This policy statement and guidelines are designed to be a practical guide and aid to any colleague who is planning an educational visit out of school. Its principal purpose is to ensure that every member of staff is working within both legal and school-based guidelines to ensure that any visit fits within the philosophy of our school and also adheres to health and safety legislation.

The policy also enables parents/carers and others to have a clear insight into how we plan and manage educational visits.

What is an Educational Visit?

An educational visit is any learning experience which takes place off of our school site.

Examples of visits local to the school which do not involve transport:

  • field work on the Coppy
  • looking at local buildings
  • choir singing at The Heritage Centre
  • etc

Examples of visits which involve transport:

  • museums/art galleries
  • theatres
  • cinema
  • sporting events
  • residentials
  • etc

The Visit Leaders

Visit leaders are in loco parentis and have a common law duty to act as a reasonable parent/carer whilst looking after the children in their care. They also have a responsibility, within their conditions of service, to maintain order and discipline and for safeguarding the health and safety of the children in their care.

Visit leaders always:

  • obtain permission for the visit to take place from the headteacher before the visit is booked
  • gain written parental/carer consent for the child to go on the visit. This does not apply if the visit is very local to the school and is covered by the Local Visits Permission Form completed by the parent//carer on admission.
  • ensure that the aims of the visit are matched to the needs of the children. Clear objectives have a major bearing on choice of venue, time of year for the visit to take place and the work and experiences planned for the children.

The Headteacher

It is the headteacher’s responsibility to ensure that all activities are planned properly and appropriately supervised and that risk assessments have been undertaken. Therefore it is essential that all colleagues follow the guidelines in this policy. The planning and safety implications are not negotiable.

Planning

It is important that, if possible, educational visits are built into initial curriculum planning when staff consider suitable options to enhance the children’s learning. The headteacher is consulted before the visit is booked.

Parents/carers are notified about a proposed visit as early as possible for ease of domestic financial planning.

The aims and objectives of the visit should be clearly identified in the planning and on the Educational Visit Planning Proforma that is used when planning visits. They should be relevant to both pupil and curriculum needs. Clearly identified, relevant aims and objectives lead to an appropriate choice of venue, appropriate pre-visit preparation and training, time of year, staffing and resources.

Appropriate risk assessments are put in place and the colleague planning the visit uses our “Educational Visits Checklist” to ensure that all elements and procedures have been covered/followed.

Charging for School Visits

When planning an educational visit towards which parents/carers will be asked to make a voluntary contribution or a charge is to made, if the visit is mainly or wholly outside of the school day, then staff complete a Costing Proforma which is completed and discussed with the headteacher BEFORE the visit is booked (refer to our Charging Policy(.

Payments for visits are collected by the class teacher, accounted for by a TA and sent to the school office for accounting/banking. Teachers keep a record of who has sent money.

Payments for any visit where parents/carers are able to pay in instalments are administered and recorded by support and administrative staff.

Preliminary Visits

It is essential that a preliminary visit is made to the site by key staff in order to:

  • plan appropriate activities
  • carry out risk assessments
  • locate toilets, shelter etc

Staffing ratios

There should always be adequate staffing for any visit out of school. Recommended staffing levels are:

Early Years              1:4

KS1                        1:6

KS2                        1:8

but ratios may vary according to the activity/risk factor.

Non-teacher supervision is very important but the following must be adhered to:

  • teachers and Learning Support/General/Nursery assistants must form not less than 50% of the minimum supervisory complement. If any colleague finds it difficult to achieve these levels they should consult with the headteacher.
  • Statemented children have 1:1 support on visits if required helpers are chosen for the specific contribution they can make.
  • All voluntary helpers must have enhanced CRB clearance.

Insurance

All colleagues must check with administrative staff that adequate insurance cover is in place for the visit to go ahead. It may be decided in consultation with the headteacher that enhanced insurance cover, in addition to the county cover, is appropriate. This should be borne in mind when costing the visit.

Parent/Carer Information and Consent

All parents/carers enrolling their child at our school are asked to sign a consent form to grant permission for the child to be taken out into the immediate local community for work throughout their time at Woodside. This is part of our admissions procedure. From that point parent/carers would only be informed that a local visit out of school is to take place and further consent forms would not be necessary. Parents/carers must be informed that a local visit is to take place as they have the right to refuse permission if they chose to do so.

All other visits must have permission given directly by the parent/carer. It is important to give the parent/carer details of the visit and what it will entail. This is particularly important for residential visits when both written and verbal (i.e. a formal meeting) communication takes place.

Children with Special Needs

If a pupil with special needs is in the group of children to be taken away then staff must be sure that:

  • staffing is adequate and appropriate: statemented children have 1:1 support if required
  • the terrain is appropriate (n.b. mobility issues)
  • risk assessments have been made
  • practical considerations (e.g. access to the coach, toilet facilities etc) have been thought out

Medical Arrangements/First Aid

Appropriate First Aid equipment should be carried on all school visits and trained first aider should be among the staffing complement. Staff should be aware of any specific medical needs of the children. Children should not carry their own medication (except inhalers). If in doubt staff should seek medical advice.

For residential visits, parents/carers need to complete a Confidential Information Form.

Safety

Safety must be the first consideration in relation to educational visits. Staff must make every effort to reduce the possibility of risk through:

  • a sound knowledge and understanding of the purpose of the visit
  • good preparation (n.b. preliminary visits)
  • effective discipline and control
  • effective supervision
  • appropriate work expectations
  • good planning
  • avoiding unplanned, spontaneous activities
  • having effective contingency plans if original plans become inappropriate e.g. if weather conditions are such that plans have to be changed

Formal risk assessments are undertaken prior to any visit.

Members of staff or voluntary helpers who use their own cars to transport children must check with their insurance company that their policy covers them for this type of use. Children should travel in rear seats and those under 1.35 m in height must also use an appropriate booster seat. Full seat belts must be worn BUT NOT LAP BELTS. The driver must be accompanied by another adult if he/she is transporting only one child.

Communication

  • It is essential that visit leaders have appropriate telephone numbers and addresses with them on the visit e.g. school, their destination etc.
  • Mobile phones must be taken on the visit. The school number must be programmed into the phone in case of an emergency.
  • Every visit out of school has a register of all children who are on the visit. A copy of this is left with administration staff.
  • Organisers of day visits that take place partly outside of school hours take a register of all children which includes home telephone numbers.
  • Organisers of any visit that returns after the end of the school day organise for a specific, named colleague to remain in school until the children arrive back safely. This will normally be the headteacher or deputy headteacher.
  • Organisers ensure that all supervisory staff, employed and volunteer, have copies of planning and risk assessment proformas.
  • Organisers of visits ensure that our Educational Visits Manager, Head and Deputy Headteacher and relevant Year Manager have copies of all visit planning/risk assessment proformas.

Emergency Procedures

Accidents may happen despite effective planning and control. Most injuries are likely to be minor and are easily dealt with by the organising staff as they would on a day-to-day basis in school. However, if something more serious occurs the following procedure is followed:

Control and Supervision of the Group

  • All staff are immediately informed of the problem. Action to be taken is decided
  • All group members are accounted for and their well-being is ensured
  • The names of the people involved in the incident are established and, if necessary, the nature and extent of any injuries
  • Any injured child/member of staff is accompanied to hospital by a member of staff
  • The consequent course of action is decided upon and shared with all staff

Information and Communication

  • Immediate contact is made with school and precise details of the incident are given (the headteacher, deputy headteacher or other designated senior member of staff)
  • Names of injured participants are only given to the emergency services
  • Supervisory staff avoid any dealings with the media
  • If the incident is serious the headteacher or his deputy contact the LA. The headteacher and education officers determine arrangements for dealing with the media.
  • Contact with parents/carers is as early as possible, consistent and accurate. It is vital to ensure parent/carer contact before the news spreads through the media. This contact should be made by the headteacher or his deputy.

REFER TO OUR CRITICAL INCIDENTS POLICY