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Exploring Nature: New Opportunities for School Trips in the South Downs National Park

The announcement on 16 April 2024 that South Downs National Park and National Express were teaming up to offer schools special discounts was extremely welcome news. It’s a groundbreaking partnership that will open doors to inspiring school trips like never before, particularly at a time when Schools struggle with budgets.

Accessible Adventures in the South Downs

This innovative collaboration aims to expand educational experiences by offering discounted coach travel to over 100 attractions and venues within the South Downs National Park. From wildlife surveys and conservation tasks to country walks, zoos, and museums, pupils can engage in a wide array of nature and heritage-based activities.

Funding Support for Schools

To further support schools, the National Park has launched the Outdoor Learning Grant, which provides between £300 and £500 to cover travel costs. This initiative reduces financial pressure on schools and parents, making these enriching trips more accessible to a broader range of students.

Partnership Details

The partnership with National Express Transport Solutions offers affordable, reliable, and comfortable school transport at a significantly reduced rate of £295 during school hours. This means that more schools can benefit from the Outdoor Learning Grant, with an estimated 70% increase in supported schools compared to previous years.

Even schools that don’t receive the grant can still take advantage of the discounted travel rate provided by National Express Transport Solutions when visiting the National Park.

Impact and Vision

Amanda Elmes, Learning, Outreach, and Volunteer Lead for the National Park, emphasises the significance of this partnership: “Learning about the natural world is such an important part of the curriculum, and National Parks offer a fantastic resource for schools to engage with wildlife, landscape, culture, and history.”

Jiten Desai, Head of Regional Sales and Commercial Planning for National Express Transport Solutions, also expresses enthusiasm for the collaboration: “We look forward to providing dedicated travel for hundreds of children across the south of England so that they can enjoy enriching, educational experiences at some of the many South Downs National Park attractions.”

How Schools Can Participate

Schools interested in applying for the Outdoor Learning Grant can visit this link. For more information about discounted travel for school trips to the South Downs, visit this page.

This exciting partnership promises to make nature-focused school trips more accessible and impactful for students across southern England. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with the beauty and educational value of the South Downs National Park, fostering a deeper appreciation for nature and heritage among young learners. If you’re involved with a school in the region, don’t miss out on this fantastic chance to explore and learn in one of England’s most picturesque landscapes!

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