Rationale

Staff should be given the training they need so they can keep themselves and children safe and manage risks effectively.

These notes cover all educational visits whether made during the normal School day or not.

Park Community School believes that it has a duty to educate young people to understand the wider world through educational experiences. These initiatives enable pupils to gain confidence in their own abilities, become independent, see the world through others’ eyes and to learn new skills and about other cultures. Children should be able to experience a wide range of activities. Health and safety measures should help them to do this safely, not stop them. It is important that children learn to understand and manage the risks that are a normal part of life. Common sense should be used in assessing and managing the risks of any activity. Health and safety procedures should always be proportionate to the risks of an activity.

It is the aim that every pupil will participate in at least one educational visit each year. Over the 7 years they are at School our aim is for each pupil to have participated in an overnight visit.

We also recognise that the health, safety and welfare of students and accompanying adults are of the highest priority and this is a responsibility shared with the adults on the trip, the Principal, the governors and the trustees of Chapel St.

Successful visits require good planning, clear guidelines and an effective assessment of risk will significantly reduce both the number and seriousness of accidents but cannot guarantee that educational visits are totally incident free. PCS will always encourage teachers and other members of staff to be involved in educational visits and for them not to be deterred by the potential hazards. To this end appropriate training will be provided for all those involved to ensure risks are minimised to a safe level.

Sources of information

Chapel Street Community Schools Trust expects that all DfE guidance will be followed in planning and executing visits. Some of the relevant guidance is:

DfE Health & Safety Advice 2012 http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/h/health%20and%20safety%20advice.pdf

Health & Safety Executive School Trips and Outdoor Learning Activities 2011 http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/School-trips.pdf

Other advice is available from www.rospa.com

Insurance

All students, employees of PCS and other authorised adults are insured for activities undertaken, away from the School’s premises provided that:

  • a full risk assessment has been completed;
  • the trip is an official School activity;
  • the trip is led by an employee of PCS or Chapel Street Community Schools Trust

There are a number of specific prohibited (high risk) activities which are not automatically covered under the Chapel Street Community Schools Trust‘s insurance policy but which may be included by special arrangement. Such activities include aerial pastimes including ballooning, bungee jumping, gliding, jet skiing, white water rafting, mountaineering or rock climbing involving the use of ropes, hiking or trekking over 4,000 metres. Schools are asked to contact Head Office for advice or further information.

Roles and Responsibilities

Chapel Street Community Schools Trust will require:

  • The Principal’s agreement must be obtained before each educational visit takes place.
  • A risk assessment must be made in relation to each educational visit. The risk assessment must be included in the documentation which the Principal sees when making a decision about whether the educational visit is agreed or not.
  • The School designates a suitably trained member of staff to act as the Educational Visits Co-ordinator (EVC) (or equivalent title).

Chapel Street Community Schools Trust has a responsibility for providing advice and guidance on Health & Safety issues, and for reviewing the Policy annually.

The Local Governing Body (“LGB”) is responsible

  • for monitoring compliance with Health & Safety standards
  • monitoring the effectiveness of this policy annually
  • to review the policy annually

The LGB and the Principal are responsible for publishing the policy and procedures for Educational Visits and to monitor compliance.

The Principal is responsible for:

  • designating a suitably trained member of the staff to act as the School’s EVC and ensuring they are appropriately trained
  • ensuring adherence to the policy and procedures
  • reporting any significant incident to the LGB and to the Chapel Street Community Schools Trust’s Health & Safety Officer.

The EVC must ensure that:

  • Local Academy Board and staff are informed of their responsibilities within the guidance
  • all staff involved with visits are suitably trained to carry out the requirements of this policy
  • records are kept of the educational visits for a minimum of 3 years

Compliance with the guidance remains a responsibility at all levels in the line management chain.

Supervision

The adult to child ratios will be according to the age of the children:

  • 1:3 for children in Reception
  • 1:6 for children in Years 1 – 3
  • 1:10 for children in Years 4 – 6
  • 1:4 for hazardous activities e.g. skiing or overnight visits in upper KS2
  • Plus appropriate staffing for statemented pupils.

Risk Assessment

Health and safety law requires the employer to assess the risks to the health and safety of staff and others affected by their activities. The terms risk assessment and risk management are used to describe the process of thinking about the risks of any activity and the steps taken to counter them. Sensible management of risk does not mean that a separate written risk assessment is required for every activity.

School employers should always take a common sense and proportionate approach, remembering that in schools, risk assessment and risk management are tools to enable children to undertake activities safely, and not prevent activities from taking place. Sensible risk management cannot remove risk altogether but it should avoid needless or unhelpful paperwork.

Some activities, especially those happening away from school, can involve higher levels of risk. If these are annual or infrequent activities, a review of an existing assessment may be all that is needed. If it is a new activity, a specific assessment of significant risks must be carried out. Head teachers should ensure that the person assigned with the assessment task understands the risks and is familiar with the activity that is planned. Where a risk assessment is carried out the employer must record the significant findings of the assessment.

However, schools need not carry out a risk assessment every time they undertake an activity that usually forms part of the school day, for example, taking pupils to a local venue which it frequently visits, such as a swimming pool, park, or place of worship. Any risks of these routine activities should already have been considered when agreeing the School’s general health and safety policies and procedures. A regular check to make sure the precautions remain suitable is all that is required.

Adventure activities using licensed providers

When planning an activity that will involve caving, climbing, trekking, skiing or water sports, schools must currently check that the provider holds a licence as required by the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004. These regulations apply to adventure activities that take place in England, Scotland and Wales but these arrangements may be subject to change in the future.

School staff driving the School minibus

School staff can drive the school minibus without any special licence, as long as their employer agrees and as long as the following conditions are met.

  • The staff member obtained their car driving licence before January 1997; OR
  • The staff member obtained their car driving licence later, but has held it for at least two years, AND
  • is not being paid to drive the minibus (because exemption depends on no consideration being received by the driver); AND
  • the minibus weighs no more than 3.5 tonnes and is not used for hire or reward

Parental consent to off-site activities

Written consent from parents is not required for pupils to take part in the majority of off-site activities organised by a school (with the exception of nursery age children) as most of these activities take place during school hours and are a normal part of a child’s education at school. However, parents should be told where their child will be at all times and of any extra safety measures required.

Written consent is usually only requested for activities that need a higher level of risk management or those that take place outside school hours. The Department has prepared a “one-off” consent form which schools can ask parents to sign when a child enrols at the school. This will cover a child’s participation in any of these types of activities throughout their time at the school. These include adventure activities, off-site sporting fixtures outside the school day, residential visits and all off-site activities for nursery schools which take place at any time (including during School holidays or at the weekend).

The form is available in Annex 5.

Parents must be told in advance of each activity and must be given the opportunity to withdraw their child from any particular school trip or activity covered by the form.

Click here to download the Educational Visits Policy Appendicies