Health and Safety legislation requires that activities are appropriately monitored but this monitoring only needs to be proportionate to the general level of risk to be expected.
This approach has been followed in the grading of checking procedures set out in this section.
- Category A: Visits vetted at school level alone.
- Category B: Visits over which CYPS needs to keep a watching brief and therefore requires notification.
- Category C: Visits which CYPS must be asked to approve, at the outset of planning.
This section explains the differences between the categories in terms of the types of visit.
Visits vetted at School level only
These local activities are those of the everyday, normal timetable; they are frequently and regularly undertaken activities that form part of Schemes of Work and/or Individual Education Plans that have been agreed by the Headteacher / SMT / Subject Leader.
The key issue is that leaders require only general teaching skills or, in some circumstances, generic teaching assistant skills, to preside competently over the activity. Some general, off-site curriculum activities may be delegated to TAs or others, providing their competence has been assessed and appropriate planning, including risk assessment has been undertaken.
The School’s Educational Visits Co-ordinator will normally assess the competence of the individual to lead this category of visit, therefore the School’s Educational Visits Co-ordinator can vet and approve these visits.
In this case the Governing Body needs no special assistance from the CYPS to make the appropriate judgements, beyond observing the principles set out in this document.
Visits requiring notification to CYPS
This category includes visits to & undertaking activities managed by CYPS maintained centres and those involving some higher risk activities.
Safe supervision requires that the leader must, as a minimum, have undergone an additional familiarisation process or induction specific to that activity and/or location. She or he will be approved as appropriately competent by CYPS or by the School’s Education Visit Co-ordinator following CYPS guidance.
Visits where CYPS must be asked to approve at the outset of planning. This category includes self led visits to CYPS Centres
This category is applied where the level of uncertainty about the risks involved is difficult to quantify, but is likely to be at the highest level which can be justified for an educational visit.
The visit involves an activity which requires a specific level of training or an additional qualification. It includes all those activities that, if not school-led, would be in scope of the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 1996.
Issues can arise quite simply as a result of leaders not having the appropriate competence for what might be regarded as relatively routine adventure activities. They could also arise from a really challenging exploration visit abroad. Winter conditions or heavy rain can also make a huge difference to risk levels for example in mountains or gorges.
Purpose of the visit: Aims and objectives of the visit must be clearly identified at an early stage. These must be relevant to pupil and curriculum needs, and take account of age, ability, previous experience and resources available. Clear, appropriate objectives will contribute significantly to pupil safety and well being as well as to the educational outcomes. They will ensure:
- Appropriate structure and discipline for the visit.
- Maximum pupil motivation.
- A choice of environment and activity appropriate to pupil maturity and experience, and
- Consideration of appropriate training, staffing and resources.
Approvals: Approval in principle must be sought from the School’s Educational Trips and Visits Co-ordinator as soon as possible and before any financial commitment is made. Schools’ policies will differ; leaders must check procedures and give adequate notice for category C and B Visits. Certain categories of activity, e.g. outdoor adventurous activities or visits abroad, will require prior notification for approval by the Governing Body. Establishments must ensure that they comply with the legal obligations of the Adventurous Activities Licensing Regulations 1996. Information can be obtained on the web at AALA (external link)
CYPS notification is required for visits in Category B and Category C. Where there is doubt about the nature of any visit, advice can be obtained from the EVA.All Group Leaders undertaking off-site activities as part of their work on behalf of CYPS must follow the system of approval outlined below.
- For any off-site activity the approval of the Head of the establishment is required.
- Governor’s approval may be needed according to agreed procedures within the school.
- The relevant form must be completed by the school for all off-site activities (Categories A, B and C).
- For category B and C visits a copy of the relevant form must be forwarded via email, to the CYPS EVA. For category B visits at least 10 days before the visit. For category C visits a copy of a completed risk assessment must also be included and sent at least 4 weeks prior to the date of the trip. For visits abroad notification to the CYPS EVA should be given as soon as the Head/Governors have given approval.
- If the approval procedures outlined are not followed insurance may be compromised.
- Where non-staff act as Group Leaders or instructors for hazardous activities they must be qualified to an equivalent standard to that expected of staff.
General principles for checking proposals for Trips and Visits
- The actual activity.
- Where it is to be undertaken.
- Ratio of supervising adults to pupils.
- Competence of leaders.
- Risks associated with visit having been assessed.
- Group ability.
Activities requiring approval by the LEA
The table below describes some of those activities CYPS is obliged to monitor directly. Visits involving such activities are classed as Category C.
- Rock Climbing and Absailing
- Sailing (including windsurfing)
- Gorge or Coastal Scrambling
- White-water and Improvised Rafting
- Underground Exploration
- Snorkel and Aqualung diving
- Air Activities (except commercial flights)
- All forms of Boating (except commercial transport)
- Other Activities (e.g. initiative exercises) involving skills inherent in any of the above activities.
- Skiing (including dry slope)
- Open Water Swimming
- Horse riding in mountainous areas
- Ice skating
- Mountain biking
Wild country’ is defined, as upland or tidal areas where the party will, of necessity; be dependent on itself and remote from help, and areas subject to tidal variations. These areas are listed below. There is no arbitrary upland height limit since local and seasonal influences have major significance. The identification of these wild country areas is not meant to imply that all other areas are safe; leaders will need to be aware of and apply appropriate precautions, commensurate with the group, time of year and characteristics of the terrain in which they are operating.
Wild Country Areas
- Bodmin Moor
- Black Mountains
- Peak District
- North Yorkshire Pennines
- Lake District
- Mourne Mountains
- Sperrin Mountains and North Antrim Hills
- Galloway Hills
- Central, Western and Northern Highlands of Scotland
- Brecon Beacons
- Mid and North Wales Mountains
- Cheviots and the Durham Dales
- Isle of Man
- North York Moors
- Yorkshire Dales
- Scottish Borders
- Isle of Skye, Arran, Harris and Lewis.
NB. ‘Category B’ activities may take place in hazardous or remote environments and require specific skills, experience and safeguards in order to contain risk at an acceptable level.
In addition to technical competence, recognised by qualification, the Headteacher must be satisfied that the individual has adequate non-technical skills and judgement to supervise or manage the group in question.
By their nature, qualifications indicate a reasonable standard of competence in the activity and the ability to assess the suitability of a proposed activity within the terms of reference of that qualification.
Qualifications must be kept up to date and maintained with recent personal experience.
Examples of Category A Visits
Visits undertaken within the normal school day, for which the elements of risk is similar to that encountered in daily life, such as frequent curriculum related activities that are a part of the normal timetable:
PSD programmes; local Independent travel, shopping, interviews, local library, sports or leisure centres, traffic census, factory visits, sites of historic, commercial or cultural interest, local walks in ‘quiet’ places away from traffic, theatre, school swimming baths lessons, CYPS Wigan Council's Lakeland Centres and CYPS Outdoor Education Team. School based sports activities and visits to other schools and approved education partners, community activities, e.g. church, OAP homes.
- School EVC & Headmaster and if necessary, School Governors.
Visits with increased hazards, visits with increased insurance premiums.
Cycling on quiet roads or non remote off-road terrain, day visits involving outdoor & adventurous activities that are in Adventurous Activity Licensing Authority (AALA) registered centres, low level initiative challenges such as self led walks, orienteering or ‘treasure hunts’ within ‘zoned’ or enclosed areas, adventure courses, theme parks, trips to the circus, ‘open’ farms, recreational indoor water centres, zoned beach visits, supervised walk near ponds, small lakes or canal, commercial boat trips; ferry crossings, visits including long or complicated journeys using public transport and those not included in category A.
- School EVC, Headteacher/Manager & Governing Body. (Use category B notification form).
- CYPS to receive notification via email, 10 working days minimum.
Winter sports, activities in or close to open or running water, not specified above, ‘higher-level’ personal challenges, e.g., Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ventures, any overnight camping & related activities especially in remote areas. Visits which involve an overnight stay, visits abroad. School led visits, which would normally be in scope of AALA. Activities involving or being carried out by armed services. Also includes the following activities; Ice Skating, go karting & high ropes courses.
- School EVC, Headmaster & Governing Body (Use category C notification form)
- Submit for approval by CYPS at least four weeks prior to the trip taking place.
- Visit not to proceed without endorsement by CYPS
For all visits
The Group Leader must be experienced, competent and have considerable knowledge of all aspects of the visit and, be approved by the Headmaster/governors.
Accompanying staff and volunteers must also be adequately experienced, competent and be fully briefed regarding their role and responsibilities.