More help for teachers to organise school trips

6 Nov 2009 01:53 PM

Teachers and others will now find it easier to take young people out and about as Schools Minister Diana Johnson today launched a consultation on simple and straightforward guidance to cut red tape.

Activities outside the classroom have significant benefits for young people and help to bring learning to life. They support children to develop knowledge, understanding and skills beyond the classroom walls, through educational activities.

The new guidance will:

. Help teachers and other staff to keep children safe by outlining their duties and giving helpful advice
. Help cut red tape by providing sample checklist forms to help save time
. Give teachers and others more confidence to organise trips by highlighting helpful schemes like the Quality Badge.
. Highlight how employers should support their staff in the event of a child being hurt, so fears of legal action can be reduced

Diana Johnson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, said:

“Most people remember their school trips as fun and valuable experiences. They are an important part of a child’s education and personal development, and I want to see schools, and youth groups, taking advantage of opportunities that learning outside the classroom can provide.

“We hope that this guidance will make life easier for teachers and break down some of the myths around being sued. The support and help will hopefully give them the confidence to organise school trips for the benefit and enjoyment of their pupils.”

The Health and safety of learners outside the classroom (HASLOC) guidance provides straightforward advice and useful information for teachers and visits organisers planning off-site activities. Taking on board feedback from schools and local authorities, the guidance is now much shorter, condensing four documents published in 1998 and 2002 into one, and is designed to be read as and when needed.

It builds on the Quality Badge Scheme for providers, launched earlier this year, which cuts the paperwork that schools and others will need before organising visits to badged organisations and venues.

The guidance also makes clear that the law protects teachers in the rare event of someone being hurt on a school trip, and reassures them that they can give their pupils exciting, educational and valuable experiences by organising activities outside the classroom.

Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, said:

"I welcome today's announcement. We have heard a lot about how 'elf n safety' stops some teachers from organising trips but it shouldn't be the case. Lots of schools do continue to organise adventurous activities out of the classroom with no problem.

"This advice on how to take a practical approach and a few simple precautions should enable anyone to go ahead and organise a trip with confidence.

"Life is full of risks which cannot be eliminated. School trips and activities are the ideal way for children to learn about risk and how to deal with it whilst also having fun. It's time we threw away the cotton wool."

Editor's Notes
This press notice relates to 'England'
1. Health and safety of learners outside the classroom (HASLOC) guidance consultation is available online on the Consultations part of the website: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/
2. The consultation will start on 6 November and run for 12 weeks.
3. More information on the Quality Badge Scheme is available here:
http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2009_0033

Contact Details
Public Enquiries 0870 000 2288, info@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk