How many outings will be possible this term remains to be seen, but with the warmer weather there are more opportunities to take learning outside, perhaps to the park, the local beach or woods. Kate Freeman’s article on page 16 provides lots of ideas for practising speech and language skills outdoors.

There’s always plenty to get in place, even for the seemingly most straightforward trip: get the risk assessments updated and laminated, first aid kits restocked, and yes, a fresh liner for the sick bucket. But a seasoned TA, with plenty of trips under their belt, can usually be relied upon for that special something that ends up saving the day.

AKA ‘Queen of The Bag’, Lyn Williams is a very experienced teaching assistant from Eglinton Primary school in Southeast London and is celebrated for somehow always having the essential piece of kit that has averted many a crisis. She explains:

“It has taken 10 years and more trips than anyone I know to perfect the bag, but it seems that I’ve finally got it right. Once I return from a trip, I restock it immediately and ensure it is never used until the next trip. All our staff know that I will have everything that is needed and am as prepared as possible for every eventuality. There is a laminated checklist in the bag – just in case I’m not in school.

The bag itself is a large picnic style rucksack and of course has the usual first aid kit, plastic bags, tissues and water, and now of course requisite facemasks and sanitiser (although sanitiser was always there – we’re dealing with kids, remember) but these are the other things that I include:

  • Nappy sacks and age-appropriate underwear/bottoms (for accidents)
  • Spare child’s rucksack (for the inevitable carrier bag collapse)
  • Re-useable plastic cups and cutlery (for water and yoghurts)
  • Large bottle of water (for forgotten drinks)
  • Hand cream (for chapped hands)
  • Hottie handwarmers (for shivering staff)
  • Fold up raincoat (for wet staff)
  • Paracetamol (for stressed staff)
  • Indigestion tablets (for burpy staff)
  • Phone charger power pack
  • Lip balm (see chapped hands)
  • Diarrhoea tablets (see burpy staff)
  • Bag for life (for scooping up lost property and collected treasures from the trip)
  • A spare packed lunch from the school kitchen (to replace the one that got trodden on/left behind /already eaten by an unknown culprit)

I have worked with the most experienced teachers who are prepared for everything, nevertheless when we are on a day out, we always check… “Who’s got the bag?”

What has been the piece of kit that has saved the day on your school trip?

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