School trips are vital to learning

Zella had a fantastic day at Titchfield Haven and wonders what other local gems she's overlooked      Picture: Gary Taw

ZELLA COMPTON: Looking afresh at our beautiful spot in the world

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Do horses lay eggs?

We were asked this very question once on a residential visit with Year 5 children to the New Forest.

It is easy to make assumptions about what children know or might know – and often surprising where the gaps in their general knowledge are.

One of the most powerful consequences of taking children out of school is that you find all manner of interesting gaps that you can only fill when you leave the classroom.

Learning about the night sky should be an experience of awe and wonder.

Living in Gosport even the darkest sky has enough light pollution to mask many of the stars.

Yet take children into the New Forest and they are amazed by how dark the dark actually is and how many amazing stars they can see.

Schools must continue to offer a wide range of visits and experiences to broaden and enrich the learning of their children.

This term we have taken children to see the stage production of War Horse, visited Westminster Abbey and been camping in the New Forest.

We have also been part of the audience in Got to Dance, visited Marwell Zoo and have been to Jamie’s Italian restaurant to give them a few pointers on menu design.

And children will eat in restaurants, visit charity shops, sleep in school, climb hills, fly kites, abseil, go crabbing, climb and run.

These experiences really are life changing.

They build memories and give the children something exciting to talk, think and write about.

There is plenty said about risk assessments and paperwork making visits unmanageable, but in my experience this is just not so.

Careful planning just makes sure children and adults are safe.

Learning at its very best is seldom done when sitting still.

Joy Squibb, head of St John’s C of E Primary School in Gosport