World Book Day: School Trip Inspiration

World Book Day: School Trip Inspiration

School trip ideas with with a World Book Day twist.

With World Book Day approaching, we have been thinking about school trip itineraries with a difference. We know demands on teachers are increasing; therefore, the more leisure and tourism and heritage venues can support them when planning their school visits, the more likely they are to book.


There are many authors, tales and stories originating all over Great Britain that will inspire young people to engage with storytelling and stimulate their imaginations. Many of these stories, and the wonderful authors who wrote them, are celebrated all year round; however, there is no better time than World Book Day to start hunting for inspiration for your next educational visit.


Click on the links below to access our itineraries.


AA Milne – East Sussex


Beatrix Potter – Lake District


JK Rowling and Harry Potter – Edinburgh


C S Lewis in Northern Ireland


Michael Morpurgo and Dartmoor


Robin Hood – Sherwood Forest


J.R.R. Tolkien and Birmingham


For more information about World Book Day go to

If you require any help creating itineraries for your setting, marketing to schools or improving your education offer,  please contact us at; we would love to hear from you.


Supporting Reluctant Writers on School Trips

Supporting Reluctant Writers on School Trips

Writing Can Be Fun!

How to Support Reluctant Writers

If you work with, or offer trips to children, you will come across reluctant writers at some point in your career. Those pupils who do not respond well to the traditional worksheet and pencil. These children may have special educational needs or simply be a child who ‘freezes’ when asked to write. They can be P&P-phobes – (pencil and paper-phobes.)

We know that new and engaging interpretation methods are the way to capture young minds; however, there are many ways you can adapt your education offer to still allow pupils to develop their English skills through answering questions, jotting thoughts or simply offering an opportunity to ‘make’ letters. You could look at some of the ways that educational professionals are encouraging pupil knowledge of letter formation and writing skills without a trace of the pen/pencil and paper (P&P) combination.

We have listed 10 simple and in-expensive methods you can use.

Not all of the following ideas are practical in every situation – but can you use any to help just one child?

10 Ways to Encourage Writing Without Using P&P

  • Gel boards – special gel filled plastic wallets that children love to write on. It is different and it can be any colour.
  • Writing in playdough – for some special needs children this works really well. They love to write their answers for others to read and then scrunch up the playdough, ready to start again.
  • Writing in slime or mud – it is messy, easy to rub out and slightly unusual.
Breaking the Rules

  • Windows, glass and mirrors – we have witnessed very reluctant writers creating wonderful outdoor poetry using this method. There is a time and a place…and your setting might just be it!
  • Tables – yes, we said tables! We know this goes against etiquette but there is nothing like ‘breaking the rules’ to get pupils on board.
  • Using unusual objects to write with– such as carrots, feathers, and other items linked to your attraction.


Big, Messy or Hands-On

  • Giant paint brushes or writing utensils and giant walls of paper, chalkboard or another large surface.
  • Sandboxes – simple boxes or trays with sand in that pupils can write using fingers or another object.
  • Making letters using objects – this can be string, paper straws – anything you can bend and make different sizes.

and finally…

What About Not Writing At All?

  • Why not provide those with additional needs the opportunity to record their answers or listen to the worksheets through digital devices such as, simple MP3 recorders.  Pupils can record their answers and play back. This helps them to develop writing skills such as word organisation, sentence structure and grammar.


Pupils respond really well to anything different, fun and slightly naughty! 


If you would like more information about supporting the needs of schools at your setting, please contact us on: or phone 07846281171


Half Term on Dartmoor

Half Term on Dartmoor

Wondering what to do this half term on Dartmoor? We have collaborated with the official tourism board for Dartmoor (Visit Dartmoor) to create the ‘Half Term Inspiration’ to help you plan your holiday – what ever the weather.

A week’s calendar full of events and attractions in the local area with a twist!  We have created a week for each weather type so whether it is rain or shine, you have something to do.


These events are mostly outside so best enjoyed in nicer weather. But, if you are a hardy family who goes outside with your waterproofs and wellies with people looking on like you are mad then go ahead and try these in all weathers.

Dry with Occasional Showers

These places are perfect for dry days but have exciting things to keep your kiddies entertained inside and out. Perfect for those days when the weather can not decide what to do!


Perfect if the weather is not being kind to us and the rain continues to pour all day! Of course these activities are suitable for your Dry and Dry With Occasional Shower days too.

So enjoy your week and we hope that you will join us in reviewing some of the places on our calendar. What out for our review sheet coming on Friday!





School Traveller Organiser Magazine Awards


School Travel Awards

School Travel Awards


Voting starts this month!  Voting and nominations for the School Traveller Organiser Magazine’s School Travel Awards starts this month and they need as much help as possible to get teachers and ‘outside the classroom’ practitioners to vote and nominate. Why don’t you say thanks to that setting or teacher that has gone above and beyond to create a memorable experience? 

There are 17 awards in total including My Best School Trip Award and School Trip Champion Award. For more information check out the webpage; it tells you how to nominate and vote as well has having a list of all the available awards. 

The awards are: 

My Best School Trip Award – Prize £1,500

The basis for this award is for teachers to ask their pupils to write a review of a school trip; what they experienced, and what they felt was gained from the trip. The top three contributions by the pupils who went on the trip are selected by the teacher and sent to School Travel Organiser with an overview narrative supplied by the teacher, outlining what the objectives were and what was actually achieved, either in a single curriculum activity or cross-curriculum partnership.

Judging will be carried out by a panel of experts based on a criteria which will be available on request and which will be published on the website shortly. The winning school will receive a cash prize of £1,500 which can be used against a future school trip to be taken within nine months of the Award being made. The trip will be featured as a case study in School Travel Organiser.

School Trip Champion Award – Prize £1,000

Nominations will be welcomed to recognise outstanding teachers (or organisers) involved in learning outside the classroom which can be supplied from colleagues, venues, tour operators or professional bodies. The winner will receive a prize of £1,000 which will be given to the school that he / she works for, to contribute to a school trip which should be taken within nine months of the Award. The trip will feature in School Travel Organiser magazine.

Best Heritage Venue

What venue or visit has really delivered for you and met or exceeded your expectations when it’s come to educational visits. Can be awarded to a castle, cathedral, stately home, historic property or an attraction that promotes learning and understanding when it comes to history and heritage.

Best Sporting Venue

This could be a stadium tour, or an actual sporting event or sports museum. What venues really stood out and should they be recognised?

Best Theatre Production for Schools

What better than an exciting trip to the West End or perhaps a theatre near to your school? Did the production excite, inspire and entertain, and was it well directed with a message pupils could relate too? Did it tie in with a subject and lesson plan and were you able to book and take part in any workshops?

Best International Destination

With more and more schools making short haul trips to Europe and long haul trips worldwide, the choice and opportunity for exciting educational visits grows and grows. What delivered for you?

Best UK Destination

Trips at home are varied and many. We’re looking for you to tell us the best city, town, or other location, area or venue that has provided you and your school groups with meaningful, enriching and fun learning outside the classroom.

Best Ski Resort

Skiiing is very popular for older school children and resorts offer a fantastic range of opportunities. Which would you recommend?

Best Museum Visit

Whether in the UK or overseas, museums are a cornerstone of learning outside the classroom. Who should be recognised as offering an outstanding visit, plus pre and post visit assistance and learning links for schools?

Best Food & Learning Experience

Eating and learning often go hand in hand and there are some excellent opportunities to dine or work with food and engage in a learning experience too. Who’s best on your menu?

Best Venue for Science Learning

Trips should be fun but let’s not forget the exciting learning potential available too. What’s best for science?

Best Venue for Maths Learning

Students can be surprised by how a range of experiences can relate to the all-important subject of maths. Make it fun and help them learn!

Best Venue for English Learning

It might be a play, a drama experience or a museum or library that stands out. What has engaged your class and deserves recognition?

Best Venue for History Learning

The UK has arguably the most accessible and varied resource for history in the world. Or perhaps a venue or attraction overseas has struck a chord with your history learning? Who is best of the best, based on your experience of organising educational visits?

Best Adventure Experience

Children love to learn through play and combined with the opportunity for team learning and physical development, the adventure experience remains an important part of learning away from school.

Best School Tour Operator

Reliability, creativity, due diligence and of course safety are just some of the things teachers expect from School Tour Operators. Who do you trust to help organise successful trips?

Best Residential Experience

Residential trips can offer amazing experiences for children and teachers. It’s got to be clean, safe and suitable. It also should deliver great value and, if required, good food too. What experience stands out for your previous trips?

The 5 star ceremony lunch will take place on Thursday 10th November 2016 at the wonderful Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London.

So let’s get behind these amazing awards and celebrate those attractions and teachers who are creating inspiring learning for children outside the classroom and memories that last a lifetime! 



Identifying Autism: not a simple picture

exciting education header

Identifying Autism

It was suggested to me to write something about autism for Exciting Education and one of the topics that had been suggested was a “Top Ten Tips on how to identify autism in children” but this is not a simple picture.

I mulled this over in my mind for a couple of days and the more I thought about it, the more alarm bells began to go off in my head. How can I simplify something so complicated?

Firstly, I am not going to lead you to believe that I am all knowing on this subject and what I do know is through study and having the privilege of working closely in the day to day lives of some adults that have been diagnosed with varying degrees of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Guidelines, rules and tips are useful but they can appear to trivialise the true complexities of the individual. To use an analogy; when we look at building a piece of machinery like an engine or a robot we can read a book and follow a method and eventually, with the correct tools and skill set we get a finished product. However, this only scratches the surface when we try to treat the human mind in the same way; many people will never truly comprehend the world in which individuals with ASD have to make sense of.

So with some trepidation I am going to outline some behaviours to look for, but I am also going to draw from my personal experience. These are by no means hard and fast rules and a lot of what I cover can be observed in many people without there being the presence of ASD.

Early detection of ASD can make remarkable difference not only to the lives of those diagnosed, but also to their families, friends, teachers etc. The most notable sign can be apparent quite early on in infancy. However this is not sufficient enough to require a diagnosis and needs to be paired with diminished acquisition of other developmental milestones in later years.


ASD babies may not bond as well to their parents as one might expect.  Yes, this is a very broad statement but it is part of the reason why it is so difficult to diagnose ASD early on. As a parent we lovingly bring up our children and note those developmental milestones. However each child is different and reaches these milestones at different points. This is why it is hard to pinpoint ASD without a combination of signs and symptoms and allowing time for individual differences.



ASD is often diagnosed later in early years when there is a notable difference in how children comprehend themselves and others. Children with ASD may not understand another individual’s happiness or pain and is mostly aware only of themselves.

Social Interaction

Some learnt behaviours we take for granted. For instance eye contact, most of us have been guilty of staring at someone or something for an inappropriate amount of time, however, as children we are usually told to stop staring and that it is rude to stare. We soon become aware of other peoples discomfort at being stared at and our own discomfort at having been caught staring. Sometimes ASD can be characterised by inappropriate lengths of eye contact, either being too long or too short. An individual with ASD may stare for long periods of time at someone and be oblivious to the other person’s discomfort. This is because eye contact is learned through social cues which children with ASD often have to try very hard to learn but is something that most of us learn without even realising it.


It is no wonder that some children with ASD suffer with serious anxiety especially as some learnt behaviours come so easily to us through social cues and it is taken as given that everyone will possess them and express them appropriately.

Anxiety is prevalent amongst us all but the degree to which we experience anxiety is key to understanding some of the difficulties that children with ASD face. So much attention is given to detail, that the bigger picture can create a world of chaos: a seemingly calm environment to some may be exhausting and frustrating for individuals with a diagnosis of ASD. The use of sensory rooms or calmer environments are invaluable in reducing the anxiety in the everyday lives of those who live with ASD.

Sensory Characteristics

During my time working with adults that have a diagnosis of ASD it was clear that different sensory information affected them in different ways just as it does for all of us. Some of us have an acute sense of smell, some of us are more sensitive auditory or visual information.

Sensitivity to sensory information is quite a general description but actually these sensitivities can be quite specific with respect to ASD. You may find children and adults with ASD walking around with their hands over their ears or they may have invested in a quality pair of headphones as they are particularly sensitive to sound. Some are sensitive to touch and might enter your personal space in order to touch your hair, skin and clothes etc. Others may be overwhelmed by their sense of smell. For some, none or all of these may be present.

Things to consider

In outlining some of the ways that it is possible to identify ASD in children and young adults. I have tried to highlight how these differences are present in us all at varying degrees and in doing so I have hopefully reiterated the point that I so often hear when discussing ASD – which is that we all appear on the spectrum. Any one of these signs or symptoms alone may not be enough to warrant a diagnosis, however when these signs appear alongside each other and other key predictors (such as slower speech development, learning difficulties, physical aggressiveness, obsessive behaviours, self-harm, occasionally the presence of a special talent and many more) there is more of a reason to investigate further. Often what we consider to be negative behaviours associated with ASD are usually the result of the pure frustration at having to interact with a world in a way that does not come naturally.

Although diagnosis is important, my aim here is to encourage people to understand some key signs of ASD so that children and parents can find adequate support if necessary; preferably sooner rather than later.

By Shoshannah Harrison, Freelance Consultant