My daughter has just appeared in from school with a letter. Her school (a comp in a predominantly working class area) is planning next year to take pupils skiing and shopping in North America for 10 days at a cost of £1400 each. They then whitter on about what a great educational experience this will be for the children involved. First 50 to send in £100 each will secure places. Poor mite had tears in her eyes as she handed over the letter, saying to me "I'd love to go, but I know it's too expensive and we can't afford it". So now I'm feeling like a bastard, wondering what can be shelved (like next years family holiday) to afford it. Can anybody who understands these things explain; 1. What's in it for the teachers? (I'm VERY suspicious that several teachers are going to fork out £1400 each for the privilege of shepherding a bunch of kids around a Ski Resort). 2. Is it normal for secondary schools to do trips of this cost and scale? (She's just started into secondary, I'd like to be forewarned before her siblings start over the next few years). 3. On a more general point, can trips like this really be justified in terms of the division and upset they cause to those (whom I suspect are the majority) who will look at the cost and say "no chance!".