Safely managed educational visits with a clear purpose are an indispensable part of a broad and balanced curriculum. They are an opportunity to extend the learning of all pupils, including an enrichment of their understanding of themselves, others and the world around them. They can be a catalyst for improved personal performance, promote a lifetime interest and in some cases, lead to professional fulfilment.
As always there is the need for proportionate planning including risk assessment with a key element of this planning being to establish the proposed learning outcomes of the activity and deciding upon an effective method of evaluation. Only in this way can the visit gain equal status to other learning opportunities within the school and maximise the well documented benefits of learning outside the classroom.
Throughout the planning process of a school trip, teachers should foresee and evaluate risk to ensure the children and the environment that surrounds them can co- exist in a safe fashion. Read more about Risk Assessment here
Planning a School Trip checklist:
Before planning a school trip ensure that you have read and understood the school's and the LEA's policy on school trips. Follow the school’s procedures, and ensure you are aware of your legal and moral responsibility as group leader. Next, search for out of school education venues and providers via these pages on TeachOut (add link to main Teachout search page). In your search, establish answers to these questions:
What is the total individual budget for the trip?
What additional costs will be associated to the trip?
Will food be included in the cost?
Are the insurance arrangements suitably sufficient for the trip?
What will be the payment procedure for the trip?
How much deposit is required from each pupil?
Does the venue/provider offer pre-inspection visits?
Is the trip suitable for all students?
What staff will be available for the trip?
Will a member of accompanying staff have a relevant first-aid certificate?
Also, check out the website of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom - http://lotcqualitybadge.org.uk – for detailed information about providers that have been accredited with the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge.
The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is the managing and overall awarding body for the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge, which recognises providers offering good quality learning outside the classroom and managing risk effectively.
The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is responsible for:
Influencing and challenging learning outside the classroom policy and practice
Raising the profile of learning outside the classroom and promoting the benefits
Providing support for education and LOtC professionals, aiming for good quality learning outside the classroom that meets the needs of young people
Supported by the majority of Local Authority Outdoor Education Advisers, the LOtC Quality Badge makes it easier for anyone organising educational visits to gain approval and provides assurance that their chosen destination has met 6 nationally recognised quality indicators
The website http://www.lotc.org.uk provides information designed to help schools, educational practitioners and other groups carry out inspiring and varied school trip activities.
Information that parents will require prior to the school trip:
A brief overview of the trip, including dates, times, venue, details of staff accompanying the trip and details of the destination
A clear itinerary including departure and arrival details
Request for Nationality and Passport details, if appropriate
Travel arrangement details and approximate duration of travel
Accommodation details, if appropriate.Details should cover the name, full address and telephone number of the accommodation
A list of items required for the trip such as clothing, footwear, stationary, waterproofs, books, bags etc.
A clear summary of the possible risks on the trip
An overview of the expected conduct of pupils, and a polite notice concerning discipline and appropriate sanctions
Details about the cost of the trip
Payment schedule and amounts required by specified dates. Clearly indicate that deposits are non-refundable
A description of what is, and what is not, covered by the cost
Recommended additional money needed by each pupil for general expenses
Date of a parents' information evening
Emergency contact name and number at the school and at the venue
A consent form requesting special medical and diet information and permission to take appropriate emergency measures