Teacher testimonial: Nathaniel Pitts

I have been using TCBC to organise regular trips for pupils at my school for several years.

I first encountered the company largely by chance. I was wanting to organise a trip to America for Sixth Form pupils studying history and politics. We had, in fact, already taken a group to the United States, but the firm that we had used for that trip had not been very impressive. They had seemed quite happy to take our money, but seemed to offer very little in terms of advice or support after that. By chance I received an email from TCBC highlighting what they did and, instead of deleting it like I tended to do with so many unsolicited emails, I replied. They then organised a trip to America for me in 2014 and since then they have organised a further three trips to America as well as regular trips to the First World War battlefields of northern France and Belgium.

The two key tours that TCBC organise for us fit with the GCSE course and A level course that we offer. At GCSE our pupils study the Pearson Edexcel IGCSE course, which includes a section on the First World War. The tour to norther France and Belgium focuses on the events along the Somme and in the Ypres salient.

Our A level students study the OCR History course, which contains a unit on the American Revolution and the American Civil Rights movement. Those taking A level Politics, take the Pearson Edexcel course which involves a substantial element of American politics. The tour that TCBC organise for us focuses on Washington DC, where we have a tour of Congress as well as a tour of the major monuments and Arlington. We then move on to Philadelphia to visit Independence Hall, before going to New York where we see Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, among many other things.

One of the most significant things that TCBC has been able to add to our experience is their local knowledge and expertise. They arrange guides for us, who have always been absolutely superb, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, which helps bring the subjects alive for the pupils. They are also able to provide advice on hotels, restaurants and other issues to make the trip run as smoothly as possible. Above all, you feel that you have support and help when and if you need it, which is particularly reassuring if you are a long way from home and in charge of other people’s children.

There is no doubt in my mind that the pupils benefit from the trips. Obviously, there is the educational benefit to be gained from exploring aspects of the course outside the classroom and, in terms of bringing the topics to life, in making history seem more real and ‘present’ to them, the trips serve a crucial purpose. However, I think the pupils also benefit in a broader sense, encountering other cultures and people and so broadening their knowledge and understanding of the wider world. They certainly enjoy the trips. The America trip in particular always generates extremely positive reviews, which prove very useful when it comes to organising future tours. Parents are also extremely positive about the trips and see the value and benefit that they have through the impact on their children. From my own point of view, some of my most enjoyable moments in teaching have occurred on school trips – the America trip is a real highlight and one that I thoroughly enjoy organising. That said, there is no doubt that the help of TCBC makes the organising and running of such trips far more straightforward and far less stressful.

Written by Nathaniel Pitts, Head of History
Repton School