School Trip Policies and Procedures
1. THE VALUE AND PURPOSE OF SCHOOL VISITS AND VENTURES
A great deal of attention is now paid to the quality and effectiveness of the learning opportunities offered to children and young people and the strategies used to promote best practice.
Attempts to enhance learning or provide realistic situations to use and apply knowledge, skills and understanding are at the forefront of good practice. Learning in its broadest sense, frequently turns to the exciting and stimulating environments that are provided outdoors. This may be just outside and beyond the classroom or group based, through journeying far and wide. Where these opportunities are well planned and structured, the values have been shown to be clear. The children have the opportunity to:-
Use and apply their knowledge and understanding outdoors, in a different and often more stimulating environment.
Focus on specific environments, from geography trails to problem solving and team challenges, to develop their organisational, team working and leadership skills.
Develop an awareness and understanding of environmental and sustainability issues, through fieldwork studies.
Raise their awareness and understanding of the wider safety issues through opportunities to become involved in risk assessment and risk management.
Learn new skills.
Reinforce existing skills and knowledge by putting theory into practice and through interaction with others.
Enjoy the experience and learn from it.
2. THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF LEARNING ACROSS AND BEYOND THE CURRICULUM
2.1 DEVELOPING KEY SKILLS
Using and applying knowledge, skills and understanding in different, realistic and exciting contexts.
Developing the ability to work co-operatively.
Developing the ability to communicate successfully.
Showing initiative and a positive attitude. Showing greater independence, moving towards self-reliance.
Becoming increasingly risk aware and increasing understanding and independent action.
2.2 RAISING ACHIEVEMENT BY BOOSTING SELF-ESTEEM AND MOTIVATION
Raising self-esteem through successful participation and enjoyment.
Developing a positive attitude to learning.
Helping demonstrate strengths and understanding of limitations.
2.3 DEVELOPING SOCIAL EDUCATION AND CITIZENSHIP
The ability to work with others, accept and support them, building relationships.
Learning to tolerate others and respect their views – understanding equal opportunities.
Learning to accept the consequences of their own actions.
Learning to defend their own point of view.
Encouraging a commitment to voluntary service.
Exploring attitudes and values they will carry into adult life.
2.4 PROMOTING EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
An appreciation of the natural world as a source of interest and challenge.
A concern for living things.
An understanding of the need for interdependence between people and the
Recognition of the effect of present actions on the future.
An increasing ability to access evidence and make personal decisions.
2.5 PROMOTING HEALTH AND FITNESS AND A POSITIVE USE OF LEISURE
Developing a positive attitude to physical activities and a healthy lifestyle.
Developing and experiencing physical fitness and well-being.
Achieving success in physical activities.
Developing self-respect and self-discipline and the ability to cope with
3. UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS
Serious accidents during educational visits and adventurous activities are rare as they take place in controlled and safe environments. However, when school visits or ventures do go wrong, they hit the media headlines, going straight to the top of national and local coverage, whilst similar and far more frequent incidents in other contexts do not. It is necessary, therefore, to have a realistic and balanced view.
The key roles and responsibilities of the School, the Headmistress, The Senior Management Team, and the Heads of Sections/Departments, Group Leaders and support staff/helpers, when taking children on out of school activities are set out in this policy. We have a duty to ensure that:
We make our children more risk aware and able to manage themselves.
Parents and others with that responsibility are:-
1) made fully aware of the risks involved in educational visits and adventurous activities.
2) shown how these risks are managed.
3) informed of what strategies are to be put in place to make them manageable.
Once this information is in place, parents are able to make an informed decision about giving their consent. Explanation and parental consent does not remove the responsibilities of the School under health and safety law.
4. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AND INCLUSION
Everyone concerned needs to ensure that every effort is made to include all children. The challenge is to make these activities available and accessible in some form to all who wish to participate or are required to take part. This would be irrespective of their special educational or medical need, disability, ethnic origin, sex or religion. It needs to be remembered that this must be done whilst maintaining the safety of all those concerned, the integrity of the activity and the ability to manage the visit or venture. These are significant factors to be managed, which may over-ride other considerations.
5. ESTABLISHING THE EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF ALL VISITS, VENTURES AND ACTIVITIES
All activities organised through the School are expected to have a clear educational value. It is important that this is identified and understood by everyone concerned, in order that:
High expectations are to be set and codes of behaviour agreed.
Roles and responsibilities are to be clearly identified and determined.
Appropriate strategies are used to realise the aims.
Parents and others are fully informed of the nature of the venture. The Head, The Senior Management Team and Group Leaders must each, in their own way, satisfy themselves that the appropriate strategies are in place to make them happen. At an appropriate stage, aims, objectives and expectations should be shared with the group. Without such a focus, the key elements of the venture and its full potential are unlikely to be realised. The more positively they are thought through and planned for, the more successful the outcomes.
6. HEALTH AND SAFETY REGULATIONS
Everyone involved in working with children is aware of the importance of health and safety. Quite simply, nobody would want any harm to come to anyone involved in an educational visit, off-site venture or adventurous activity. Whilst the School, the Headmistress and the Health and Safety Officer have particular responsibilities, it is a responsibility shared by everyone within the school.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999 set out responsibilities. Legislation is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive.
7. INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR VISITS
7.1 THE HEADMISTRESS
This is the key role for ensuring that the management of visits and ventures meets the regulations and conforms to the school’s health and safety policy. This management of trips needs clear expectations and standards that can be achieved to make the most of the positive learning opportunities presented. Any delegation of responsibilities must be done with a clear rationale, derived from a good knowledge of the people concerned; the visits and activities; the aims and objectives; and the risk assessments required.
7.2 THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER
The Headmistress has delegated some of the responsibility for overseeing the Health and Safety of Trips to a designated, senior member of staff on the SMT.
7.3 THE GROUP LEADER
This is the person with overall responsibility for the administration, programme, supervision and conduct of the venture. He/she is therefore an important part of the health and safety and good practice support system, and should both understand his/her own responsibilities and those of the other people in the process who contribute to their support, success and confidence. Expectations of pupil behaviour on trips fall within the school’s Discipline Policy.
7.4 MEMBERS OF THE GROUP WITH SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES
These people will assist the Group Leader in all their tasks and activities and will need to demonstrate person specific, pastoral, technical and management expertise. The list of responsibilities and competencies for the members of the group will need to be supplemented according to circumstances.
7.5 RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHILDREN
It is essential that all groups are made as aware and active in the process of
managing the visit or venture as they can be.
Procedures, group and supervision strategies must be explained and
Individual and group responsibilities need to be clear, as well as the rewards
and sanctions for ensuring they are kept to.
A Code of Conduct, negotiated and agreed in an acceptable way, is a key
component of educational visits e.g. communication, behaviour, dress, group
supervision and “down time”.
It may be necessary to have individual behaviour contracts with some young
people, signed by themselves and their parents.
Everyone should be as risk aware as is realistic. Any children whose behaviour may be considered to be a danger to themselves or to the group may be stopped from going on the visit. The curricular aims of the visit for these pupils should be fulfilled in other ways wherever possible.
8. APPROVAL SYSTEMS
The Headmistress is responsible for approving all new visits or ventures that take place. Before approval is given, information is gained from the Centres/Providers of the activities to ensure that health and safety, Risk Assessment and operating procedures are in place. Centres/Providers will be checked for their appropriateness, their leader’s qualifications and basic operating procedures. These checks will be carried out annually where repeat visits are planned.
9. SCHOOL TRIPS INSURANCE
Pupils' Personal Accident Insurance (incl Dental).
This insurance covers the risk of an accident happening to a pupil that causes bodily injury resulting in death, permanent disability or loss of limbs or sight. Dental treatment up to specified limits is included. All pupils at Riverston are included in the scheme (premium included in school fees). Cover runs from the first day of the first term to the end of the last term a child is at Riverston, including the holiday.
Travel Insurance worldwide, including Winter sports.
Cover for all persons authorised by the school to undertake a journey, i.e. school trips abroad. There are certain exclusions re dangerous activities, i.e. Jet skiing, quad biking, paragliding etc.
Public Liability Insurance.
For the ski trips/tours/ abroad we always hand out copies of our travel insurance details so if parents are not happy with our cover they can take out their own insurance.
10. RISK ASSESSMENT AND RISK MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS
Risk Assessment and risk management are legal requirements. It also needs to be acknowledged that the process represents and promotes good practice. “Working in the outdoors” encompasses many activities, from using the local environment as an outdoor classroom through to taking part in recognised ʻhazardousʼ activities. What they all have in common is to use an exciting and stimulating environment to promote learning and personal development. However, if personal development and increasing self-reliance are to be achieved, then we must properly assess, prepare for, and manage any significant hazards in these environments and the risks they present. The process of Risk Assessment involves the Group Leader and his team in:-
Looking for and at the hazards involved.
Identifying and assessing the risks.
Deciding what control measures need to be put in place to eliminate or minimise the risk.
Recording the findings.
The Risk Assessments are carried out before and during the visit to ensure that the assessment is still relevant. The Risk Assessment which is carried out prior to the trip/activity is compiled and agreed with consultation and liaison with the Headmistress and the person in charge of organising the trip. The Risk Assessment is signed by the Headmistress. If the organiser has any concerns about the trip, they will refer these to the Headmistress. A proposed new trip which was not organized the previous year must be sanctioned first by the Headmistress for appropriateness.
Supervision is a key element in the success of any venture. It will determine not only the health and safety of the children and their leaders, but also the quality of the overall experience, enabling learning to take place as well as allowing all those concerned to enjoy the experience and derive satisfaction from it. Good supervision requires everyone involved knowing what strategies are to be used and what their roles and responsibilities are, as well as having a clear picture of the expectations placed upon them. It is a team effort and shared responsibility, based on small manageable tasks and relationships building into a larger successful system and partnership. The ratio of competent adults to children for trips is determined by the risk assessment carried out by the Group Leader.
The ratios recommended by RoSPA are as follows:
1:15 for all visits where the element of risk is similar to the risks encountered in
1:10 for all trips abroad;
1:6 for children under eight and/or where the children have special needs
1:5 or less for high risk activities
Although ratios will depend on the nature of the activity, the age range of the children and any specific needs of the children, a general guideline to the ratios for trips in the Middle and Upper School is as follows:
1) For Middle and Upper School sports fixtures at other schools, the ratio can be up to 1:15.
2) For Middle and Upper School trips where the majority of the time is spent at another school, the ratio is 1:12.
3) For Middle and Upper School day trips outside of a school environment, the ratio is 1:10. (an example would be a theatre trip or a museum/farm visit)
4) For Middle and Upper School overnight trips, the ratio is 1:8.
During the risk assessment procedure, group leaders and staff should note that the organiser may consider that extra staffing is required, based on the nature of the activity and the age and/abilities of the children. If a centre is used for the trip, it is important to note that their own risk assessments may insist upon specific ratios that we must adhere to, regardless of our own opinions.
12. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AND INCLUSION
The school ensures that every effort is made to include all children in all activities. We strive to make these activities available and accessible in some form to all who wish to participate or are required to take part irrespective of their special educational or medical needs, ethnic origin, sex or religion. The needs of the child will, however, be balanced against maintaining the safety of the group as a whole.
13. COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS OR PERSONS WITH PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Communication with parents will be clear, as full as required and interactive, so that questions can be asked and queries answered. Parents’ consent to a visit or venture should be based on a good understanding of the purposes, nature and programme for a visit or venture. Parents should be kept informed of any off-site activity (simply defined as outside the school or school gates). The direct phone contacts of parents are available to the group leader at all times. The school operates a ʻClarion Callʼ system which can be used to assist with communication with parents for the duration of the trip. Group Leaders must familiarize themselves with this system before departure.
14. SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN
All children have the right to be protected from harm. An educational visit, off-site and residential activities, provide a stimulating learning, environmental and, in many cases a different and more relaxed or interactive environment. The school is committed to ensuring that:-
Safeguarding Children procedures are initiated
Ensuring clear lines of communication and effective liaison between staff managing and supervising this work.
Ensuring clear lines of communication and effective liaison between all agencies responsible for the safety and welfare of children.
Enabling children to understand their rights and recognise and deal with unsafe situations.
Implementing the policy and procedures of the Schoolʼs Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures. CRB checks are current/carried out on all volunteers for overnight stays.
15. FIRST AID
The Schoolʼs Health and Safety Policy ensures that, as far as possible, the school is an accident-free environment. The same standards apply to off-site, including all forms of visit and ventures. The provision of a first-aider does not prevent accidents, but it is an important part of the control measures that follow risk assessment.
The School provides adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel at its locations to enable employees, pupils and visitors to be given first aid.
Decisions about the deployment of first aiders on visits and ventures are based on risk assessments, which consider:
1) The hazards in any environment and the risks they present.
2) Any generic policies in place.
3) The group and its needs (including medical)
4) The leaders and activities to be undertaken
5) The transport arrangements.
6) The remoteness of any location and the ability to summon support.
7) What first aid qualifications and experience are available at the trips providers
8) The history of any incidents or accidents in similar contexts.
Cover is proportional to the risk, rather than to group numbers or similar criteria.
It is the responsibility of the group leader to ask for a list of specific medical needs (including allergies) prior to every trip.
16. RECORDING AND REPORTING INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS
Accidents to children, leaders and volunteers will be recorded or reported in accordance with the established procedures. All accidents and emergencies will be recorded, no matter how minor. Any serious injuries must not only be recorded but also reported to the person nominated as RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995). This person will normally be the Headmistress or those responsible for the Safeguarding of Children or the Senior Master or Senior Mistress for a particular department of the school.
The types of injuries that must follow these procedures are:
Fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs or toes
Dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine
Loss of sight (temporary or permanent)
Chemical or hot metal burn to the eye or any penetrating injury to the eye
Injury or illness resulting from an electric shock or electrical burn leading to unconsciousness or requiring resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
Any other injury leading to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or unconsciousness or requiring resuscitation or requiring admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours. In the case of a serious injury, the parents and the Headmistress will be informed as soon as possible.
Transport arrangements are an essential part of school visits or ventures. The Schoolʼs own school minibuses and approved coach companies provide most of the local off-site road transport services. Where off-site visits and ventures involve long distance travel by road, it may be necessary for the Group Leader to contact other coach companies or other travel providers. The Use of Private Cars: - the schoolʼs insurance provides cover for occasional use of staff cars when necessary. When this is necessary, the trip leader will request this confirmation of cover directly from the Headmistress prior to planning transport arrangements.
18. VISITS ABROAD
Trips abroad call for even greater care, organisation and planning than trips and adventures at home. There are three options open to schools planning a trip abroad
a) Using a commercial travel agent specialising in school journeys, who will organise travel, hotels, visits and all necessary details. Travel Agents who are members of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) are governed by ABTAʼs code of conduct.
b) Using the services of one of the voluntary bodies established to promote school journeys, such as The School Journey Association of London (SJA) or the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges (CBEVE). Wherever possible, schools should use companies which are members of the School Travel Forum. Member companies must abide by the Forum's code of conduct.
c) Do-it-Yourself. A school may decide to make all, or most, of its own arrangements. Using reputable and experienced tour operators can be an advantage but school trip organisers should not see this as a substitute for the careful investigation and planning that school trips require.
The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No.328) (From DTI)
These regulations implement the EC Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Directive (90/314/EEC) requiring organisations to provide fair and guaranteed conditions and operate a bonding scheme to protect any prepayments made. One of the fundamental reasons for the introduction of these regulations is to prevent financial loss in the event of the solvency of a tour operator. In 1993, a number of school travel companies did collapse. None of them were members of the School Travel Forum. A package is defined as the pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following: transport, accommodation and other tourist services. Whether a school chooses to use a tour company or to organise its own trip abroad, it must take account of the provisions of the 1992 Regulations. The Regulations offer three choices for protection of pre-payments, one of which must be used by the organiser: Bonding, Insurance against insolvency, Trust accounts.
For schools making their own arrangements, trust accounts are the only real option. The fund should be separate from the general school fund, the moneys being placed in a separate account under the control of a trustee. This will also be under the scrutiny of the schoolʼs auditors. Consider taking legal advice.
Ten Key Points for trips abroad
1) Travel documentation: Allow plenty of time to organise travel documentation. Take advice from your LEA, and/or Home Office Immigration and Nationality Department if you are unsure about any aspect of obtaining correct documentation
2) Foreign Language: At least one adult member of the party should be able to speak the language of the country fluently. It is desirable if everyone knows the basics of the language
3) Foreign Culture: Encourage the children to sample the country’s cuisine BEFORE the visit and teach them something about the countryʼs culture, especially laws and customs. Warn of the dangers of drinking tap water abroad
4) Health, fitness and general safety: Be familiar with potential health and safety risks. Party members must have recommended vaccinations. Take insect repellent and water sterilising tablets together with a basic first aid kit. Know how to avoid sunburn and de-hydration. Inform the children about rabies and warn them on no account must a child be allowed out alone while abroad. Everyone in the group should know what to do in the event of an emergency - accident or illness
5) Residential centres and hotel: As many checks as necessary should be made to ensure that the centre is suitable. It is recommended that team leaders make enquiries about fire safety checks on the hotels to be used and ensure a fire evacuation procedure is carried out on arrival at the hotel
6) Identification of group member: It is recommended that each child is given a distinctive badge to wear and should carry a card giving the address of the groupʼs accommodation written in the language of the country being visited
7) Luggage: As little and as light as possible with shoulder straps or secure handles.
8) British Embassy and British Customs: Know where the nearest British Embassy is situated in relation to where you will be staying. Know how to get through British Customs with groups of young people
9) Leaderʼs Information: The party leader will need to carry all necessary information. This will include:
The Headmistress home address and telephone number
The names of parents and addresses and telephone numbers at which they can be contacted
Copies of a list of group members.
Insurance: Double check that your insurance cover is appropriate to the visit.
10) Full details of the visit should also be retained at the school while the visit is