This guidance should be read in conjunction with Wigan Council’s CYPS Educational Trip & Visits policy . As with the policy, this guidance is addressed to schools, the terms equally apply to the Youth Service and other departments and organisations within Wigan CYPS who are involved with providing Educational Visits.
The guidance in the main refers to teaching staff, however anyone within Children’s and Young Peoples Service involved with young people on educational visits is subject to this guidance; ‘Head Teacher’ may apply to Youth Service senior practitioners and other Managers. ‘Teacher’ may apply to youth workers, children’s workers & others who work with children & young people. It refers to ‘pupils’ rather than children, students & young people.
This guidance is a living document, and as such will be regularly reviewed and updated by CYPS in light of any pertinent developments in statutory duties, national or local codes of good practice.
The Value of Education Trips and Visits
Educational trips and visits including those involving outdoor adventurous activities, have a great potential for enhancing the educational, personal and social development of young people.
Educational trips and visits help young people to:
- develop self esteem, take personal responsibility, co-operate with, and respect the needs of others
- extend their personal horizons through greater appreciation and understanding of the world and its people around them
- understand the need for sustainable relationships between people and their environment
- enhance practical problem solving and team work skills and
- Promote a positive and knowledgeable response towards personal health and well being.
Educational trips and visits are particularly effective when young people engage in well planned and structured, first hand experiences in small groups, with opportunities to reflect and build upon those experiences.
Irrespective of gender, religion, ethnic origin, social background, medical need or physical ability pupils must have equal access to educational trips and visits, including those which incorporate outdoor adventurous activities.
The Legal Framework
Health and Safety is a shared responsibility between the parties involved in managing any programme of work or specific activity. The level of responsibility relates to the level of control. However, ultimate responsibility rests with the employer, which in the case of local authority schools is the Council. The employer in voluntary aided schools is the Governing Body.
1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. The 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act requires employers to do all that is reasonably practicable so as to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees and non-employees who are affected by their undertaking. This includes off-site activities.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, made under the 1974 Act require that employers:
- Produce a health and safety policy linked to risk assessment.
- Have in place systems for reporting accidents and incidents.
- Carry out risk assessments and implement control measures.
- Develop measures to control those risks including training and the provision of information.
- Appoint people competent to carry out specific tasks.
- Develop emergency procedures and
- Monitor and review procedures and practice.
This policy summarises the procedure which must be followed by Wigan Council employees in the management of educational trips and visits.
Under the same Health and Safety legislation employees must:
- Take reasonable care of their own and others health and safety.
- Co-operate with the Council over safety matters.
- Carry out activities in accordance with training and instruction and
- Inform the School’s Educational Visits Co-ordinator and Headteacher/Managers in their establishment of any serious risks.
Common Law. There is an increased duty of care on teachers and other professional staff as a consequence of the greater knowledge they are assumed to have of children and of specialised activities. The level of judgement expected of staff is related to that individual’s knowledge, experience and training.
Common law indicates that the age of the young person and the nature and location of the activity are factors in determining the degree of supervision required. Staff must consider the known patterns of behaviour of particular children and special educational need of anyone participating in the trip. Any action must be in line with developed and accepted practice.
The Scope of the Policy and Procedures
This document applies to staff and volunteers working in Wigan CYPS and to all aspects of outdoor education visits and off-site activities. It includes those activities which are overtly hazardous and those where the risk is small. It includes all elements of those experiences including the journey and any residential element.
Within this policy and procedure terminology has been adopted to incorporate the variety of people to whom the document is addressed and the range of activities involved. This guidance gives a glossary of terms used in outdoor adventurous education.
- Duty of care: Staff have a common law duty to act with care as befits a trained and experienced professional. It is established through the Courts that a greater level of care and supervision is expected to a person with a disability.
- Governors: Members of school Governing Bodies. It also includes members of Management Committees and other formally constituted groups which have delegated or devolved responsibility.
- Supervisor: The person who is responsible for managing a group engaged in a particular activity, this can be any competent or experienced person who has been approved by EVC/Head Governors/Senior Manager.
- Head: The Headteacher of the establishment or the line Manager to whom the Group Leader is responsible and from whom approval is normally required for an activity to go ahead.
- Young People: The participants, pupils or group members for whom the activities are provided. They will normally be under the age of 18. The word ‘pupils’ is used where the context is appropriate.
- Parents: Includes guardians or carers where the latter terms are more appropriate.
- Group Leader: The person who has overall responsibility for the whole group. A number of Supervisors may be answerable to the Group Leader.
- Instructor: The person to whom responsibility may have been delegated for specialist or technical instruction or supervision, as a result of their specific competence in an activity. Note that the Group Leader or Group Leader retains a responsibility to discuss any concerns they may have regarding safe practice with the instructor, and ultimately, withdrawing members of the group from that activity if they are not confident of the safety standards which they are operating.
- Accompanying Adult: Have to take the same care as a reasonable and careful parent. In common law this duty is termed ‘in loco parentis’. The principle of in loco parentis applies to all young people under the age of 18. As part of their function, accompanying adults may assume direct responsibility for a group engaged in a particularly activity. In particular they must recognise their responsibility for:
- Maintaining order and discipline.
- Safeguarding health and safety and well-being of children and
- Informing the Group Leader of any relevant incidents affecting pupils in her/his care.
- Off site activities: This includes all aspects of outdoor education, visits, residential experience and off-site activities.
- Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS): The term Children and Young People’s Services is abbreviated to CYPS and is used to describe the Local Education Authority.
- School’s Educational Visits Co-ordinator: The person in a school with the responsibility to co-ordinate school trips and visits. In the absence of a named member, if staff this will be the Headteacher.
- CYPS Educational Visits Advisor (EVA): The person within CYPS with the responsibility to ensure all establishments comply with CYPS guidelines.
Basic Principles of Safe Practice for Trips and Visits
Off-site activities carry elements of danger and risk. Adopting the principles of safe practice listed below will not necessarily prevent accidents or incidents but will help to ensure their likelihood is reduced to acceptable levels.
- Carry out a risk assessment which considers the health, safety and welfare of all prospective participants.
- Ensure there is a clearly identified purpose for the whole programme and any of its constituent parts, appropriate to the age and ability of the group.
- Qualities of leadership, judgement, anticipation and control are essential on the part of staff and assistants, particularly the Group Leader.
- Ensure compliance with any statutory requirements.
- Work within guidance and standards of competence recommended by national governing bodies and other recognised organisations.
- Ensure the availability of appropriate personal and group equipment and clothing.
- Seek advice from someone with expertise or technical competence where there is uncertainty about safe practice.
- Take a responsible attitude towards the environment; it illustrates a responsible attitude towards self and others.
- Good discipline is essential to the success of any visit; codes of conduct in relation to smoking, alcohol and behaviour between the sexes need to be clearly established and understood.
- Keep parents, young people and other relevant authorities informed about proposed activities and gain their approval where necessary.
- Adequate supervision is needed at all times, which may be direct or indirect. Prevent access to dangerous situations for those ill equipped to cope.
- Carry a list of group members, with home contact telephone numbers and consent forms. Multiple copies may be helpful.
- Maintain personal and professional experience related to specific activities and environments.
- Know your group.
- Carry out a pre-visit to the areas in which you are likely to work, or gather adequate background information to make management more effective.
- Record and learn from accidents, incidents and near misses.
Overall responsibility cannot be delegated in Health and Safety Law, the organisation carrying the role of ‘employer’ has the ultimate responsibility for the health and safety of staff. However, in practice individual people or groups can be given authority to act on behalf of the parent organisation. For the specific terms of reference they are given and agree to, individuals themselves can then be held accountable.
The allocation of responsibilities is a fundamental part of the discharge of the legal duty of care owed to those affected by the activity. When accidents occur, part of the cause can often be attributed to failures and misunderstandings associated with the allocation and communication of responsibilities. The notes which follow are intended to show broadly what must be expected of key people or groups. This is not an exhaustive list and there is scope for adjustment to take account of local circumstances. athough the text necessarily separates out individual responsibilities, the success and safety of a visit is dependent on co-ordinated teamwork. It must be a key responsibility of management to see that arrangements link together effectively.
The duties of CYPS stem from its ultimate role as employer in community and voluntary controlled schools. The responsibilities and powers of CYPS are outlined in the DCSF/0803/2001 statutory guidance which can be obtained from Teachernet (external link) Where the role of the employer passes to others, e.g. Governing Bodies of aided schools, this policy and procedure will be made available for them to adopt.