Educational Visits Policy

 

Date reviewed: November 2018
Approved by LGB: 28th January 2019
Review frequency: Annually
To be reviewed by: Hayley Kirk (Educational Visits Co-ordinator)

 

 

1. Introduction

All offsite visits and activities that are organised and undertaken by the school are regarded as ‘educational visits’. Whenever students leave the school site under the direct or indirect supervision of school staff, they are undertaking an educational visit.
Visits can be:
• Local – in the local area, either within walking distance or a journey under an hour
• Anywhere in the UK, requiring transport such as coach, train or airplane
• International – outside the UK, requiring transport such as coach, ferry, airplane
• Residential – a trip which requires at least one overnight stay
• Non-residential – a trip which can be achieved in one day, where students leave and return the same day.

 

2. Principles

Lees Brook Community School aims to offer students a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes their spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development, and prepares them for adult life. The Headteacher and Governors recognise the value and importance of learning outside the classroom, and encourage staff to organise educational visits that enrich the curriculum and enhance the learning and development of our students.

 

3. Compliance

This policy should be read in conjunction with the other relevant school policy documents such as:
• Child Protection and Safeguarding policy
• Health and Safety Policy
• Staff Code of Conduct
• SEN policy

 

4. Roles and Responsibilities

The Headteacher has overall responsibility for all the school’s educational visits. In the Headteacher’s absence, the Deputy Headteachers will fulfill the same responsibilities regarding the management and approval of educational visits. The Trip Leader proposing the visit will be the designated teacher for that particular educational visit. The Trip Leader will oversee the planning and organisation of the particular visit and receive advice and guidance from the Headteacher/Deputy Headteacher including recommendations regarding the approval of visits.
Management of the ‘Evolve’ educational visits software will be provided by the School Organisation Administrator.

 

5. Advice and Guidance

Staff should seek advice and guidance regarding educational visits from:
• The Headteacher
• School Organisation Administrator
• Other experts with specialist/local knowledge.

 

6. Monitoring

To assure quality of standards on educational visits:
• The Trip Leader will be a member of SLT or an experienced member of staff
• The Headteacher/Deputy Headteacher will accompany at least one visit per year to monitor real practice and to assist in the review of policies and procedures. A record of these monitoring visits will retained by the School Organisation Officer.

 

7. Planning and Approval Procedures

All visits will require a full list of students involved and relevant contact and medical details. Visits should be recorded, checked and approved in accordance with the following procedures.

Trips Visits Checklist

8. Visit Objectives

All educational visits should have a defined purpose with clearly stated, justifiable educational objectives which enhance the learning and development of students. Trips may not be approved if these objectives are not met or where time and resource constraints are identified as a barrier.

 

9. Selection of Students

Every effort will be made to ensure that school journeys and activities are available and accessible to all who wish to participate irrespective of special educational needs, medical conditions, ethnic origin, gender, religion or affordability. However, there may be cases where students are legitimately excluded from educational trips in accordance with the School Behaviour Policy.

 

10. Selection of Staff

The Trip Leader - must be assessed and approved as suitable and competent to fulfill their role and responsibilities by the Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher. The Headteacher may require Trip Leaders of more complex and demanding visits (such as ski visits or overseas expeditions), to have much broader leadership experience and where appropriate, specific training/skills ie proficient skiing experience.

Deputy Leader – must be able to take full responsibility for the Trip Leader, if necessary.

Assistant Leader – must be assessed and approved by the Headteacher/Deputy Headteacher as suitable and competent to fulfil their roles and responsibilities. They will undertake specific duties as designated by the Trip Leader and may be staff who are interested in gaining experience before leading a trip in the future.

Staff and Volunteers – will be responsible for groups of students and are likely to be members of teaching or associate staff but may also include parents and Governors.

 

11. Safeguarding

The school has a responsibility to ensure that all adults involved in the supervision of children during school-related activities are suitable people to work with children and pose no threat to the young people in their care. Trip Leaders must ensure that any volunteers are appropriately checked in accordance with Disclosure and Barring Service guidelines. Any concerns of related to inappropriate actions must be reported immediately to the Headteacher/School Designated Lead and the person removed from the trip if necessary.

 

12. First Aid

Students on educational visits should, at all times, have ready access to a competent adult who has an appropriate level of first aid experience. A trained member of staff is required for all overseas and/or residential visits.

 

 13. Supervision Ratios

Effective supervision is of the utmost importance in maintaining the safety and welfare of students whilst on educational visits. Wherever possible it is recommended that trips should have a ratio of one adult to 10 students and in any case to have at least two adults accompanying any off-site experience. A common sense approach must however be taken and following consultation with Heads of Year/Form Tutors/Class Teacher, it may be judged that certain groups could be supervised with a much greater ratio, for instance where groups are being taken off site for reward based or good behaviour etc. Conversely, some groups may require a smaller staff to students ratio, dependent on the nature of the students in attendance. Some students may require 1 to 1 supervision following consultation with Heads of Year/SENCo etc. In these instances, consideration should be made within the specific risk assessment.

For overseas visits, it is recommended to have additional reserve capacity and flexibility. Particular consideration must be given to staffing levels required for visits that involve adventurous/high risk activities; the Headteacher must be consulted about such trips as staffing ratios may be risk assessment and venue dependent.

 

14. Remote Supervision

For some activities, remote supervision may be appropriate and/or necessary ie, Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions, Theme Park visits. In these situations, parents/guardians will be fully informed about the remote supervision arrangements prior to the trip to enable them to make an informed decision as to their youngster’s participation before giving consent. Exact arrangements will be dependent on the nature and location of the trip/activity.

As a general rule, students must stay in groups of no less than 4 and will be given a designated member of staff to report to. Each group will be given a designated location and timeslot to report to their member of staff (for trips lasting all day, students will be asked to report back at lunchtime as well as at the end of the visit to enable departure). A “trip mobile” will remain in the possession of the trip leader and the number given to all students prior to departure. Students who are remotely supervised are always allowed to take mobile phones with them to enable them to contact the trip leader in case of emergency. For Duke of Edinburgh expeditions in remote locations where mobile signal may be very low or non-existent, appropriate equipment (such as trackers etc) will be made available to each group to ensure they are able to contact a member of staff at all times.

 

15. Selection of Venues/Accommodation

As part of the overall risk assessment process and in accordance with their legal duty of care, the Trip leader must take reasonable steps to check that any accommodation that is used and any venues that the group plan to visit, are suitable, satisfactory and acceptably safe. Trip Leaders may especially need to consider separate staff/student accommodation, bathing facilities and changing areas. Many organisations now have websites and provide teacher information packs that provide all reasonable assurances regrading standards. When planning a visit the Trip Leader (and other group leaders) should, always in the UK and, wherever possible overseas, undertake an exploratory visit to inspect and familiarise themselves with the accommodation. In the event that an exploratory visit has not taken place, the trip leader should inspect upon arrival and ensure any necessary amendments are made to the risk assessment before students are taken to their designated rooms.

 

16. High Risk Activities and Environments

Leaders who organize visits that involve high risk activities and environments must be aware that such visits normally require a greater degree of planning and preparation by virtue of their complexity and unpredictability. Leaders and other supervisors must be sufficiently competent to supervise students in the activity/environment. Competence derives from knowledge, experience, training and personal qualities and may be evidenced by holding relevant training certificates or previous trip leadership. Trip leaders should plan alternative activities and venues to cater for possible changes in circumstances ie worsening weather and all staff should be aware of these possible contingencies. The Headteacher must approve and authorize these plans.

 

17. Risk Assessment and Management

The school has a duty of care for its young people and must therefore give careful consideration to the hazards involved during an educational visit, and ensure that risks are managed at reasonable and acceptable levels. The Trip Leader must undertake an appropriate risk assessment for each visit and this should be shared/discussed/agreed by all staff/volunteers involved before the visit takes place.

The process of risk assessment should be a positive means of raising awareness of hazards and prompting constructive discussion regarding the best means of risk management. It should therefore be of real practical value to the leaders and group members, not just a paper exercise. The risk assessment templates are stored on the L drive in the Trips and Visits folder.

 

18. Insurance and Finance

The Headteacher/Trip leader must ensure that adequate insurance arrangements are in place for all educational visits and Trip leaders should check carefully that the scope of the cover provided is adequate for each visit. Trip Leaders should also check that any external service providers have sufficient public liability cover.

The Trip Leader must ensure that:
• Each visit is accurately costed and budgeted for
• Adequate allowances are made for additional unforeseen costs and changes in circumstances
• Financial plans – especially for more complex and committing visits – must be checked and approved by the Headteacher and Finance Manager prior to any financial commitments being made
• For visits that involve substantial commitment financially eg overseas expeditions, no firm bookings or financial commitments are made until the visit has been approved by the Headteacher and Governing Body.
• The cost of visit is made clear to students and parents and how much parents will be charged or asked to contribute

 

19. Overseas Visits

All overseas visits require Headteacher and Governing Body Approval.

Trip Leaders must seek outline approval for the visit at an early stage and before students and parents are informed and/or make commitments. It is good practice, wherever possible, for the Trip Leader to make an exploratory visit to the location. This should always take place for UK visits, however, if this is not reasonably practical for an overseas visit, then the Trip Leader should gather sufficient appropriate information and assurances about the location and facilities.

The level of staffing required for overseas visits should reflect not only the direct supervision needs but also the contingency plans made for emergencies. It is not uncommon for a member of staff to need to return early or accompany a group member to hospital.

The Trip Leader must ensure that the party is covered by comprehensive insurance that covers travel and all planned activities; including medical emergencies, repatriation, personal liability etc.

Students should carry a note in the relevant foreign language in case they get lost, to help re-unite them with the group.

New organisers of ski visits, overseas expeditions, or other complex overseas visits should obtain specific training and guidance wherever possible before organizing a visit.

 

20. Transport

As part of the overall risk assessment process, the Trip Leader must take reasonable steps to check that any transport used during the visit is suitable, satisfactory and acceptably safe, and that any specific legal requirements are met.

Leaders should refer to the generic risk assessments that give detailed recommendation for all standard forms of transport. In particular, Leaders need to consider supervision, medical forms and first aid, emergency contact and school mobile availability, emergency arrangements eg vehicle breakdown, pick up and drop off arrangements.

The school will develop a list of ‘approved’ coach, bus, taxi firms which meet our requirements for safety and have a track record of reliable service.

The school will ensure that the students know how to behave and conduct themselves on various modes of transport.

Coaches/Buses
For the safe supervision of students on coaches/buses, group leaders are required to:
• Sit in various locations, spread throughout the coach, and with proximity to emergency exits where possible
• In some countries (e.g. France), there is a legal requirement for a member of staff to sit in the seat adjacent to an emergency exit
• Carry a first aid kit and the school mobile phone

Private Car
The Headteacher must ensure the safety of students travelling by private car and should:
• Assess and decide if the driver is suitably qualified, experienced and competent
• Inform parents and obtain their written consent
• Gain assurance on main points of reference – insurance, licence, roadworthy, seatbelts etc
• Ensure that drivers are aware of any specific requirements
• Ensure that drivers are aware of their responsibilities and school procedures
• Drivers have appropriate insurance including business cover for employees

Minibuses
The school follows national regulations and guidance and Minibus servicing and maintenance will be kept up to date; drivers must report any concerns/necessary repairs as soon as possible to the Asset Management Assistant.

 

21. Communication

The Trip Leader must ensure that parents/guardians are provided with appropriate and sufficient information about all visits. The amount of information and method of provision will depend upon the type of visit planned and the assessed level of risk involved, however, parents should always be informed in writing at least two weeks before the trip or visit is planned to take place. In addition, information may also be distributed in a newsletter, via the school website, or social media.

For a residential/overseas trip, a meeting should be held to allow parents to be fully informed and meet staff/ ask questions in person. Parents must be clearly informed of the arrangements and responsibilities for collecting a student after a visit.

Parental consent should be obtained for all trips/visits. Exceptions to this rule would be instances where students are being taken off site during a normal curriculum lesson as part of that lesson, i.e. fieldwork in the local area during a Geography lesson for example. Verbal consent can be accepted in exceptional circumstances for low risk trips/visits but should always be taken either by the Trip Leader or School Organisation Administrator.

 

22. Staff briefing (please refer to Appendix 1 - Emergency procedures)

It is important that all staff and volunteers involved in the leadership of a trip or visit are fully briefed beforehand.

Staff should be aware of their expected roles and responsibilities before, during and after the visit.

All staff and volunteers on the trip should be aware of emergency procedures and how to obtain outside assistance or contact the emergency services if required. Part of the planning for emergencies must involve the recording of one or more Emergency Home Contact(s) who should be available at any time during the trip. The Trip Leader must ensure that staff and volunteers have immediate access to the emergency contact details of the SLT link and parents of those on the trip.

A properly equipped first aid kit must always be available to staff during trips and visits and can be obtained from the School Nurse.

All staff and volunteers should be made aware of the conduct and behaviour expected of them during the trip or visit.

 

23. Briefing and Preparation of Students

Students should be briefed about safety arrangements and what dress code/clothing/equipment is required. Trip leaders must ensure that students clearly understand what will be considered unacceptable behaviour or conduct and the consequences of non-compliance.

During any time that remote supervision takes place, the Trip Leader must ensure that students are aware of the supervision and emergency contact arrangements and ensure that the necessary skills, maturity, responsibility, knowledge and equipment to operate safely as an independent individual/group. Students should be briefed what to do in an emergency, or if they become separated from the rest of the group eg they will be given an emergency contact, and or/meeting point etc.

Students on medication should be told the procedure for taking it eg a member of staff will look after and administer it as appropriate.

 

24. Evolve (Educational Visits Software)

The system is managed by the School Organisation Administrator and all trips and visits must be recorded on the system. Please refer to Point 7 for procedure.

The Evolve system records the following information for each trip:
• Trip Name
• Type
• Purpose of Trip
• Dates
• Times
• Venues/External Providers
• Accommodation Address (if applicable)
• Travel Arrangement (and Transport Company if applicable)
• Staffing
• Attendees
• Risk Assessments
• Supporting Documents (i.e. correspondence to parents, itinerary etc)

 

25. Post Visit

It is important that Trip Leaders record and review any accidents, incidents, or near misses. Details should be recorded as soon as possible after an incident whilst they are still fresh in the memory, preferably with signed witness accounts. For accidents resulting in injury, however minor, an accident form should be completed and filed with the School Nurse. Any issues/incidents involving student behaviour should be dealt with immediately upon return to school by following the school’s behavior policy and may involve requesting witness statements from staff and students.

For any major accident, the school will undertake a review of the incident and their emergency procedures.
Post visit reviews and evaluations should be completed and passed to the School Organisation Administrator to record on Evolve. It is important to record any examples of good practice and lessons learned that may assist with the planning and leadership of future visits.

 

APPENDIX 1

 

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES FOR EDUCATIONAL VISITS

Guidance notes
This procedure is to be adhered to if there is a serious incident or accident on a school trip, at home or abroad.
The main element is to ensure that there is a swift and appropriate response in the unfortunate event of a serious incident and all staff leading trips or holding a senior position within school are asked to keep them in mind at all times.
Should the school be notified of an incident, the contacted member of the Senior Management Team will decide whether a presence is required at the location (Head Teacher should be the initial contact, or a Deputy Head in her absence). This member of staff will become the Emergency Lead for the duration of the incident.
The Emergency Lead will remain at school, or contactable at all times in the event that the emergency occurs “out of hours” to deal with enquiries, parents, the press and so on.
It is important that the pupils are made aware of what to do in the case of emergency and if something makes the member of staff unable to react.

SCHOOL TRIP EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

Who will take charge in an emergency?
1. The Group Leader with the school party would usually take charge in an emergency. The Group Leader 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.
2. The Group Leader would communicate with the designated contact in school for the school party. The main responsibility is to link the group with the Head, Senior Staff and the parents. All the necessary information about the visit should be available. In the event that the Head Teacher is not the Emergency Lead, details can be obtained at any time via the Educational Visits Coordinator.
3. In the event of the police or other emergency services being involved, the Group Leader should follow their direction in the first instance prior to commencing the school’s procedures to ensure the immediate safety of students and staff.

The Group Leader - What to do in an emergency

If an emergency occurs on a school visit the following points need to be considered:
o Establish the nature and extent of the emergency as quickly as possible
o Summon the emergency services
o Establish the names of any casualties and get immediate medical attention if necessary
o Ensure that all the group are safe and looked after
o Ensure that all group members who need to know are aware of the incident and that all group members are following emergency procedures
o Ensure that a teacher accompanies casualties to hospital and that the rest of the group are adequately supervised at all times and kept together
o Notify the police if necessary
o Notify the British Embassy/Consulate if an emergency happens abroad
o Inform the school contact. The school contact number should be accessible at all times during the visit. For overseas and residential visits, these will be included in the Master Contact Sheet at the front of the trip folder.
o Details of the incident which need to be passed on to school should include; nature, date and time of incident; names of casualties and details of their injuries; names of others involved so that parents can be reassured; action taken so far; action yet to be taken (and by whom);
o Notify insurers, especially if medical assistance is required (the school contact can be used to do this)
o Notify tour operator
o Ascertain telephone numbers for future calls. Mobiles may be subject to technical difficulties and should not replace usual communication procedures
o Write down accurately and as soon as possible all relevant facts and witness details and preserve any vital evidence. Keep a written account of all events, times and contacts after the incident
o No-one in the group should speak to the media. Names of those involved should not be given to the media as this could cause distress to families. Media enquiries should be referred to the Head Teacher
o No-one in the group should discuss legal liability with other parties

Emergency procedures for school contact

• Prior to any out of hours visit, the name and relevant contact telephone numbers of a school contact and deputy school contact should be identified. School contacts and Group Leader should also be given contact details for the school’s Educational Visits Coordinator
• The Head Teacher and Group Leader should bear in mind that the contact line may become busy in the event of an incident and that alternative numbers to ring would be useful.
• If an emergency occurs the main considerations for the school contact to consider include:
1. Ensuring the Group Leader is in control of the emergency and establishing if any assistance is required from the school base.
2. Contacting the Head / Deputy Head and liaising with them.
3. It is a priority that the Head / Deputy or school contact speak personally to the parents of any student who has suffered injury or mishap.
4. Contacting parents. Details of parents’ contact numbers need to be available at all times while the group is on the visit. The school contact should act as a link between the group and parents. Parents should be kept as well informed as possible at all stages of an emergency. Contact must be established even though with modern technology news may already have broken.
5. Headteacher/ Leadership Meeting and arrange for the group to receive assistance if necessary. The Head will contact the Chair of Governors.
6. A full record of the incident must be kept.
7. If a serious incident occurs, which draws media attention, all media enquiries should be referred to the Headteacher. The name or names of any casualties should not be given to the media.

 

After a serious incident occurs
It is not always possible to assess whether group members not injured or directly involved in the incident have been traumatised or whether other pupils or staff in the school have been affected.
In some cases reactions do not come to light immediately. Schools in this situation have found it helpful to seek professional advice on how to help individuals and the school as a whole cope with the effects of a tragedy.

 

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