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Things that happened on every school trip back in the day

Don't miss a thing

By Jim

Jim Coulson is a Yorkshire content writer, video maker and radio presenter who blogs under the guise of Bewildered Dad.

Published on 08/11/2022

Today’s world is very different from when we grew up, but some things stay the same. The grass remains green, the sky is usually blue and there is no more excitement for kids than the idea of a school trip. Whether you are heading out to the local park to find different shaped leaves or you are travelling abroad on an exchange, the school trip is the pinnacle of the year, maybe only topped if a dog finds its way into the playground one fateful day. 

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Of course, the school trips of today are tightly marshalled with health and safety at the front and centre. Children wear hi-vis vests to help them stand out and there is a legal ratio of approximately ten adults to each child. That may be an exaggeration, but the point is that our kids are well supervised in a way that we most definitely were not. 

1980s school trip

Here are some things that happened on every school trip back in the day.

Classic school trip stuff

1) Everyone had the same lunch

Back in the day, it was the law that every child on a school trip must take with them egg sandwiches, which were then washed down with Capri Sun. Every single time. This meant that the coach stank like a sulphur factory from the off and that you spent much of the journey dodging streams of sticky yellow liquid as people’s ‘friends’ crushed those flimsy pouches, squirting their contents everywhere. At least, we hoped it was Capri Sun. 

Of course, everyone on the school trip had finished their entire pack-up before arriving at the destination at around 10am. 

2) You filled the coach in order of coolness

There was a very clear hierarchy that dictated where you needed to sit on the coach on an outing in our day. Cool/scary kids at the back, geeky kids at the front near the teachers so they could discuss trigonometry en route. The middle section was a sliding scale of the inbetweeners, each finding their suitable place in the pecking order. 

3) Waving goodbye to that one kid 

The 1980s wasn’t entirely health and safety admin-free. There was one essential hurdle to leap before you were allowed on the school trip – the permission slip.

On the day of the outing, there would always be that one kid who had discarded the slip into the depths of their bag, where it remained crumpled until the big day. They didn’t have their parent’s signature and they didn’t think quickly enough to forge it. As a result, you got to wave at them out the back of the bus as they trudged inside to spend all day working through a textbook under the hawk-like gaze of the receptionist. 

4) Ignoring the fact your were representing your school

The teachers knew it was pointless trying to give you the standard pep talk about how you needed to be on best behaviour because you were representing your school.

You were caged animals, let out for the day and high on rotten eggs, sugary drinks and Sherbet Dib Dabs. As a result, you would spend most of the trip tearing around a museum and terrorising old folks while your teachers sat with their feet up on the coach, smoking fags. 

5) Copying the clever kid 

There was always a factsheet that you needed to fill in on a school trip back in the day, but you rarely managed to do it. It involved trailing around all of the different rooms, spotting certain pieces of information and noting them down. You didn’t have time for that, you had important running around to do, not to mention the full two hours you needed in the gift shop to decide which book-shaped rubber to buy. 

The onus fell on the one clever kid who actually completed the task. You handed around and copied their work word for word.

6) Someone was always sick

1980s school trip - coach

Wherever you went on a school trip, whatever the activity, someone always ended up throwing up. Whether it was from an excess of sweets, downing a whole bottle of Tizer or merely travel sickness on one of those bumpy old-fashioned coaches, if there wasn’t one child who came home with puke spread liberally across their clothes, it wasn’t a real day out. 

7) Snogging

As well as groups of friends falling out, which was pretty standard on a school trip, there was always one couple who got together. Maybe it is the romantic allure of ancient Roman drainage systems, but the couple in question would spend the day essentially eating each other’s faces. This annoyed the people they had sat next to on the outbound coach journey, as they now had to find another seating buddy for the trip home. 

1980s school trip - snogging

Extra points for your school if the couple who got together on your trip were teachers. 

8) Bonus School Trip Experiences – Abroad

Occasionally schools ventured abroad, which threw up new challenges. On these trips, there was always one set of bumfluff-bedecked youths who managed to get served in a French bar. Everyone else hit the shops to bring home one or all of the common foreign school trip bounty items. These were knives, nudie playing cards and those pens with a picture of a woman in a dress that disappears when you turn it upside down, revealing her naked body. 

 

What happened on your trips with school? Tell us in the Comments

 

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