Eco-aware teenagers may shun school trips abroad, says Portsmouth head

Eco-conscious teenagers could think twice about going on school trips in the future, a girls' school head has said.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 3:16 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 10:18 am
Jane Prescott, headmistress of Portsmouth High School Picture: Portsmouth High School GDST/PA Wire

Young people are becoming more aware of their lifestyles and how they can help protect the environment, according to Jane Prescott, headmistress of Portsmouth High School GDST.

While she said she believed it was not currently the case, the school leader said it was possible that in future youngsters may take into consideration factors such as how many trips they take and the value of taking one.

Asked if pupils' interest in environmental issues could have an impact on school trips in the future, Mrs Prescott, incoming president of the Girls' Schools Association (GSA), said: ‘Yes, I do think so.

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‘I think they will make decisions about what they do, so they might not do as many trips or consider the value of that trip.’

She added she thinks pupils will be ‘more considerate’ of climate change.

‘You look at what's happening at the moment in Australia and who could not be affected by that?’

In future, it could be the case, Mrs Prescott said, that there is still fundraising for projects overseas, but pupils do not necessarily visit.

Instead, she said, pupils might help to provide resources for work to happen locally, done by local craftsmen.

Mrs Prescott also said: ‘One of the problems for schools now is looking at their carbon footprint, looking at that eco-green agenda. How can they be sending children all over the world if they're going to want to be off-setting their carbon footprint?

‘There are so many ways in which you can communicate, it doesn't have to be by actually going to visit that country.’

Portsmouth High, a fee-paying school for girls aged three to 18, in partnership with a local primary school, is developing resources for a school in South Africa, Mrs Prescott said.

They are trying to set up a global link so that pupils can communicate without having to visit each other's schools.

Mrs Prescott said she does not believe that environmental concerns have yet had an impact on school trips, adding that cost tends to be more of an issue.

But she said that, recently, people like Greta Thunberg have ‘really highlighted just what air travel does to the environment and what we should be doing in order to be able to off-set that’.