HomeResidential school trips in France and internationally: current research

HomeResidential school trips in France and internationally: current research

Residential school trips in France and internationally: current research

Les classes de découverte en France et dans le monde : recherches actuelles

Revue « Les Sciences de l'éducation - Pour l'ère nouvelle »

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Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2020


The aim of this special issue is to bring together research on the different types of residential school trips on offer in French or international school systems, such as seaside activities, winter sports, environmental activities, and so on. Researchers are invited to submit articles covering the themes of residential school trips and the educational use of travel, change of scenery or tourism.



Contact: Julien Fuchs & Gilles Brougère

julien.fuchs@univ-brest.fr / brougere@univ-paris13.fr

General presentation

The aim of this special issue is to bring together research on the different types of residential school trips on offer in French or international school systems, such as seaside activities, winter sports, environmental activities, and so on. Researchers are invited to submit articles covering the themes of residential school trips and the educational use of travel, change of scenery or tourism.

Articles will address how these residential trips (or related programmes) contribute to learning in its broadest sense, which includes socialisation. Papers from any discipline are welcome (history, geography, sociology, anthropology, etc.) and can be based on different methodologies (observations, interviews, statistics, map making, archival work, etc.). The objective is to clarify the educational impact of these trips and their social, cultural and economic scope regarding contemporary social and educational issues (nature, solidarity, etc.).

Although there has so far been little research conducted on residential school trips, it is an area of study that is developing through the revitalisation of a pedagogical movement aimed at raising children’s awareness of their external environment. It therefore seems worthwhile to compare the studies that have been carried out on this type of initiative to ascertain the effectiveness of these programmes with their unique pedagogical rationale and also to examine the notion of the residential school trip both in France and internationally[1].

As such, this special issue will look at these trips from the researcher’s perspective and encourage dialogue on the educational, social, touristic, sporting and local development issues running through these programmes.

Themes and problematics

This special issue will bring together contributions on school programmes that are characterised by an extended stay outside the usual classroom (and, indeed, family) context and that are designed with either a direct link to nature in mind (environmental, winter sports, outdoor pursuits, seaside, etc.) or other types of “change of scenery” activities (urban discovery trips, etc.). Contributions will approach residential school trips in terms of pedagogical experiments, socio-touristic education on the subject of travel, otherness, cultural differences or the environment or experiences of participants from different backgrounds (pupils, teachers, guides, leaders and reception centre staff).

“Leaving to learn, learning to leave” is the principle behind these trips, whose origins date back to the mid-19th century. In France, they were first structured around winter sports in the 1950s and 1960s and then most notably around seaside activities. They were based on the national educational model in place that divided schooling time into three thirds (one third of the time for basic learning skills (French, mathematics, etc.), one for enrichment activities and humanities (history, geography, etc.) and one for physical education). Student presence for these residential trips and the diversification of trip duration and distance from the students’ school of attendance constantly increased until the mid-1980s, during which time one in every two students participated in a residential trip at least once in the course of their schooling. Attendance began to decline in the 1990s (in 1994–1995, approximately 12% of primary school students went on an out-of-school trip of five days or more with their class and teacher – DEPP Report, April 1996), and the numbers have continued to drop ever since.

There is a consensus on the pedagogical value of residential school trips and they are still embedded in teachers’ collective references, yet paradoxically there is little awareness of discovery trips in France today. They are, however, once again being recognised and encouraged by France’s Ministry of Education as an effective educational initiative that gives meaning to school learning and supports the socialisation of travel, which is still deeply unequal (Pavy Report, 2004). In May 2018, the French Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, stated: “Children also need to reconnect with nature. I’ve been working to bring back environmental, winter sports and seaside [residential school] trips” (JDD, 19 May 2018, translated from French). Moreover, these residential trips have significant benefits for the economy: in 1995, the French government’s Department for Tourism estimated the turnover from discovery trips to be €305 million, generating nearly 5,000 jobs and allowing the amortization of tourist facilities, particularly during the low season. As such, residential school trips may be seen as vital by tourism and leisure industry professionals (Chauvin Report, 2008; Livre Bleu du Nautisme Finistérien 2015–2020).

Although these residential trips have a pedagogical value that is recognised by most teachers, as well as obvious political and socio-economic benefits, organising them is made increasingly difficult by strong regulatory and safety constraints, the increasing complexity of budgetary arrangements, reduced government involvement and changes in parent expectations. And there is no doubt that the health situation caused by Covid-19 will only exacerbate these difficulties. While there has, generally speaking, been a decrease in both number of residential school trips and the length of stay and even the distance travelled, the situation seems to be quite mixed across France. Some schools do not currently offer these types of trips and some still include them as a matter of course due to their teachers’ conviction and to longstanding partnerships with local authorities or specific centres. The reality is that organizing a residential school trip means overcoming some major organizational difficulties. For example, in the Paris region, both seaside and winter sports trips are a political priority, but not all schools in the region partake in this offer. Here too, key factors seem to be socio-economic configurations and teacher and parent motivations.

Expected contributions

Contributions should be organised around different research areas within this context, such as the following non-exhaustive list:

  • Pedagogical: Development of a different pedagogical approach that is more invested in education through discovery and practice – Imagination of the elsewhere – Travel as an educational space-time experience – Outdoor education – Children-teacher connections – Social learning linked to everyday communal living and discovering other environments, etc.
  • Social: Diversity – Comparison of different ways of living – Jobs – Intersectional approach to inequalities (of class, race, gender or disability) in this socialisation of travel, etc.
  • Tourism: Contribution of residential school trips to local tourism development – Education in travel and otherness – Children and adults returning to the areas where they attended their residential school trips, etc.
  • Political: Local development – Ripple effect on peripheral areas, like mountains and certain coastlines, etc.

Projected timeline

  • January 15, 2021: deadline for sending text proposals (1 page presenting title, abstract, key words and short bibliography) to the coordinators of this special issue.

  • February 15, 2021: coordinators provide feedback to authors on their text proposal.
  • May 2021: submission of the first versions of the finalised articles (see author guidelines).
  • June to October 2021: expert appraisals and exchanges between coordinators and authors.
  • October 2021: texts sent to the journal for expert appraisals.
  • January 2022: journal sends out expert appraisals.
  • April 2022: authors receive and validate texts.
  • April-June 2022: publication of the special issue.

Author guidelines

(preparation and presentation of contributions)

  • Language of the article: French. Articles may be submitted in English: once accepted, articles in English will need to be translated by the organizers into French in cooperation with the authors (details of the translation process and requirements to be provided nearer the time).
  • Article length: articles should not exceed 15 A4 pages, that is, approximately 40,000 characters (including spaces and notes).
  • Body of the text:

Author names: not in capitals in the body of the text or the footnotes.

N.B.: Author quotations must be in quotation marks and not italics (italics are only to be used for book titles and for expressions such as a priori and sic).

Citation references: in parentheses in the body of the text (not to appear in the footnotes), for example:

Bachelard underlines this dualism: the “laboratory” on the one hand, and “living together” on the other, and researcher exchanges (Bachelard, 1966, pp. 12-13).

Interview extracts: 1 cm indentation (left and right) and font size smaller than that of the text.

  • Bibliography: no more than 30 references, author last names must be written in small capitals, and the year must appear at the end of the bibliographic reference for books and immediately after the journal title for journal articles (please see examples below).

Setting out bibliographical references: examples


Vergnioux A. (Ed.). Penser l’éducation. Notions clés pour une philosophie de l’éducation. Paris: ESF, 2005.

Book chapter

Zonabend F. Temps et contretemps. In: CHALANSET A. & DANZIGER C. (Ed.). Nom, prénom: la règle et le jeu. Paris: Autrement, 1994, pp. 92-99.

Journal article

Houssaye J. Le centre de vacances et de loisirs prisonnier de la forme scolaire. Revue française de pédagogie, 1998, no 125, pp. 95-107.

PhD thesis

Thin D. Les relations entre enseignants, travailleurs sociaux et familles populaires urbaines: une confrontation inégale. PhD thesis in Sociology. Lyon: Université Lyon 2, 1994.

Conference paper

Author Surname. Title of presentation. In: Name, date and place of conference. City: editor, year of publication.

  • Title, abstract and key-words: to be submitted in English. Articles must be accompanied by a 10-line abstract and 5 keywords. The title, abstract and keywords of the article must be provided in English.
  • Notes: to appear at the bottom of the page and not at the end of the document.
  • Graphs or diagrams: to appear in their original format in the body of the text and in


[1]In France, residential school trips (“classes de découverte” or “classes transplantées”) are officially defined in a circular dated 5 January 2005 as follows: stays of at least five days and four nights, thus enabling pupils to have a proper break from their usual classroom context and space and giving them a change of scenery and an opportunity to learn about community life that everyone should experience at least once during their schooling (translated from French). As it stands, it is the length of stay rather than content (activities, etc.) that seems to define such a trip in the literature, which is similar to how touristic and other commercial trips are defined. The limitations of such a definition are clear, however, because the promoters and actors associated with these programmes recognise first and foremost their profound educational and social dimension.


  • Friday, January 15, 2021


  • Julien Fuchs
    courriel : julien [dot] fuchs [at] univ-brest [dot] fr

Information source

  • Julien Fuchs
    courriel : julien [dot] fuchs [at] univ-brest [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Residential school trips in France and internationally: current research », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, https://doi.org/10.58079/15gx

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