A successful school trip, visit or exchange can greatly enhance the curriculum provision and will serve to motivate students and staff.
Educational Trips and Visits
Plume School Educational Visits Policy
A successful school trip, visit or exchange can greatly enhance the curriculum provision and will serve to motivate students and staff. On the other hand, when things go wrong it can be demoralising, stressful, disastrous or potentially tragic. By following the instructions and guidelines set out it is hoped that the majority of problems and pitfalls can be avoided and that all participants will return safely, enriched by the experience.
The advice, guidelines and suggested procedures outlined however are no substitute for referring to and complying with existing legislation in regard to school trips, visits and exchanges. The LEA provides specific documentation for all school trips, visits and exchanges. Every Faculty has been issued with a folder containing all the relevant documentation and this will be updated as and when new guidelines are issued. There is no alternative but to read and heed the official guidelines. In an increasingly litigious society, failure to comply with LEA guidelines is tantamount to negligence.
Responsibilities of the School Governors
The School Governors are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the staff and students, and in so far as is reasonably practicable, for ensuring the safety of anyone else on the premises or anyone who may be affected by their activities. This responsibility extends to participants in off-site visits. The Governing Body may delegate this responsibility to the Headteacher.
The Governing body of the school should:
- Ensure that the visit has a specific and stated objective
- Ensure that the plans for the visit comply with the regulations and guidelines provided by Essex LEA and set out in the school’s Educational Trips and Visits Policy and procedures for trips and visits
- Evaluate the visit in light of the groups leader written evaluation after a category 3/4 visit
- Assess proposals for visits in risk category 3 and 4.
Responsibilities of the Headteacher and /or the Designated Educational Visits Co-ordinator (EVC)
The Headteacher (for residential visits) or the designated EVC (for day visits) must grant permission at least one calendar month before any visit takes place. In addition, the Headteacher/EVC should ensure that:
- The visit complies with the regulations and guidelines provided by Essex Lea and the school's own Trips and Visits policy document
- If the proposed trip/visit is category 3 or 4 it is logged with the LEA through their online procedures. The risk assessment, which has been written by the team leader, will be entered onto the LEA Trips and Visits website as well as details of the proposed visit. The LEA’s EVC will then check that the visit complies with the regulations and guidelines provided by Essex Lea and will make the final decision as to whether the visit can go ahead
- A school Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) is appointed to oversee the policy and processes of planning and organising trips and visits The group leader is competent to monitor the risks throughout the visit
- The group leader is competent to monitor the risks throughout the visit
- They are clear about their role if taking part in the visit as a group member or supervisor they must follow the instructions of the group leader who has sole charge of the visit
- Adequate child protection procedures are in place
- Training needs have been assessed by a competent person and that the needs of the staff and students have been considered
- The accreditation or verification of service providers has been checked
- Consideration is given to financial management, choice of contractors and contractual relationships in order to obtain best value obtain best value
- The group leader has experience in supervising the age groups going on the visit and will organise the group effectively
- The group leader or another teacher is suitably competent to instruct the activity and is familiar with the location or centre where the activity will take place.
- Non-teaching supervisors on the visits are vetted and appropriate people supervise students
- The ratio of supervisors to students is appropriate and complies with Essex or Governing Body guidelines
- Where appropriate Essex LEA has approved the visit
- The risk assessment has been completed and appropriate safety measures are in place
- The provision of adequate first aid is available
- The mode of transport is suitable
- Travel times out and back are known, including pick-up and drop-off points
- There is adequate and relevant insurance cover
- The address and telephone number of a named contact at the visit’s venue is available
- A school contact is nominated and that details on this contact are passed to the groups leader
- The school contact, group leader and all group supervisors have the names of all the participants traveling in the group, including contact details of the designated next of kin
- All necessary actions have been completed before the visits begin
Responsibilities of the Group Leader
Only one teacher should have overall responsibility for the supervision and conduct of the visit. The group leader should:
- obtain the prior agreement and approval of Sarah Dignasse (for residential) or the school’s EVC (for day), before any off-site visit
- follow LEA and school regulations, guidelines and policies – a copy of which is held in each Faculty
- appoint a deputy leader
- clearly define each group supervisor’s role and ensure all tasks have been assigned
- be able to control and lead students of the relevant age range
- be suitably competent to instruct students in an activity and be familiar with the location or centre where the activity will take place. If using external instructors ensure that they are suitably qualified
- be aware of child protection issues
- ensure adequate first aid provision
- undertake and complete a comprehensive risk assessment
- regularly review undertaken visits or activities and advise the EVC where adjustment may be necessary in existing guidelines
- ensure that all participating teachers, supervisors and students are fully aware of what the proposed visit involves
- obtain sufficient information about participating students to assess their suitability and be confident that all students participating will behave in an appropriate manner
- ensure that the ratio of supervisors to students is appropriate for the needs of the group
- Inform the Headteacher of any plans to use supervisors not employed by the school so that they can be appropriately vetted and approved
- consider stopping the visit if the risk to health or safety of the students is unacceptable, and have in place procedures for such an eventuality
- ensure that group supervisors have details of the school contact
- ensure that group supervisors and the school contact have a copy of the emergency procedures and a copy of a contingency plan for any delays, including a late return home
- ensure that group supervisors have the details of students’ special educational or medical needs and are familiar with any specific intervention that they may need to make
- ensure that parents have signed the consent forms and arrangements have been made to meet the medical needs of all participants
- observe the guidance set out for teachers and other adults involved in school visits
- make clear the responsibility of teachers, non-teaching supervisors and students as outlined below
- ensure arrangements are set up with Finance for the collection of payments for visits
- ensure that all supervisors observe the guidance set out for teachers and other adults involved in the school visit.
- on return to school ensure students are safely collected or arrangements are in place for them to get home safely. produce a written evaluation on a category 3/4 visit and submit a copy of the evaluation to the Chair of Governors, the Headteacher and the school’s EVC
Responsibility of participating teachers
- ensure the health and safety of everyone in the group and to act as a responsible parent would do in the same circumstances
- follow the instructions of the group leader and help with control and discipline
- notify the group leader and consider stopping the visit or the activity if they think the risk to health and safety of those in their charge is unacceptable
Responsibility of non-teaching adult supervisors
Non-teaching adults should be clear about their role and responsibility during the visit and must:
- ensure the health and safety of group members
- not be left in sole charge of students, except where it has been previously agreed as part of the risk assessment
- follow the instructions of the group leader and teacher supervisors
- help with control and discipline
- speak to the group leader or teacher supervisors if concerned about the health and safety of students at any time during the visit
Responsibility of participating students
Students whose behaviour may be considered to be a danger to themselves or to the group may be stopped from going on the visit.
Wherever possible, the curricular aims of the visit for these students should be fulfilled in other ways.
Participating students, as a minimum requirement must:
- not take unnecessary risks
- follow the instructions of the group leader and other supervisors including those at the venue of the visit
- dress and behave appropriately and responsibly
- be respectful and sensitive to local codes and customs, particularly when abroad
- look out for anything that might hurt or threaten them or anyone in the group and tell the group leader or supervisor about it.
If a student’s behaviour fails to meet the expected requirements on a visit, disciplinary procedures may be instigated in line with the School’s Discipline Policy
Responsibility of Parents
Parents should be able to make an informed decision about whether their child should go on the visit. The group leader should ensure that parents are given sufficient information in writing and are invited to any briefing sessions. Where appropriate, the group leader should tell the parents how they can help prepare their child for the visit. Special arrangements may be necessary for parents for whom English is a second language.
In addition, parents have a responsibility to:
- support the visit’s code of conduct
- agree the arrangements for sending students home early and agree who will meet the costs
- provide the group leader with emergency contact number(s)
- sign the consent form
- where appropriate, provide additional information about their child’s emotional, psychological and physical health which might be relevant to the visit.
To download an electronic copy of the educational trips and visits policy, please see the downloads section below.