Educational Visits Policy - Health & Safety of Students on Educational Visits

Status:

Ratified

Drafted by:

Jocelyn Glossop

Ratified by Governors:

25/2/16

The Governing Body is responsible for establishing and maintaining this policy and for ensuring that it is followed.  The Governing Body delegates authority to the Learning Provision Committee, advised by the Principal, to administer this policy on its behalf.  The Principal is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Learning Provision Committee and for complying with this policy. The policy applies to the Principal and to all staff employed by the Academy.

Policy Aims

Students at Route 39 Academy will derive educational benefit from taking part in visits. In particular, they have the opportunity to undergo experiences not available in the classroom and learn at first hand. Visits help to develop a student’s investigative skills and longer visits in particular encourage greater independence. All visits must be planned to ensure balanced views are provided.

This policy is designed to ensure that Students stay safe and healthy on Academy visits. The Principal should ensure that all visits comply with regulations and guidelines provided by the LA, Governing Body and the Academy’s own Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy.

Types of Visit

At Route 39 Academy we aim to arrange regular trips/visits to support the teaching of various curriculum areas and our project based learning approach. Visits to the local area are actively encouraged, whenever relevant, and should not incur a cost to parents other than a voluntary contribution to any travel costs or entrance fees.

Regular Visits:

During a student’s time in the Academy, there may well be the opportunity for regular visits, e.g. attending a local pool for swimming lessons Extended curriculum choices may incur a voluntary contribution and the Academy will support any students from low income families, to access this wider curriculum.

Local Visits:

During the term teachers may plan to take classes on local walks as part of their project. Permission does not need to be requested from parents as a general consent form is signed on admission to the Academy for this purpose. The exception to this is any local visit that involves participation in an activity deemed an adventurous activity.

Adventurous Activities:

During the extended curriculum students may opt for adventurous activities. These are any activities that necessitate an expert coach and have associated risks through participation. These activities should be planned and follow the guidance in this policy.

Residential Trips:

At different phases of a student’s Academy career, there will be the opportunity to participate in residential visits, some of which will be overseas. The visit should be should be well planned following guidance in this policy. All outdoor activities should be planned for and led by experienced and qualified outdoor education teachers.

All Visits:

Visits should be arranged relevant to the subject, project and phase of the students. They should be well planned and follow the guidance in this policy and associated procedures. For any off site activity, residential, foreign or adventurous activities the Academy pays to use BABCOCK EVOLVE.

1.0 Roles & responsibilities

Governors should satisfy themselves that:

Principals/Educational Visits Coordinators should ensure that:

The Group Leader should:

Teachers should:

Support staff/parents acting as supervisors must:

Responsibilities of Students

The Group Leaders should make it clear to students that they must:

Any students whose behaviour may be considered to be a danger to themselves or to the group may be stopped from going on or participating in a visit. The curricular aims of the visit for these students should be fulfilled in other ways wherever possible.

Parents

Parents will need to:

Planning

Whether the visit is to a local park, museum or swimming pool, or includes a residential stay, it is essential that formal planning takes place before setting off. This involves considering the dangers and difficulties which may arise and making plans to reduce them. In practice, either the Principal or Educational Visits Coordinator - who are responsible for authorising visits - will delegate the detailed planning to the organiser of the visit or the Group Leader.

All Route 39 Academy visits will be logged on BABCOCK EVOLVE.

2.0 Risk assessment

An assessment should be completed by the Group Leader well before the visit, and should be approved by the Principal or nominated officer. A formal assessment of the risks that might be met on a visit should have the aim of preventing the risks or reducing them. Students must not be placed in situations which expose them to an unacceptable level of risk. Safety must always be the prime consideration. If the risks cannot be contained then the visit must not take place.

The risk assessment should be based on the following considerations:

The person carrying out the risk assessment should record it and provide a copy to all teachers/ supervisors on the visit, with details of the measures they should take to avoid or reduce the risks. The Principal should also be given a copy so that approval, as necessary, can be given with a clear understanding that effective planning has taken place.

Frequent visits to local venues such as swimming pools may not need a risk assessment every time. Nevertheless, it is essential not to become complacent. A generic assessment of the risks of such visits should be reappraised on each visit, and careful monitoring should take place. The Group Leader and other supervisors should monitor the risks throughout the visit and take appropriate action as necessary.

The Group Leader should take the following factors into consideration when assessing the risks:

Exploratory visit

An exploratory visit should be made by any teacher who is to lead a group on a residential visit or who is to instruct or lead the group in an outdoor activity such as trekking in a location that is not familiar to them.

In other cases the Group Leader should undertake an exploratory visit, wherever that is possible, to:

If in the last resort an exploratory visit is not feasible then the Group Leader will need to consider how to complete an adequate assessment of the risks. A minimum measure would be to obtain specific information by letter from the venue, from other schools who have recently visited it, and from local organisations such as tourist boards. Our subscription to BABCOCK and logging of activities and visits on EVOLVE also supports this work.

Other considerations

Other factors which should form part of the planning stage include:

3.0 Financial planning & Charging

The Group Leader should ensure that there are sufficient funds in the Academy visits fund to cover the cost of the visit. Parents should not be asked to contribute additional funds for day curriculum visits. For residential visits, parents should have early written information about the costs of the visit at least six weeks before the proposed visit, and how much each parent will be charged or asked to contribute. Parents should be given enough time to prepare financially for the visit (arrangements can be made for payment in instalments). It may be useful to break the costs down into subheadings such as travel, accommodation, meals etc.

Charging for visits

The education provided wholly or mainly during Academy hours should be free. The Principal can ask for a voluntary contribution. Parents should be made aware that the contribution is not compulsory, and the children of parents who do not contribute may not be discriminated against. It is permissible to ask parents to contribute more than the minimum amount in order to subsidise those students whose parents have not contributed. In the last resort, the visit may have to be cancelled if there are not enough voluntary contributions and the shortfall cannot be made up.

The Principal may, however, charge parents for board and lodging on residential visits as well as the full costs when a visit is deemed to be an ‘optional extra’. An optional extra:

For examplegoing bowling at the end of year would be an optional extra.


The Principal should obtain the parents’ agreement to meet the costs of an optional extra visit before the visit is planned in detail. Charging parents for an optional extra visit may not include an element of subsidy in respect of other students whose families do not meet the full charge.

On residential visits which are not optional extras, or which take place during Academy hours, some parents may have board and lodging costs remitted. These children are those eligible for free school meals or pupil premium.

4.0 First aid

First aid should form part of the risk assessment. Before undertaking any off-site activities the Principal or the Group Leader should assess what level of first aid might be needed. On any kind of visit the Group Leader should have some knowledge of first aid and ensure that an adequate first-aid box is taken. For all visits it is sensible for at least one of the group’s supervisors to be a fully-trained first-aider. All adults in the group should know how to contact the emergency services.

The minimum first-aid provision for a visit is:

Other considerations when considering first-aid needs should include:

First aid should be available and accessible at all times. The Health and Safety Executive recommends the following minimum contents for a travelling first-aid box where no special risk has been identified:

PLANNING THE VISIT

Outline the proposal to Principal/ educational visits coordinator, seeking approval in principle. Proposals should include:

Proposals for longer visits may need making well before the start of the relevant academic year.

Planning

Substantive proposal to Principal/ educational visits coordinator.

This should be done on the appropriate from SOE1 off site visits or SOE2 residential, overseas, adventurous activities.

Visits will be logged on BABCOCK EVOLVE and permission will be granted or the reason for refusal communicated.

5.0 Ratios

It is important to have a high enough ratio of adult supervisors to students for any visit. The factors to take into consideration include:

Staffing ratios for visits are difficult to prescribe as they will vary according to the activity, phase, group, location and the efficient use of resources. However, a general guide for visits to local historical sites and museums or for local walks, in normal circumstances, is an adult: children ratio of1:15.

Group Leaders should assess the risks and consider an appropriate safe supervision level for their particular group. In addition to the teacher in charge there should be enough supervisors to cope effectively with an emergency. When visits are to remote areas or involve hazardous activities, the risks may be greater and supervision levels should be set accordingly. The same consideration should be given to residential visits. Some non-residential visits with mixed groups will need a teacher from each gender.

Parents/Volunteers

Where there is more than one teacher/supervisor a Group Leader should be appointed who has authority over the whole group. If more than one school is involved an overall Group Leader should be identified, usually the person with the most experience in leading such visits.

Where a high adult: student ratio is required, it is not always feasible to use Academy staff alone. Parents/volunteers may be used to supplement the supervision ratio. They should be carefully selected and ideally they should be well known to the Academy and the student group. Anyone who has not had a DBS check should never be left in sole charge of students.

Supervisors’ responsibilities

All adult supervisors, including teachers and parent/volunteer helpers, must understand their roles and responsibilities at all times. The Group Leader should brief all parent supervisors in a pre-trip meeting to discuss procedures and any students who may require closer supervision, such as those with special needs or those whose behaviour may be affected by the visit. Teachers retain responsibility for the group at all times.

Competences if leading an adventure activity

If the Academy is involved in an adventure activity, such as canoeing, the Principal must ensure that the Group Leader and other supervisors are suitably competent to lead or instruct students in the activity, bearing in mind that some students may be novices. Competences should be demonstrated by holding the relevant National Governing Body (NGB) award where it exists. This must be evidenced on the SOE2 form and the coordinator must be shown, and take a copy, of the relevant certification.

Headcounts

Whatever the length and nature of the visit, regular head counting of students should take place, particularly before leaving a venue. Head counts should be made prior to boarding and exiting transport, for example, counting the children before getting on a bus and counting again once they come off the bus. All supervisors should carry a list of all students and adults involved in the visit at all times. Students should be easily identifiable, especially if the visit is to a densely populated area. Children should wear Academy uniform or wear Academy colours. The Group Leader should establish rendezvous points and tell students what to do if they become separated from the group.

General

Students who are involved in the planning and organisation of a visit, and who are well prepared, will make more informed decisions and will be less at risk. Providing information and guidance to students is an important part of preparing for an educational visit. Students should clearly understand what is expected of them and what the visit will entail. Students must understand what standard of behaviour is expected of them and why rules must be followed. The lack of control and discipline can be a major cause of accidents. Students should also be told about any potential dangers and how they should act to ensure their own safety and that of others.

Participation

The Group Leader should ensure that the students are capable of undertaking the proposed activity. Students should be encouraged to take on challenges during adventurous activities but should not be coerced into activities of which they have a genuine fear.

Students whose behaviour is such that the Group Leader is concerned for their safety or for that of others, should be withdrawn from the activity. On residential visits the Group Leader should consider whether such students should be sent home early. Parents and students should be told in advance of the visit about the procedures for dealing with misbehaviour, how a student will be returned home safely and who will meet the cost.

Equal opportunities

Every effort should be made to ensure that educational journeys and activities are available and accessible to all who wish to participate, irrespective of special educational or medical needs, ethnic origin, sex, religion etc. All young people should be encouraged to participate in as wide a range of activities as possible. If a visit is to cater for students with special needs, a suitable venue should be selected.

6.0 Information to Students

The Group Leader should decide how information is provided, but must ensure that the students understand key safety information. For some students on overnight visits it will be their first experience away from home on their own and in the close company of other students.

Students should understand:

For residential visits all group members should know the address and telephone number of the accommodation in case an individual becomes separated.

Transport and Students

Students using transport on a visit should be made aware of basic safety rules including:

Students with special educational and medical needs

Principals should make every effort to include students with special educational or medical needs in Academy visits, whilst maintaining the safety of everyone in the group. Special attention should be given to appropriate supervision ratios and additional safety measures may need to be addressed at the planning stage.

Students with medical needs

Additional safety measures to those already in place in the Academy may be necessary to support students with medical needs during visits. Arrangements for taking medication and ensuring sufficient supplies for residential visits may be required. All teachers supervising visits should be aware of a student’s medical needs and any medical emergency procedures. Summary sheets held by all teachers, containing details of each student’s needs and any other relevant information provided by parents, is one way of achieving this. If appropriate, a volunteer teacher should be trained in administering medication and should take responsibility in a medical emergency. If the student’s safety cannot be guaranteed, it may be appropriate to ask the parent or a care assistant to accompany a particular student.

The Group Leader should discuss the student’s individual needs with the parents. Parents should be asked to supply:

Enquiries should be made at an early stage about access and facilities for securing wheelchairs on transport and at residential centres, etc. if appropriate. All teachers supervising the visit should be given the opportunity to talk through any concerns they may have about their ability to support the child. Extra help should be requested if necessary, e.g. a care assistant.

If teachers are concerned about whether they can provide for a student’s safety or the safety of other students on a trip because of a medical condition, they should seek general medical advice from the School Health Service or further information from the student’s parents.

Students with special educational needs

The Academy will already be familiar with the nature of a student’s special educational needs.  Any limitations or problems the student may have should be taken into account at the planning stage and when carrying out the risk assessment. Off-site visits may pose additional difficulties for a student with SEN and the behaviour of some students may prove challenging. The following factors should be taken into consideration:

It may be helpful to the student if one of the supervisors already knows them well and appreciates their needs fully. The Group Leader should discuss the visit with the parents of students with SEN to ensure that suitable arrangements have been put in place to ensure their safety. Parents should be informed in writing of any off-site activity or visit unless it is a regular part of the Academy curriculum which parents have already been informed about through the Academy prospectus or a letter. Annual consent for local visits (walking distance) is asked for on entry to the Academy.

7.0 Information to Parents

Before residential visits, or when the students are to engage in adventure activities, parents should be encouraged to attend a briefing meeting where written details of the proposed visit should also be provided. There should be alternative arrangements for parents who cannot attend, or who have difficulty with communication in English.

Parents need to be aware that the teachers and other adult supervisors on the visit will be exercising the same care that a prudent parent would. The following information on matters that might affect student health and safety should be given to parents:

This information may take the form of a code of conduct which parents should sign:

8.0 Consent

The Principal or Group Leaders should seek consent for:

If parents withhold consent absolutely the student should not be taken on the visit but the curricular aims of the visit should be delivered to the student in some other way wherever possible. The child should still attend the Academy.

A parental consent form SOE3 should be completed for each student in the group. Besides conveying the parents’ consent it could also form the basis for obtaining details required. General issues to consider include:

Medical consent

This should form part of the parental consent form. Parents should be asked to agree to the student’s receiving emergency treatment, including anaesthetic or blood transfusion, as considered necessary by the medical authorities. If parents do not agree to this, the Principal may decide to withdraw the child from the visit - given the additional responsibility this would entail for the Group Leader.

Doctors can be expected to carry out necessary emergency treatment without parental consent.

Other consent

Parental consent should be obtained specifically for the transporting of students in the private vehicle of a non-teacher adult or another student on the visit.

Early return

The Group Leader should tell parents if they will be expected to fund the early return of a student whose conduct gives cause for concern on a visit. A written agreement may be necessary.

Contact with parents during the visit

The Principal should ensure that parents can contact their child via the Academy contact and the Group Leader in the event of a home emergency, and that they have a number to ring for information in the event of an incident during the visit or a late arrival home. Parents should therefore:

Students’ contact with parents

Group Leaders should arrange for parents to be told by the Academy of the group’s safe arrival. Students may wish to speak to their parents individually. Such arrangements should be agreed with parents and students before the visit takes place but, in general, this is discouraged. Parents concerned after a phone call should contact the Academy contact.

9.0 Transport

The Group Leader must give careful thought to planning transport. The main factors to consider include:

The Governors should satisfy themselves that all travel arrangements, including the hire of private coaches or buses, are suitable for the nature of the visit. In practice the Principal will normally carry out these checks.

Seat belts: All minibuses and coaches which carry groups of three or more children aged between 3 and 15 years inclusive must be fitted with a seat belt for each child. The seats must face forward and seat restraints must comply with legal requirements.

Supervision on transport

The level of supervision necessary should be considered as part of the risk assessment for the journey. The Group Leader is responsible for the party at all times including maintaining good discipline. Factors that the Group Leader should consider when planning supervision on transport include:

Misbehaviour is a main cause of accidents to children on such means of transport. Appropriate supervision and discipline should be maintained at all times. Students should also be made aware of what to do in an emergency and where emergency procedures are displayed.

Hiring coaches and buses

The Academy Business Manager is responsible for ensuring that coaches and buses are hired from a reputable company. Professional operators of buses and coaches are legally required to be licensed. Schools using operators to transport students should ensure that the operators have the appropriate Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators’ licence. When booking transport, the Academy Business Manager should ensure that seat belts are available for students. Whilst seat belts must be fitted on coaches, which carry groups of children, they are not legally required on buses. Buses where seat belts are not fitted are not normally appropriate for visits involving long journeys.

If any of the group use a wheelchair, the Group Leader should ensure that transport used has appropriate access and securing facilities.

10.0 Insurance

Route 39 Academy’s insurance policy covers students, teachers and any authorised accompanying adults in the event of injury or loss whilst on any educational visit organised by the Academy or other educational establishment, involving travel outside the designated Academy or educational establishment boundary.

The features of the policy must include the following:

Group Leaders should take a copy of the insurance policy with them on all trips.

11.0 Emergency Procedures (also refer to the Critical Incident Policy)

Teachers in charge of students during a visit have a duty of care to make sure that the students are safe and healthy. They also have a common law duty to act as a reasonably prudent parent would. Teachers should not hesitate to act in an emergency and to take life-saving action in an extreme situation. Emergency procedures are an essential part of planning an educational visit.

If an accident happens, the priorities are to:

Who will take charge in an emergency?

The Group Leader would usually take charge in an emergency and would need to ensure that emergency procedures are in place and that back up cover is arranged. The Group Leader should liaise with the representative of the tour operator, if one is being used, and inform the Academy contact.

Pre-arranged Academy - home contact. The Academy contact’s main responsibility is to link the group with the Academy, the parents and the Principal and to provide assistance as necessary. The named person should have all the necessary information about the visit.

Emergency procedures framework

All those involved in the educational trip, including supervisors, Students and their parents, should be informed of who will take charge in an emergency, the named back up cover and what they are expected to do in an emergency.

Emergency procedures framework during the visit

If an emergency occurs on an educational visit the main factors to consider include:

Emergency procedures framework for Academy base

Prior to the visit, the name of the  Academy and home telephone numbers of the Academy contact should be identified. It is advisable to arrange a second Academy contact as a reserve. The Principal and Group Leader should bear in mind that the contact lines may become busy in the event of an incident and that alternative numbers to ring would be useful.

The main factors for the Academy contact to consider include:

After a serious incident

It is not always possible to assess whether group members not injured or directly involved in the incident have been traumatised, or whether other students or staff in the Academy have been affected. In some cases reactions do not surface immediately. In this situation it can be helpful to contact local community support services and to seek professional advice on how to help individuals and the Academy as a whole cope with the effects of a tragedy.