The increasing cost of school trips to heritage locations is a threat to their future, English Heritage has warned.
One of the UK’s largest providers of free school trips, the charity has now launched a fundraising appeal to help support educational visits.
The move comes as the charity reports that the cost to provide free school trips has risen by 63% since 2019/2020.
The cost per head for educational visits have risen from £2.25 to £3.66 per student over the past three years, and it is projected to hit £3.89 in 2023/2024.
In a bid to bridge this divide, English Heritage is launching a year-long fundraising appeal to ensure the work it does for schools and education groups can continue at the same rate.
The charity also reports that a student’s location has an affect on their chances of a visit. It says the affluent South East has received “considerably more school visits than those in other areas of the country” despite other regions containing more historic sites.
On average in 2022/2023, a historic site in the South East welcomed almost eight times the number of schoolchildren as one in the North West, almost seven times as many as one in the North East and five times as many as one in East Anglia.
While school trips have remained 28% down since covid, English Heritage attributes the lack of recovery “predominantly to the cost of living crisis rather than the enduring effects of the pandemic”.
Dr Dominique Bouchard, Head of Learning and Interpretation at English Heritage, said, “For many children, a school outing is the only chance they get to discover the very places where history was made. Visiting these places, touching the same stones, seeing the same sights and listening to the same sounds as those who made history is the best way to bring the subject to life.
“We are one of the only paid-entry providers in the UK to offer free school trips and we do this because we want to instil a lifelong love of learning in every single child
“Under no circumstances do we want to stop offering free school trips and it is for this reason that we are launching a public appeal to raise much-needed funds.”