelchair. They've always been very helpful.
    My granddaughter's primary school actually charter a train for a day in the summer term and take the whole school to the seaside. They're a two form entry, and they take any parents and grandparents who want to come too! I can't imagine the logistics or how it works - I know I'd be terrified of losing a child - but they've been doing it for many years and it's very successful.
  11. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    sounds totally amazing!
    digoryvenn and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. asnac

    asnac Established commenter

    Where we are, train is the only realistic option to London as the coach travel time is so unreliable due to commuter traffic and motorway hold-ups

    I've done the BM with 30-odd but never with 100. As others say, with such a number you would be best alerting the train company. I did find our local station staff were highly proactive, and made sure we were all positioned in the right place on the platform.

    Buy your train tickets a few days before the journey, not on the day itself. Keep them yourself as group leader rather than distributing them.

    If you are going to take pot luck with finding space, have a member of staff go to the station on the same day of the week at the same time as your envisaged departure, to gauge how busy the platform and particular train are.

    If meeting at the station rather than at school, make parents aware that you are tied to a specific train (though don't tell them the actual departure time) and say that you will be unable to wait for latecomers.

    Toilets at the London termini are a hassle and will cause considerable delay. Children should use the local facilities and any known to have particular need should also be encouraged to go on the train. Then not again until the BM (there are toilets in the Education Centre).

    Don't neglect to consider the journey back. Just because a train at 9.30am has lots of room doesn't mean the return at 2pm will be as empty. And just because the local station staff are helpful doesn't mean that at Paddington /Euston / Liverpool Street the staff will be even aware. Also remember that it's easy disembarking on the outward journey as that's the last stop so you have plenty of time. But when getting off at your local station you will have less time as the train will need to move on after a couple of minutes, so have named adults responsible for checking each part of the carriage for things (and children?) left behind.

    Consider carefully if you are willing to allow the children to buy the tat in the BM shop, and if so if you want the adults to look after it till they are back. They will otherwise want to play with it on the return journey with all the consequent issues of breakage and mess that this brings.

    The ratio has to be 1:4 to get the best value out of the £1 tickets. This is a good ratio for London walking anyway. I once looked into group tickets but it was considerably more expensive.

    My train company includes travelcard at no extra cost but if you do need to use the tube that is another load of paragraphs on the risk assessment. It is easily possible to walk to the BM from Euston/King's Cross/ St Pancras, with surprisingly few difficult roads to cross. With colleagues, 'walk' the route on Google Streetview beforehand so you are familiar with it.

    The BM staff will probably wave you past the security search when they see you're a school but be prepared for delay just in case.

    The BM provide lockers in the Education Centre but there are no shelves; you just pile things in, so discourage coats unless really necessary and have a system for knowing whose lunch is in which locker. I think you need (returnable) pound coins for the lockers.

    The BM itself is amazing, and the journey will be the icing on the cake of this memorable day for your pupils. For many, it will be their first ever time on a train. Have fun!

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