Tour to the Capital

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools had their Year 6 tours to Canberra cancelled. In the years which followed, a greater emphasis on health considerations prompted many schools to explore alternative tour options to Canberra. With business taken away from the ACT, a tour institution which has been a goliath for decades has been heavily impacted. However, there are a number of reasons why Canberra should remain on a school tour itinerary and why Ipswich Grammar School have decided to persist with it. COVID-19 has presented an opportunity for many much-visited destinations since the 1980s to have a much-needed facelift and our recent Year 6 tour reaffirmed that we have made the right choice in visiting our nation’s beautiful capital city.

Seventy-four of our Year 6 boys and 6 accompanying staff members participated in the annual the Canberra tour experience last week, from Tuesday 31 October to Friday 3 November. All attendees returned home exhausted from a packed schedule but excited to relay the wonderful experience they had shared in together. Their active engagement and reflections reaffirmed that the Canberra Tour goes beyond traditional classroom learning and contributes to well-rounded, informed, and engaged future leaders. Continuing to send students on a Canberra tour offers numerous educational, cultural, and personal development benefits, including:

  • The relevance of sites: Canberra is home to many important national institutions, such as the Australian Parliament House, the Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian War Memorial. Boy’s learning about Australia's history, culture, and political system in the institutions in which athletes train, politicians’ debate and memorials exist engages their senses and emotions in real-time experiences.
  • Hands-on Civic Education: Students gain a deeper understanding of democracy, governance, and the political process, fostering civic engagement and responsible citizenship. Many of Canberra's tour destinations offer interactive exhibits and educational programs, making learning experiential, engaging and memorable.
  • Inspiration for Future Careers: Our boys visited a variety of organisations in which they were spoken to by experts in the fields of science, technology, government, and the arts. This presents an opportunity to inspire them to consider careers in various fields, including STEM, public services, and the creative arts.
  • Strengthening Bonds: The Canberra Tour supports our boys in building stronger bonds with their peers and teachers. The challenge of the tour leads to deeper friendships and a sense of community. There is significance in eating, travelling, getting ready and collaborating in a group from 6:00am until 10:00pm for 4 days straight. Boys are given an opportunity to share their life experiences and learn from each other.
  • Life Skills Development: The Canberra Tour teaches our boys important life skills, including responsibility, time management, budgeting, and self-reliance. These skills are valuable for personal growth and independence. Conquering challenges and experiencing new environments can boost boys' self-confidence and provide a sense of achievement.

The Canberra Tour creates lasting memories for our boys, fostering a sense of pride and connection to their country's history and culture. It offers students the chance to learn, explore, and grow while gaining a deeper appreciation for their country and its heritage.

Matt Knight

Deputy Head of the Junior School