School Trip Risk Assessment

School trips provide a wonderful and quite often memorable learning experience for children, it is an opportunity for them to not only discover new sights and sounds in a unfamiliar environment, but also develop a flair for investigation, the ability to make decisions, lead a group or sometimes just to have that bit of independence they don?t necessarily get in the classroom. There is much to be discovered on school trips within the UK and abroad.

School trips provide a wonderful and quite often memorable learning experience for children, it is an opportunity for them to not only discover new sights and sounds in a unfamiliar environment, but also develop a flair for investigation, the ability to make decisions, lead a group or sometimes just to have that bit of independence they don?t necessarily get in the classroom. There is much to be discovered on school trips within the UK and abroad.

Unfortunately, where there is fun and adventure, there are normally risks to accompany it. This page is to help teachers, youth leaders and parents understand where those risks may lie and also give advice from the experts on how to stay safe and healthy on a school visit.

Who does what?

  • The practice of Health and Safety in schools is overseen by their appropriate LEA (Local Education Authority) or governing body.
  • The LEA or governing body should be constantly aware of any new measures or standards and ensure that these are met without fail with in schools and that they inform them of any changes.
  • The schools are therefore responsible for the safe practice of these regulations and also ensuring they take good care of their own and others safety.
  • Any school trip must have a group leader. The leader will have the overall responsibility for supervision of the visit whilst also paying great attention to health and safety guidelines. He or she will have been approved by the head teacher and must gain approval before conducting any off- site visits.
  • The group leader will appoint a deputy and also group supervisors to carry out various tasks and will ensure any necessary risk assessments have been conducted prior to the visit.
  • The group leader must also ensure that they have the correct ratio of adults to children before conducting an out of school visit.
  • Pupils will be told to act responsibly whilst not taking any unnecessary risks and must also follow the instructions of any adults in a supervisory position.
  • If a child is seen to cause any potential risk to themselves or others they must be withdrawn from the trip. Their learning outcome should be then fulfilled in a different manner where they can learn in a safe and supervised environment.

Planning for a safe trip.

We all know that no amount of planning can eliminate all the risks from a school trip, however, what it can do is allow teachers to foresee some of those risks and make sure the children and the environment that surrounds them can co- exist in a safe and productive manner.

  • Any one involved in the planning of a school trip must be 100% sure that they have done all they can to create a safe environment for their pupils. This means that anyone appointed with such responsibilities must be competent and experienced or be overseen by a leader with such capabilities.
  • In some instances the LEA will require the school to gain authorisation for a visit, many LEA?s have detailed guidance as to how the trip should be planned.
  • The planning for the health and safety of a school trip is produced in the form of a ?Risk Assessment?.

Risk Assessments.

  • A risk assessment is a comprehensive document which has been devised according to certain standards and must be adhered to at all times.
  • It will usually be conducted by the Group Leader and overseen by the Head Teacher.
  • If a substantial threat to anyone?s health is present then the trip should not take place unless the threat can be lifted.

Points that should be considered are:

  1. What are the risks?
  2. Who do they potentially affect?
  3. What safety measures can be put in place in order to reduce any risks?
  4. Is the Group Leader capable of implementing and conducting these safety measures?
  5. What steps will be taken in the event of an emergency?
  • All teachers and supervisors on the visit should be supplied with a copy of the risk assessment as should those who authorise (Head Teacher, LEA or governing body)
  • Risks are to be consistently monitored throughout the visit and attended to when required.
  • If using a tour operator, group leaders should ensure they have carried out all appropriate risk assessments for the particular visit before hand.
  • Transport should be fully compliant with current safety regulations.
  • If visiting an unknown territory either in the UK or abroad the group leader should conduct an exploratory visit before hand- using a good tour operator will not only reduce the work load but can also substantially reduce liabilities.

Further details to consider are:

  • The type of visit or activity and the physical demands it will put on the pupil.
  • Where you are going, the route of how to get there and the modes of transport to be used.
  • The abilities and qualifications of supervisory staff.
  • Supervisor to pupil ratio.
  • Age range of pupils, their physical limitations (if any), temperament and general suitability to the task at hand.
  • Any special needs or medical requirements.
  • The suitability and quality of any equipment to be used ( this can be anything from climbing ropes through to a kayak).
  • Seasonal variations.
  • What to do in an emergency.
  • How to help pupils who lose the will to see an exercise through to the finish.
  • Constantly being aware of risks.

In addition to all the above considerations (of which there are many more), all out- of- school visits should carry a fully stocked First Aid box and also have a designated First Aider in the case of an emergency.
Some of the information supplied on this page is taken from www.teachernet.gov.uk. For those looking to find further details we recommend you visit their site and read ?The Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits? document. We have also listed other sites which may be useful in this area.

Happy planning!!!

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