We offer some advice and tips to avoid risky school trips, and we start by asking a couple of simple questions:
- Who needs to be involved with the risk assessment?
- Should parents see the risk assessment?
It’s important where possible to bring classroom subjects alive. This may involve trips. To do this the school needs to consider what they need to carry out when risk assessing trips. It must be understood that trips which are routine carry no more than an everyday level of risk than a normal school day, such as slips and trips which will be covered by a school’s current policies and procedures. They only need a little extra planning beyond the educational aspect of the trip. They can be considered as lessons in a different classroom.
However, there are a few trips that need an extra bit of planning these types of trips you may find not covered by current policies you have in place. This could be due to:
- The location and distance from the school will students walk to the venue or will a bus be supplied
- Type of activity taking place
- Skilled staff required e.g. first aiders
- Duration and out of normal school hours return
So some trips and visits may need risk assessments, detailed planning and informed approval of headteachers or ( SMT). The person, with the task of preparing the risk assessment, should:
- Be a competent person with the right skills to carry out the risk assessment
- Understand what risks are involved
- Understand the type of activity and know who to contact at the venue to obtain their risk assessment
Most of all, plans should be sensible, focusing on how to manage genuine risks.
Parents may want to have a copy of the risk assessment you have carried out. This may be because their child has a medical issue that needs to be managed and they may want to see if you have considered these risks. So you may need to do a risk assessment for an individual as well as the main assessment. So its sometimes useful to get input from parents but always keep them informed.
When preparing for a trip the school must always obtain written consent for nursery age students. For students over this age, written consent is not needed for most trips as they are classed as part of the curriculum. But its good practice to tell parents about them. The school should also make parents aware about trips so it gives them the opportunity to withdraw the student from that trip.
Written consent is usually only needed for trips that:
- Need a higher level of risk assessment
- Are outside normal school hours
So with that in mind what is a higher level of risk? and could the trip go over normal school time? To avoid this issue it’s better to ask a parent to sign a consent form when the student enrols as this will cover them for their whole time at school.
At LRB consulting we have consultants that can help and guide you with your trips and visits risk assessments