Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 26 Nov 2009

My daughter’s sixth form art trip to Paris has been badly controlled in the past. I don’t want her to go.

Hillary's Advice

Are you crazy? What will you actually gain by refusing to let her go on this trip? Nothing except the chance to wrap her in cotton wool for another couple of days, and the knowledge that she is safe from the sins and lures of Paris. Oh, and a daughter who is so mortified and embarrassed at not being allowed to do what is seen as routine by all her friends that it may take her years to forgive you.

Let her go – and if you are seriously worried about how the trip is likely to be conducted, speak to the teacher in charge to outline your fears and demand to know what measures will be in place to ensure orderly behaviour.

But stay realistic. Young people do sometimes behave badly on school trips, but rarely is any lasting damage done. The worst that is likely to happen (leaving aside the kind of terrible accident that can happen anywhere) is that she might get drunk. She might behave badly in public. She might end up in the wrong bed.

But all these things could just as easily happen to a sixteen-year-old on a night out at home. Ultimately how she behaves is likely to depend far more on the way you have brought her up than on the laxness or discipline of her art teacher.

So the question, really, is not how much do you trust the teacher in charge of this trip, but how much do you trust yourself, as a parent, to have brought up a daughter who can conduct herself wisely.