School Trips for Wheel Chair users
Hi Everyone, I’m sorry it has been a while since my last blog, exam season has kicked in and I have recently been on work experience, however, I am very excited about this blog’s topic: school trips. It can be very complicated as a disabled child or teenager when it comes to school trips as all you want to do is be included in what all of the other children are doing but it can be tough to organise, especially on adventure trips because sometimes the experiences that have been booked are just impossible for a wheelchair user. However, I have been to a few schools and have obviously been invited on many trips so I have some personal experience and can offer some advice.
Firstly, it is probably best to make an appointment at the school and talk to the teacher organising the trip about what the trip will include, accessibility, sleeping arrangements, that sort of thing. If the staff are positive and want to have you on the trip, they will usually try to make everything as easy as possible for you by contacting the place you will be going, checking disabled access and stuff like that. However, some schools aren’t as helpful and they leave it up to you to research accommodation and contact companies, if this is the case then usually companies that organise school trips, for example Land & Wave are more than happy to take you through anything you need them to. In some cases, the school are not comfortable with the idea of taking a child with ‘special needs’ on a trip but that should never stop you. If you want to go then there should be no reason why not.
Also, if you do go on a trip that is supposed to last a week say, and you go and find that it is not working or you are not being included then, speaking from experience, it is OK to say that you want to go home. If you do, the school should give you a refund. I was once on a week’s trip to Brownsea Island and on the first day I basically just watched while all the other kids had fun, built fires, shot arrows and I felt pretty bad. In fact, at one point I arrived at one of the activities and the organiser said “Oh…I forgot you were here, how are we going to do this?” That settled it, I said that I wanted to go home after the day had finished and I had the rest of the week at home. After that incident, I was sceptical when Corfe Hills sent home the letter about their annual Swanage ‘team building’ trip run by Land & Wave; however I wanted to join in as it was only the third week at my new school. I went to speak to Corfe Hills and they were more than helpful, with the help of Land & Wave and Harrow House in Swanage they organised everything and I had an amazing time. It just goes to show that with the right people behind you, it is possible for anyone to have the time of their lives on school trips.
I hope this has helped a lot of people out there who were maybe a little afraid of school trips. I am very happy to say that in October, I will be going on a five day trip to France and Belgium for the 10th anniversary of WWI with Corfe Hills. Thank you all for reading my blog, look out for the next one soon. George.