School Trips & Visits Policy

Lusitania Primary School regards trips as a valuable part of a pupil’s education and acknowledges the often-voluntary contribution made by teachers and other adults in enabling pupils to experience a rich variety of visits off the school site.
 
Such trips do, however, often involve a degree of risk, which is inherent when pupils are placed in unfamiliar places or are undertaking new activities. Some risk is accepted, but by following the procedures included within this policy, the degree of risk will be reduced to an acceptable level.
Off-site trips are an extremely valuable aspect of the education we offer. In planning and running trips we should be aware that the law expects of teachers a high standard of care. Thorough planning is an essential ingredient of a safe and successful trip and is the responsibility of the group leader. 
These guidelines, together with the Trips and Risk Assessment Form are all designed to help the planning process. Obviously, the extent of planning will depend upon the complexity of the visit in question.
 
Not all the guidelines and policies given below are relevant to every trip. If you have any doubt as to which of the procedures are appropriate to your trip, please discuss it with the Headmaster, the Deputy Head or the Administration Manager.
 
This policy applies to teachers, pupils and parents and any volunteers who accompany and support the school trip.
 

Definitions

School Trip - This is any activity that involves pupils leaving the school site.
 
Internal Residential Visit - This is any trip whereby pupils will be away from their homes for at least one night. This will include any stay in a hotel or similar where trips are within Zimbabwe.
 
External Residential Visit - This is any trip whereby pupils will be leaving Zimbabwe for another country.
 

School Trips and Finance

The School will undertake:
  • School Trips, relating to the curriculum and sporting activities. Parents may be asked for financial contributions. Insufficient funding may mean that the trip has to be cancelled.
  • Internal Residential Trips & External Residential Trips. Parents will need to pay towards the trip. The trip will be cancelled should insufficient funds be raised or individual pupils may be prevented from going on the trip should their parents not contribute their share of the agreed funds. 

 

APPROVAL

  • A School Trip and Risk Assessment Form (Appendix 1) must be completed for all trips leaving the school site, except those considered to be a routine and integral part of school life (e.g. away sports & cultural fixtures) and where such forms have already been completed and are on file.
  • The Administration Manager keeps all the Blank Forms and those that have been completed and authorised or rejected.
  • Completed forms should be returned at least 3 days before the proposed trip, except in the case of Internal Residential Trips, where 14 days notice is required and External Residential Trips, where Zimbabwean law requires a minimum of 6 months notice, so the forms must be submitted for internal approval at least 7 months prior to the planned date of departure.
  • Please discuss any trips with the Headmaster, Deputy Head or the Administration Manager if you have concerns about its viability or any other aspects of the planned trip.
 

Risk Assessment Process

For any proposed school trip the School Trips and Risk Assessment Form will be completed. 
 
Routine Trips may have a Risk Assessment Form completed once only to cover all such trips, unless there are changes in circumstances that may warrant a review of the risks involved. 
 
The Risk Assessment will involve the following steps.
 
STEP 1 – Initial Proposal and Risk Assessment - The person proposing a trip or, in the case of inter school activities and regular school trips, the person appointed by senior management (the proposer) will complete the School Trip and Risk Assessment Form (Appendix 1)
 
This form is designed to provide sufficient information to enable the School Visits Group (see below) to decide whether it should proceed to the formal planning stage.
 
STEP 2 – Initial Approval  - The School Visits Group, comprising the Headmaster and/or Deputy Head, the Trip Proposer or Trip Leader, if designated, the Administration Manager and, for Internal Residential Visits & External Residential Visits, a small committee selected from Members of the Board of Governors (preferably the HR & Finance & Administration Committees), will assess the information provided and decide whether the trip:
 
a) Is suitable & conforms to the type of school trip the school will undertake (see above) and
b) Can be organised effectively in order to minimise/control the risks associated with it.
 
If the assessment indicates that the requirements have not been met or there is insufficient information on which to make a decision, then either additional information will be requested or the suggested trip will NOT be approved. 
 
If additional information is requested, then the Proposer will need to resubmit the School Trip & Risk Assessment Form with the additional information.
 
If Approval is given, then an individual will be appointed as the Trip Leader for the trip and the trip given a risk assessment classification by the School Visits group. 
 
The risk assessment classification will be High, Medium or Low. This is based on the following: 
 
High Risk: External Residential Trips and/or trips involving Adventurous Activities
Medium Risk: Internal Residential trips.
Low Risk: Short duration trips in the local vicinity, or regular trips such as sporting activities or other trips to local facilities. 
 
This is not an absolute indicator of the risks involved on a trip, but is used to identify the likely timescales required in order to make adequate arrangements for the safe management of the trip. Other factors, such as weather, security, road conditions, health hazards etc. may also need to be considered as and when necessary.
 
STEP 3 – Specific Risk Assessment –
Low Risk: the Visit Leader for all low risk trips must complete the School Trip & Risk Assessment Form, Sections 1,2 & 3 only.
 
Medium & High Risk: The School Trip & Risk Assessment Form (Including the Risk Assessment Pro forma Checklist) is to be completed by the Trip Leader for all medium or high-risk trips.
 
Both forms will include, or have attached, all relevant information about the trip and may involve the Visit Leader in a preliminary visit to the venue.
 
This is the key element to the process and it is important that all relevant aspects are considered. 
 
These will vary considerably depending on the trip but the higher the risk rating the more complex the arrangements are likely to be.
 
STEP 4 – Formal Approval of Trip - Once completed, the School Trip & Risk Assessment Form will be submitted to the School Visit Group together with any supporting paperwork. The School Visit group will then decide whether the trip should proceed to the next stage, whether additional information is required or if the trip is no longer felt to be appropriate.
 
STEP 5 – Parental interest - A letter is to be sent to parents/carers explaining in detail what the trip aims to do and asking them to indicate whether they would be prepared for their child/ward to attend. It must also indicate whether they will need to contribute towards the funding of the trip and the likely cost. Parents will be notified what they will need to provide, e.g. packed lunch, waterproof coat etc. In the case of a Residential Visit parents will also be asked to notify the school of any particular needs of pupils, this covering diet, medication, plus use of non prescribed medication. (See Appendix 3)
 
Provided sufficient interest is indicated then the process will move to the next step
 
STEP 6 – Confirmation of Venue etc. - This is where the relevant provisions will be finalised. In particular the venue and transport will be booked and both the numbers of pupils to attend and adult supervisors confirmed.
 
STEP 7 – Briefing of Pupils - This is essential so that pupils know what to expect and what is expected of them. In particular they will need to be advised what is to happen on each day, which must including where they are to meet, clothing etc. required.
 
STEP 8 - Emergency - Details relating to Emergency provision will be finalised
 
STEP 9 – Completion of Notification Form - If the trip is to involve a residential stay then the   Residential School Trips Notification Form must be sent in to the Administration Manager at least 21 days in advance of the trip.
 
STEP 10 – The Trip
 
SUPERVISION RATIOS:
The basic requirements for supervision are listed below. These are viewed as an absolute minimum and may need to be supplemented where pupils have special medical or educational needs, if the trip involves adventurous activities, if the trip is abroad or if any aspect of the trip may require it.
 
A Group Leader must be appointed or designated for all Trips.
 
If the group is of mixed sex at least one competent adult of each sex should accompany the group, irrespective of the number of pupils on the trip.
 
  • For ECDL Stage 1 competent adult to 4 children
  • For Years 1 and 2   1 competent adult for every 6 children
  • For Years 3 and 4 1 competent adult for every 10 children
  • For Years 5 and 6 1 competent adult for every 15 children
  • For Internal & External Residential Trips there must be a minimum of 1 competent adult for every 10 pupils, as well as the Group Leader.
A competent adult is either a teacher or someone who the school/group leader feels to be competent to take on the supervisory role. The competent adult is to have authority with the pupils and preferably be known by them.
 
NB: Any parent/volunteer acting as a competent adult must have undergone a police check or other suitable assessment as to whether or not they would be considered appropriate to have unobserved access to pupils.
 

FINANCIAL MATTERS

  • School trip money must not be dealt with through an individual’s account. Teachers and Volunteers should seek advice from the Bursar or the Head of the Finance Committee regarding sensible procedures to ensure that there can be no doubts about financial propriety.
  • Any allowances or per diems allocated to the adults accompanying the Group must be in compliance with the School HR Policy and must be accounted for in terms of this Policy at the end of the trip
  • Strict accounting practices must be observed, accurate records of all payments received and made, with proven receipts as appropriate, must be submitted by the Trip Leader to the Administration Manager at the end of the Trip.
  • Adults accompanying any trip must understand that they may be held personally liable for any misused or missing funds, and should sign an acknowledgement to this effect prior to the Trip.
 

INSURANCE

  • The Administration Manager must check whether or not the school insurance cover is sufficient for the trip/activity. If additional cover is needed, then the Finance Committee must approve such additional cover. If a commercial Travel Agent or other operator is used, the insurance cover of that operator must be confirmed to be adequate for the requirements of the Trip.
  • Any Internal or External Residential trip or a trip involving adventurous training activities may require specialist insurance.
 

LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY

  • The standard of care, which has to be exercised by teachers towards their pupils, is that which “reasonably careful parents” would exercise towards their own children. In this context the test of the “reasonably careful parent” must be applied not in relation to the parent at home, but in relation to parents applying their minds to this particular aspect of school life, or this activity within the school context.
  • Where a teacher has done all that a reasonably careful parent would have done in the particular circumstances, there is unlikely to be any question of legal liability, even though a pupil may have been injured.
  • All adults accompanying a School Trip must make sure, therefore, that they know all the applicable regulations and requirements for the trip/activity they are undertaking, and are able to comply with them.
  • If a legal claim against a teacher does arise under common law, the school as the teacher’s employer could be held liable, together with the teacher, and individual teachers can also be liable for negligence causing serious injury under Criminal Law.
 
Emergency Procedures
Teachers in charge of pupils during a School Trip have a duty of care to make sure that the pupils are safe and healthy. 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 a school visit. 
 
  • If an accident happens, the priorities are to: Assess the situation.
  • Safeguard the uninjured members of the group.
  • Attend to the casualty.
Inform the emergency services and everyone who needs to know of the incident.
 
Who Will Take Charge in an Emergency?
The Trip leader would usually take charge and would need to ensure that emergency procedures are in place and that back up cover is arranged. The Trip leader should liaise with the representative of the tour operator, should that be necessary.
 
Pre-arranged School Home Contact
The school contact’s main responsibility is to link the group with the school and the parents, and to provide assistance as necessary.
 
All those involved in the school trip, including teachers, pupils and parents, should be informed of who will take charge in an emergency and what they are expected to do in an emergency.
 
Emergency Procedures Framework During the Visit
If an emergency occurs on a school visit, the main factors to consider include:
 
  • Establish the nature and extent of the emergency as quickly as possible.
  • Ensure that all of the group are safe and looked after.
  • Establish the names of any casualties and get immediate medical attention for them.
  • Ensure that all group members who need to know, are aware of the incident and that all group members are following the emergency procedures.
  • Ensure that a teacher accompanies casualties to hospital and that the rest of the group are adequately supervised at all times and kept together.
  • Notify the police if necessary.
  • Inform the school contact.
  • Details of the incident to pass on to the school should include: nature, date and time of incident, location 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).
  • Notify insurers, especially if medical assistance is required.
  • Notify the tour operator. (This may be done by the   school contact.)
  • Write down accurately and as soon as possible all relevant facts and witness details and preserve any vital evidence.
  • Complete an accident report form as soon as possible.
  • No one in the group should speak to the media. Names of those involved in the incident should not be given to the media as this could cause distress to their families.
  • No one in the group should discuss legal liability with other parties. 
The main factors for the school contact to consider include:
 
  • Ensuring that the Trip leader is in control of the emergency and establishing if any assistance is required from the home base.
  • Contacting parents. The school link is the contact between the group and parents. Parents should be kept as well informed as possible at all stages of the emergency.
  • The school contact should act as a link between the group, the Head Master, SDC and the Chairperson of the Board of  Governors and arrange for the group to receive  assistance, if necessary.
  • Liaison with media contact.
  • The reporting of the incident using appropriate forms, if necessary.
 
Media Contact
 
The School should nominate a designated person, probably the Head Master, to deal with media enquiries. The media contact should liaise with the school contact, the Trip leader and, where appropriate, the emergency services. In the event of an emergency all media enquiries should be referred to the media contact. The name of any casualty should not be given to the media.
 
After a Serious Incident
 
It is not always possible to assess whether uninjured group members have been traumatised or whether pupils or any member of staff in the school has been affected. Schools in this situation have sometimes found it helpful to contact local community support services and to seek professional advice.
 
STEP 11 – Debrief and Evaluation - Staff will be asked to comment on the trip and identify any concerns and also to highlight where things worked out positively.