Health & Safety: School Trips and Visits (from policy to post-trip review)

Health & Safety: School Trips and Visits (from policy to post-trip review)

Posted  25th May 2022

This session focused on implementing and reviewing an Educational Visits Policy; understanding staff responsibilities for educational visits; educational visit and sports fixture planning essentials including first aid and emergencies; post-trip reviews - understanding the value of reviewing what happened.

Implementing and Reviewing an Educational Visits Policy

As with all Health and Safety subjects, your compliance related planning and procedures stem from an Educational Visits policy.

We recommend a separate policy because of the broad reaching subjects to education visits and sports fixtures. These can range from local walks to the park, museums or farm trips which use different methods of transport. They may even include overnight camping events or overseas trips for high-risk activities.

The policy should detail:
  • The roles and responsibilities of all staff involved with visits and fixtures
  • How arrangements will be planned and communicated
  • Emergency planning
  • How you will work with external contractors or providers.

NB: Ensure to include expert guidance from external sources such as Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP), Learning outside the classroom and ROSPA.

Polls

    Understanding Staff Responsibilities for Educational Visits

    The Governing Body/Board of Trustees

    They hold the responsibility for everyone involved with trips and must liaise with the Senior Leadership Team to clarify to what extent they will be involved with planning or approval processes.

    Higher risk or overseas events will require a greater level of management scrutiny and you may utilise Governors or Trustees to support the Head Teacher in reviewing plans for final approval.

    Headteacher/Principal

    They hold a non-delegable accountability to ensure trips are suitably planned and managed. Whilst they can delegate the responsibility for leading a trip to a qualified trip leader or initial approval of a trip to the Educational Visits Coordinator, the Headteacher will continue to hold a duty of care to everyone involved.

    Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC)

    EVCs will have completed specific training for their additional responsibilities because they are responsible for ensuring that the framework set out in the Educational Visits policy is followed. They also check the right staff are completing the correct elements of the planning and trip management process.

    They are responsible for working with Trip Leaders to collate all the required documentation, communicate that information to those who need it, e.g. parents, and sign risk assessments and emergency plans to confirm they are suitable.

    Group and Trip Leaders

    Leaders must be competent in their role to lead a trip or group activity. This can range from a curriculum teacher who has been on a number of similar trips as a deputy for lower risk activities through to requiring specific qualifications for adventurous activities, e.g. hiking or skiing.

    Trip Leaders will work directly with the EVC to evidence how they have planned every element of the trip. They will be responsible for carrying out pre-trip visits to new venues or providers to ensure everything is suitable.

    This will also include areas such as:

    • Vetting new providers in-line with the school Managing Contractors Policy
    • Trip risk assessments for travel, the activities, accommodation and return journeys
    • Transports management
    • First aid arrangements
    • Adventurous activities including snow sports or mountaineering
    • Trips involving water, open water or general swimming activities in pools
    • Weather, clothing and survival training
    • Overseas visits
    NB Safeguarding: Consider who is going on the trip, would they know how to respond to a disclosure. We would always recommend involving your DSL when reviewing the risk assessment.

    Staff and Volunteers

    Support staff and volunteers on the trip must be able to look after the pupils as their parents or carers would do. Therefore, you need to be clear on:
    • What training they require
    • What resources or provisions they need on the trip
    • Ensure a suitable number of support personnel are in place should anyone not attend, be taken ill, etc.

    NB: There are clear links between trips and visits and safeguarding. Please make sure to always be consulting your DSL. If you would like to know more about our safeguarding service please click HERE.

    Educational Visit and Sports Fixture Planning Essential Including First Aid and Emergencies 

    A written first aid needs assessment should be completed for every trip in order to evidence how you will provide suitable first aid cover and identify any additional needs such as allergy management, behavioural or medical needs and SEN 1-2-1 support.

    It is advisable that one member of the accompanying staff is first aid trained to a suitable level for the group age, first aid needs assessment and associated activities.

    The early years framework applies to offsite activities and educational visits, any time when young children are present. There should be at least one paediatric first aider to be present to meet this requirement.

    For older groups with children over puberty, Emergency First Aid at Work is the standard training the majority of local trips have unless the risk assessment identifies a need for more trained staff or higher levels of qualification for high-risk activities.


    Post-Trip Reviews: Understanding the Value of Reviewing What Happened

    It is essential that within your visits process there is the opportunity for staff to review how the whole process worked.

    This will include the actual travel and activities involved, but also to assess how the work to plan the trip, liaising with the EVC and Headteacher for approval and how new venues or providers were received by staff and pupils.

    It is a good opportunity to ensure time is given for a review period as you will be able to look at the risk assessment and emergency plans after having attended the trip to see if everything was suitably assessed.

    5 Key Points to Take Away

    1. Have a specific educational visits and sports fixture policy

    2. Clarify your staff roles and responsibilities

    3. Train your staff in their specific responsibilities

    4. Complete a risk assessment, first aid needs assessment and emergency plan for every trip.

    5. Have a review process for each completed trip in order to learn from the visit.

    Helpful Links to Training:

    Learning Outside the Classroom: https://www.lotc.org.uk/   

    DBS Checks Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dbs-check-requests-guidance-for-employers#volunteer-applications

    British Standard 8848: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safer-adventure-travel-and-volunteering-overseas#adventure-travel

    Judicium’s Health and Safety team also deliver On-Site EVC training for schools: https://www.judiciumeducation.co.uk/training/school-educational-visits-coordinator-training

    As well as CPD eLearning on risk assessments for EVCs: https://www.judiciumeducation.co.uk/elearning/risk-assessment-training-for-schools-educational-visits

    The Health and Safety Service is also providing CPD accredited training courses. Upcoming dates and links to book are below:

    Managing Contractors in Schools – 1st June

    Managing Health and Safety in Schools – 23rd and 30th June

    To review Judicium’s forthcoming sofa sessions please click here.

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