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Changing Minds: The Lasting Impact of School Trips



In recent years the importance of learning in the 'real' environment, outside the classroom, has had widespread attention. Groups such as the Real World Learning Campaign have drawn attention to the dangers arising from the decline in field study work. Many children are taken to school by car, and parents fear allowing their children even to play in parks close to home, tacitly encouraging them to play indoors, leaving fewer opportunities for outdoor social play or experience of the world outside their front door.

The National Trust's Guardianship Scheme addresses the negative consequences of such trends. It offers the opportunity of:

Guardianship differs from many out-of-classroom learning experiences. By focusing on multiple visits to a single site, it develops an on-going partnership that not only supports curriculum work, but also provides stimulating, practical experience of the great outdoors and conservation work. The Scheme is now well established across the country in over 100 primary and secondary schools.

Evaluations of traditional out of classroom learning have identified the capacity of partnerships to develop positive attitudes, arouse learners' interest and improve behaviour. The unique nature of the Guardianship Scheme allows this study to go further. Based on in-depth interviews with students past and present, teachers and Trust wardens, it looks at the longer-term impact of out of classroom learning experiences on knowledge, attitudes, behaviour, and decisions and choices young people make.

Research objectives
Research objectives for the study are summarised as:

The properties chosen reflected a range of schemes in relation to the following criteria:

Benefits of the Guardianship scheme to pupils and schools

Benefits of the Guardianship scheme to families, friends and the community

Benefits of the Guardianship scheme to staff and volunteers at National Trust properties

Areas where impact is less apparent

Key factors in successful schemes

Future areas for improvement of the Guardianship Scheme
For the Guardianship as a whole to have even greater impact on participating pupils and schools, it would be necessary to:


Label Value
Author Peacock, Alan et al.
Pedagogical Area
  • place-based education, environment as integrating context (EIC)
Delivery Area
  • school based
Outcome Area
  • civic engagement
  • self efficacy
  • environmental knowledge, attitude and awareness
  • stewardship behavior
  • community change
Participant Area
  • student
  • educator
  • school
Age Area
  • elementary (6-11 years old)
  • middle school (12-14 years old)
  • high school (14-18 years old)