“Free Passports and Trips Abroad” says Private School Principal

Melvyn Roffe, of George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, has urged the education secretary to fund lengthy foreign trips and lobby the Home Office to provide free passports.

Roffe believes that schoolchildren are becoming insular and self-obsessed and due to increasing travel costs and health and safety fears, many students don’t get the opportunity to travel.

Writing in the Times Educational Supplement Scotland, Mr Roffe said that all schools should have enough resources to make the most of links with partner schools “and not be swamped by the routine chaos of school life”.

The price of school trips can cause a huge financial burden for parents. At Balfron High School, Stirling, a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands costs pupils almost £4,700 each.

Mr Roffe said: “If I were education secretary, there would be a fund to ensure that, by the end of S4 (ages 14–15 or 15–16), every pupil in Scotland had spent at least two weeks away on an overseas visit, with at least one such trip being to Africa or Asia.”

“I would be lobbying the home secretary to make passports available free to children,” he added.

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