Teacher Talk: Kerry Tabb

Date Posted: 26/12/2014

PE teacher Kerry Tabb talks about taking recommendations and watching the costings when it comes to planning active trips.

Kerry Tabb is the teacher in charge of KS4 and GCSE Physical Education at All Saints Secondary School in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Born in Belfast, Kerry moved to London to study PE Teaching at the UEL and has been teaching at the 1,200 pupil mixed Catholic school for the past four years.

Q What school trips have you organised previously?

A The last three trips I’ve planned have been very sports orientated and included a trip to the Olympic stadium, one to Wimbledon and most recently, a netball trip to Condover Hall in Shropshire.

Q How much time do you spend preparing for a trip?

A I’m a bit of a sports trip veteran at this stage so I know that any big school trip will take the bones of a year to plan, organise and finalise. There is a lot of paper work that needs to be done in advance of any trip and we also need to ensure we give parents enough time to get the money together for the trip.

Q How do you decide where to go, and what are your main criteria?

A I love to get recommendations from other schools in the borough about trips they’ve taken and ones that should be avoided; it’s been really useful for us in the past.

Other things we consider include the overall cost of the trip, value for money, the feasibility and flexibility of the itinerary and the learning outcomes and benefits for our students.

Q What's been your favourite trip destination?

A It would have to be our most recent one to Condover Hall, Shropshire.

JCA Adventures have years of experience and the booking process was really easy and smooth. The staff are excellent and communicate well, which makes the whole process trouble free.

The activities are well organised and run efficiently and effectively making the whole weekend an enjoyable experience for both students and staff. And the accommodation and catering are also excellent and accessible for all students.

Each school is given their own personal rep who deals with everything from your check-in, to collecting you for meal times and entertaining the students in the evening.

The trip was set up to allow students free time between games and in the evening to enjoy a whole range of outdoor activities onsite, including climbing, archery, zip wire, abseiling and  laser quest. One of the funniest memories was students in the inflatable zorbing balls trying to knock each other down!

Q What are the main advantages of teaching outside the classroom?

A It allows students to become more independent in a range of situations. It also builds on skills such as teamwork, organisation, planning, decision making, while also promoting confidence and healthy lifestyles choices.

From a teacher’s perspective, it enables us to develop better relationships with our students as we’re connecting with them during what should be their free time, but because they have elected to be there, they are far more attentive, keen, and above all else, engaged.

Q Is there any destination that you’d love to take students to?

A Like many schools, we’d love to travel to Europe and further afield more regularly, however, due to the financial costs for students we have to limit how often we schedule trips.

I think Paris would be a great trip for our students. It’s pretty easy to get there and it’s just so rich in history and culture; everything from the food to the art galleries would be a real treat. And with the added bonus of Disneyland Paris a short train journey away, there really would be something for each student.

Q What have been some of the best student developmental outcomes you’ve seen as the result of a trip?

A I’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of girls coming to extracurricular clubs. We have over 20 girls now coming to netball club alone in each year group.

And across the board we’ve also seen a higher standard of play due to the amount of time students are willing to commit to training, and there is an increased sense of pride among the students playing and/or representing the school. 

At All Saints we have a lot of different age groups interacting and because of this we’ve started to see a lot of our older students become coaches, leaders or umpires for the younger year groups, which is a lovely developmental outcome to see.

Q What’s your number one top tip for teachers planning a school trip?

A Prepare to have no sleep for the duration of the trip! If you can make peace with that from the outset, the rest of the trip should be pretty smooth.

Other pieces of advice would be to develop a Twitter page with information about the trip for keeping parents in the loop. This can also be used to upload and share pictures from the trip.

Finally, take lots of photos. Parents love to see what their children have been up to. You could create a board in the school to display all the photos, which will encourage more student uptake for the following year, and also impress parents visiting the school for parents’ evenings and open days.

School Travel Organiser's Guide