Summer camps in the United Kingdom
By Chloe Anthony
In the United Kingdom most children go on two school trips in their school career. These are
usually organised and run by their teachers. They might take the form of an activity week
somewhere in the UK, day trips spent boating or walking, staying at a youth hostel in Wales.
For more wealthy pupils there are art trips to Paris, ski trips to the Alps, or even adventure
holidays run by activity centres in the UK or even as far away as Barbados or Australia.
Of course school trips help pupils to develop a closer relationship with their classmates and
teachers and are excellent experience for those who have never spent time away from home
or their parents. Children learn to work with others, experience the outdoors, do challenging
things and build their confidence.
On the down side, the trips are often run by teachers who have little time or expertise in
organising them. Also, while most pupils attend, poorer families have trouble getting the
money together for their children. It is not only the cost of the trip but also the long list of
clothes and equipment needed, as well as spending money.
Parents are not only under pressure to find the money to send their children on trips, they
also worry if their children are going to be in safe hands. Since 1985, 47 children have died
on school trips. This does not mean they are unsafe, in fact most school trips are very well
run, but it is difficult for parents to trust teachers and activity centre staff, whom they often do
not know, with the care of their children.
The UK government now thinks that every UK teenager aged between 11 and 14 should
have the chance to spend a week away from home. Less wealthy families will pay less or
nothing at all for the trip and the trip will be organised by professionals with lots of activities,
like summer camps in the US.
Summer camp is part o growing up for many children there. Last summer 6 million children
attended camp for two to five weeks at 10,000 different places. It costs between $400 and
$2,ooo a week. Children have a wide variety of activities to choose from. These might
include arts and crafts, field games, cultural trips, swimming, even sailing, canoeing,
kayaking, diving, whale watching, rock climbing, mountaineering or caving in America,
Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador or Fiji, for example.
There was a trial run last year in the UK with 3,000 pupils aged 11 to 17 staying at camps in
Birmingham, Cornwall and the Lake District. Each camp had a different focus, some did
kayaking, some hill-walking, some drama and arts. The trips cost between 300 and 400
pounds a week, while the parents paid between 25 and 100 pounds, depending on the
location and the activities offered.
All in all, school trips are something which people remember for the rest of their lives, if only
because of cold showers, thunder storms and walking through streams up to your waist in
water. Spending a week with your best friends without parents, being looked after and
offered fun activities and adventure can’t be a bad thing! (538)
To run something: here: to have the responsibility for it – focus: specialty – trial run: at a ~
something is tested to see if it works properly
Questions on the text 30
Answer these questions in complete sentences and use your own words as far as possible.
1. What is the average number of school trips a British pupil takes per year?
What are average school trips like? 3/3
2. According to Chloe Anthony, what are the advantages of school trips? 4/4
3. Why do parents sometimes have problems sending their children on such trips? 3/3
4. What does the UK government do to offer more trips to children? 3/3
5. Why is Chloe Anthony in favour of school trips? 2/2
1. Give definitions of the following words in complete sentences
2. Paraphrase the underlined words in the following sentences without changing
Children learn … to experience the outdoors, do challenging things
it is not only the cost of the trip
teenagers aged between 11 and 14
Children have a wide variety of activities to choose from.
The activities might include arts and crafts …
3. Find synonyms for the words in brackets
they are (excellent) ________________________ experience 1
less (wealthy) ________________________ families 1
most pupils (attend ) __________________________ school trips 1
they have (trouble) ________________________ getting the money 1
they should have the (chance) _______________________ 1
4. Find the opposite of the underlined words
something which people remember<<<>>> something which they ______________ 1
they are usually organised <<<>>> they are __________________ organised 1
as far away as Barbados <<<>>>as ______________ as …. 1
your best friends <<<>>> your _________________ __________________ 2
Choose one of the following topics and write between 100 and 125 words.
Don’t forget a good introduction and a conclusion
1. Write an article for your school newspaper about your favourite school trip.
2. Is it a good idea for teachers to take their pupils on school trips to far away
countries like Australia?
3. Imagine you are spending a year in Britain. Your host parents are not sure
they can let you go on a one-week trip to Wales. They think such a trip is too
dangerous. Try to convince them that it isn’t .
Mixed Exercises 30
England and Wales (introduce) _______________________________ a national curriculum
for all schools in 1989. To make sure that the curriculum (follow) ______________________
___________________ properly, the government (decision) _________________ to test all
children _______ the ages of 7, 11 and 14. Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) measured
how (good) _______________ children (learn) __________________________at these so-
From the beginning, not all parents were happy _________________ this. Teachers said
they (must) ____________________ spend too much time (correct) ________________
instead of (teach) ________________________. One problem was the “league tables”
(show)___________________________ how well all schools in England and Wales (do)
________________________. The tables put ______________________ pressure on
schools and pupils. Even if they (try) ______________________ (hard) ______________,
schools in poorer areas with disadvantaged children (can + not) ____________________
get good results. Some teachers wanted their schools (get) _______________________
good results so much that they helped children cheat in tests.
However, the government says that SATs (improve) ________________________________
standards, by measuring how ________________ children (really+ learn) ______________
_________________________ and finding out where more has (do) __________________.
SATs are used by schools to tell what groups pupils _________________________ be put
in, but they are not qualifications (need) ___________________________to apply for a job.
These are the GCSEs and A-levels. Pupils usually ___________________ GCSEs at 16.
Maths and English are compulsory ______________________, but apart from these, pupils
can choose _____________ others. After GCSEs, pupils can study _____________ A-level
exams. Over the past few years results have become (good) ___________________ and
___________________ and some critics now say that the A-levels are getting _________
Translate into German 30
1. It is not only teenagers who are at risk in Britain.
2. A survey showed that more than half of all seven-year-old children already suffer from
3. When teachers were questioned, nearly 68% of them stated they thought tests at the
elementary school level were not a good idea.
4. CHILDLINE is a charity in Britain, with an anonymous phone service which children in
need of help can call.
5. Counsellors noticed a 50% increase in calls in the last year. And Adrian Brown of
CHILDLINE explains: “ We know that this figure is only the tip of the iceberg.”
6. Pupils learn and prepare for exams over the course of the school year.
7. When the exams are just around the corner, the stress often becomes too much for many
8. One student describes how she felt more and more upset before her exams started: “I sat
there studying biology and after some time it seemed that I couldn’t remember anything. So I
opened my bedroom window and screamed and screamed.”
9. The next day, she had no difficulty passing the biology exam.