The ever-increasing cost of school trips is becoming a serious threat to their future, English Heritage has warned.
As the UK’s largest provider of free school trips, the charity has seen the cost per head for educational visits rise from £2.25 to £3.66 over the past three years - and it is projected to hit £3.89 this academic year.
In a bid to bridge the 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, which runs sites including Witley Court near Worcester, has also revealed regional differences in how many school trips are taken.
Historic sites in the affluent South East receive considerably more school visits than those in other areas of the country, despite other regions containing more sites.
More than four-fifths (83 per cent) of all school visits to English Heritage sites are free visits, with the remaining 17% consisting of immersive, expert-led Discovery Visit workshops.
Overall, school trips remain 28 per cent down since covid, which English Heritage attributes predominantly to the cost of living crisis.
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.
“Learning about the Battle of Hastings in a classroom can never offer the same depth of understanding as visiting the actual battlefield, seeing the landscape and even recreating the fight.
“And the benefits extend far beyond the topic being studied. A school trip to one of our sites can have a lifelong impact on children.
“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.”
English Heritage offers free self-led trips to more than 400 historic sites, and expert-led Discovery Visit workshops at 27 sites, for pre-booked learning groups.
Any school can visit an English Heritage site for free on a self-guided visit.
Discovery Visits cost £100-200 for an immersive half day or full day session with an expert, offering hands-on experiences linked to the national curriculum.
For more information on the charity’s programme of school trips, to download teaching resources or to book, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/school-visits