Over 15,500 secondary school children from over 300 schools across the UK have had the chance to travel to Australia, Iceland, Japan and Italy for free as part of a virtual school trip of a lifetime, thanks to a new initiative from Millfield School in Somerset.
The Ultimate School Trip, which was open to students everywhere, saw registrations from schools in Guernsey, Northamptonshire, Kent, Greater Manchester, Wales and even Nepal and Hong Kong.
The project was the brain child of Millfield’s Deputy Head Alexandra Haydon, who hosted the Australia and Iceland legs of the trip: “With the UK in lockdown, school operating online, school trips grounded and holidays a dream away we wanted to give secondary students across the country the chance to be a part of a globe-trotting virtual experience that takes them somewhere new, sparks their curiosity, makes them think about sustainability and, importantly, provided a little escapism and inspiration.”
Alongside Mrs Haydon, Millfield’s Headmaster Gavin Horgan and Assistant Head (Academic) Adam Gutteridge, led the Japan and Italy trips.
The ‘trips’ to Australia, Japan, Italy and Iceland gave students the chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or take part in a cooking lesson with an Italian chef, with guided tours and tutorials with experts from across the world, including an indigenous Australian river guide and a glacier expert in Iceland.
Lynda Bevan, Deputy Head of St Dunstan’s School in Glastonbury, says, “The trip provided a great opportunity to ‘travel the world’ without leaving the house. It was exactly the tonic required after so many weeks in lockdown. Students now know some of the exciting adventures that may await them once things are back to ‘normal’. A great idea that was much appreciated.”
Anna Forster, Assistant Director of Sixth Form and Teacher of Geography at Loughborough High School, says, “Thank you so much for putting on this fabulous event. So much work has gone into preparing and running this...it's a superb achievement for Millfield School, and to share the event and resources with schools from across the country is outstanding practice, and something we could all do much more of.”