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“Let Your Light Shine!” - Matthew 5:16

Shirley Avenue

Gomersal

Cleckheaton

Bradford

BD19 4NA

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Educational Visits Policy


School vision – ‘Let Your Light Shine’ Matthew 5:16

This rationale for this policy is underpinned by our school’s Steps to Success:

  • Love – to care for, support and encourage each other
  • Respect – I respect the instruction of others and understand that they may have specialised knowledge on particular activities.
  • Friendship – I can offer a hand of friendship and support if required.
  • Forgiveness – when there have been difficult situations I can forgive others.
  • Resilience – when I am feeling challenged I can seek support and find solutions to help me.

Context

We believe that educational visits are an integral part of the entitlement of every pupil to an effective and balanced curriculum. Appropriately planned visits are known to enhance learning and improve attainment, and so form a key part of what makes Gomersal St. Mary’s CE Primary School a supportive and effective learning environment. The benefits to pupils of taking part in visits and learning outside the classroom include, but are not limited to:

  • Improvements in their ability to cope with change.
  • Increased critical curiosity and resilience.
  • Opportunities for meaning-making, creativity, developing learning relationships and practising strategic awareness.
  • Increased levels of trust and opportunities to examine the concept of trust (us in them, them in us, them in themselves, them in each other).
  • Improved achievement and attainment across a range of curricular subjects. Pupils are active participants, not passive consumers, and a wide range of learning styles can flourish.
  • Enhanced opportunities for ‘real world’ ‘learning in context’ and the development of the social and emotional aspects of intelligence.
  • Increased risk management skills through opportunities for involvement in practical risk-benefit decisions in a range of contexts. i.e. encouraging pupils to become more risk-aware as opposed to risk-averse.
  • A greater sense of personal responsibility.
  • Possibilities for genuine team working including enhanced communication skills.
  • Improved environmental appreciation, knowledge, awareness and understanding of a variety of environments.
  • Improved awareness and knowledge of the importance and practices of sustainability.
  • Physical skill acquisition and the development of a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Application

Any visit that leaves the school grounds is covered by this policy, whether, as part of the curriculum, it is during school time, or outside the normal school day.

In addition to this Educational Visits Policy, Gomersal St. Mary’s CE Primary:

  1. Adopts the Local Authority’s (LA) document: ‘Guidance for Educational Visits and Related Activities with National Guidance & EVOLVE’ (All staff have access to this via EVOLVE).
  2. Adopts National Guidance www.oeapng.info (as recommended by the LA).
  3. Uses EVOLVE, the web-based planning, notification, approval, monitoring and communication system for off-site activities.

All staff are required to plan and execute visits in line with this school policy, Local Authority policy, and National Guidelines. Staff are particularly directed to be familiar with the roles and responsibilities outlined within the guidance.

Types of Visit and Approval

There are three ‘types’ of visit:

  1. Visits/activities within the ‘School Learning Area’ that are part of the normal curriculum and take place during the normal school day. This type of visit carries no more than an everyday level of risk and the local area visit module on Evolve may be used for the planning. These follow the ‘School Learning Area’ Operating Procedure (Appendix 1).
  2. Other non-residential visits within the UK that do not involve an adventurous activity. E.g. visits to museums, farms, theme parks, theatres, etc. These are entered on EVOLVE by the Visit Leader and submitted to the EVC/Headteacher for checking for approval.
  3. Visits that are overseas, residential, or involve an adventurous activity. These follow point 2. above, but the Head Teacher then submits the visit to the LA for approval.

Roles and Responsibilities

Visit Leaders are responsible for the planning of their visits, and for entering these on EVOLVE (where required). They should obtain outline permission for a visit from the Head Teacher or EVC prior to planning, and before making any commitments. Visit Leaders have responsibility for ensuring that their visits will comply with all relevant guidance and requirements, and should seek advice from the EVC where necessary.

The Educational Visits Coordinator(s) (EVC) is the Headteacher, who will support and challenge colleagues over visits and learning outside the classroom (LOtC) activities. The EVC is the first point of contact for advice on visit related matters, and will check final visit plans on EVOLVE. The EVC sets up and manages the staff accounts on EVOLVE, and uploads generic school documents, etc.

The Head Teacher has responsibility for authorising all visits and for submitting those that are overseas, residential or adventurous to the LA for approval.

The Governing Body’s role is that of a ‘critical friend’. Governors are provided information on trips through the HT’s report. Individual governors have been given ‘read-only’ access to EVOLVE. Governors have a vital role in setting a compelling vision for how outdoor learning and off-site visits will contribute to the work of their establishment. For example, in a school they might set out how these activities will enliven the curriculum, improve motivation and attitudes to learning and ultimately educational attainment, and contribute to students’ personal and social development. They should ensure that this purpose and vision is reflected in the establishment’s ethos and culture, so that everyone is working together with a common goal and shared values and so that opportunities are available for all.

The Local Authority is responsible for the final approval (via EVOLVE) of all visits that are either overseas, residential, and/or involve an adventurous activity.

Staff Competence

We recognise that staff competence is the single most important factor in the safe management of visits, and so we support staff in developing their competence in the following ways:

  • A role shadowing system, where staff new to visits assist and work alongside experienced Visit Leaders before taking on a leadership role.
  • Supervision by senior staff on some educational visits.
  • Support for staff to attend training courses relevant to their role, where necessary.

In deciding whether a member of staff is competent to be a Visit Leader, the Head Teacher will take into account the following factors:

  • Relevant experience.
  • Previous relevant training.
  • The prospective leader’s ability to make dynamic risk management judgements, and take charge in the event of an emergency.
  • Knowledge of the pupils, the venue, and the activities to be undertaken.

Emergency Procedures

A critical incident is any incident where events go beyond the normal coping mechanisms and experience of the Visit Leadership Team.

The school has an emergency plan in place to deal with a critical incident during a visit (see Appendix 2). All staff on visits are familiar with this plan and it is tested regularly. It is updated based on learning from tests and following any major staffing changes.

When an incident overwhelms the establishment’s emergency response capability, or where it involves serious injury or fatality, or where it is likely to attract media attention then assistance will be sought from the local authority.

Educational Visits Checklist

Gomersal St. Mary’s CE Primary Educational Visits Checklist forms part of the risk management process for visits and off-site activities. A visit should only go ahead if the answer to all relevant questions is ‘YES’.

The checklist is an additional document to this policy.

Parental Consent

Consent is not required for activities within the School Learning Area that are part of the normal curriculum during normal school time.

The school obtains blanket consent at the start of each year for certain other routine activities e.g. going to Church.  Parents/carers have the option of consenting online or through a traditional paper consent form.

Specific (i.e. one-off), parental consent must be obtained for all other visits.  For these visits, sufficient information must be made available to parents (via letters, meetings, etc.) so that consent is given on a ‘fully informed’ basis.  As above, parents have the option of consenting online, or through a traditional paper consent form.  

Inclusion

All trips enable ALL pupils to participate. Adequate support is put in place to enable this to happen.

Charging / Funding for Visits

We only charge enough to cover the cost of the trip. Pupil Premium money may be used to support the cost for individual pupils if necessary. A trip may have to be cancelled if insufficient funds are met.

Transport

Approved coach companies are used to transport pupils. For small groups staff cars may be used, but only if adequate insurance is in place. School staff will always supervise pupils on the transport.

Use of staff cars to transport pupils

Travel in Private Vehicles

All school staff, parents and carers transporting children and young people to and from visits in private vehicles should adhere to the school’s normal policies and procedures. As a minimum, this should include the school checking driving licences are adequate, the driver is suitable and checking that vehicles are appropriate to transport children and young people. All private vehicles transporting children and young people should be in a roadworthy condition, be appropriately insured (this may require that the driver of the vehicle has ‘business use’ cover on their policy), hold a valid MOT certificate and be taxed to be permitted for use on the road. It is advisable for the school to keep a written record of vehicle, license and driver suitability checks. Schools should be mindful that an adult driving a vehicle cannot be expected to supervise the children and young people that they are transporting alongside driving. Schools should give some thought to the safeguarding and appropriate supervision of children and young people been transported in private vehicles.

Parents Providing Transport

Sometimes parents are asked to help with transport to a venue. When this happens, establishments should be clear which of the following applies:

  • Parents are being asked to volunteer as drivers, as part of the establishment’s transport arrangements for the visit. If this is the case then the drivers should be engaged as volunteers and the considerations above should be applied.
  • Parents are being asked to organise transport, which may involve some parents providing lifts for children other than their own. If this is the case then the establishment should make clear that it will not be involved in making these arrangements and will not have any responsibility for them.

Where parents are being asked to organise their own transport, the establishment should consider the need for:

  • Information from parents about what arrangements have been made.
  • Communication with parents, in case of delays or ‘no shows’.
  • Clear handover of supervision from and to parents at the venue, depending upon the age of the children and other relevant factors.
  • The provision by the establishment of transport for any children whose parents are unable to make such arrangements.

Insurance

Kirklees insurance is in place.

Other Topics:

Attending Church:

  • Pupils walk to church following the designated route. This does require crossing minor roads which are carefully monitored by adults
  • Classes are supported by adults at the back and front of the lines. Additional adults may be deployed depending on the age and number of pupils in the class
  • High vis vests are worn by pupils and adults
  • Medical support such as inhalers and epi pens will be taken

Swimming lessons:

  • Approved coach companies are used to transport pupils as arranged by Kirklees swimming
  • At least 2 members of staff accompany the children
  • Pupils are allowed privacy to get undressed and dressed unless they require assistance. In this case there will be more than one adult present
  • Pupils and staff wear hi-vis vests to walk from buildings to bus
  • Pupils wear seat belts on the bus
  • Pupils are supervised at all times in the pool by qualified swimming instructor and lifeguards
  • Members of the public may be in the reception area of the building. Pupils are closely monitored by staff here.
  • The bus parks outside the school gates and then close to the baths so no roads need to be crossed
  • Medical support such as inhalers and epi pens will be taken

Dismissal after tea time club:

  • Adults have to buzz to be allowed into the building where the children are
  • Supervising adults then only allow adults in once they have been identified
  • Pupils are signed out
  • The door is secured after they leave
  • Medical support such as inhalers and epi pens will be taken to tea time club and may go home with the child

Dismissal after school clubs

  • Older pupils may give written permission to walk home after the club has finished
  • All other pupils remain with the instructor until an adult comes to collect them
  • If no-one arrives school has contact information to find out what is happening and act as necessary
  • Medical support such as inhalers and epi pens will be taken

Gardening Club:

  • Pupils are carefully supervised throughout the sessions
  • Pupils are taught how to use gardening equipment before they use it and are aware of the dangers
  • Appropriate clothing is worn throughout. School has clothing, including waterproofs if necessary

Appendix 1 – School Learning Area

General

Visits/activities within the ‘School Learning Area’ that are part of the normal curriculum and take place during the normal school day follow the Operating Procedure below.

These visits/activities:

  • Do not require parental consent
  • Do not normally need additional risk assessments/notes (other than following the Operating Procedure below).
  • Should be recorded on EVOLVE if regular e.g. swimming lessons or leave the immediate area surrounding the school
  • Do not need to be recorded on EVOLVE if these are ad-hoc activities eg a walk to look at landuse or vegetation around the school and just outside the boundary

Boundaries

This area includes, but is not limited to, the following frequently used venues:

  • Church
  • Shirley Estate

Operating Procedure for School Learning Area

The following are potentially significant issues/hazards within our School Learning Area:

  • Traffic.
  • Other people/members of the public/animals.
  • Losing a pupil.
  • Uneven surfaces and slips, trips, and falls.
  • Weather conditions.
  • Activity specific issues when doing environmental fieldwork (nettles, brambles, rubbish, etc.).

These are managed by a combination of the following:

  • The Head Teacher, or Deputy must give verbal approval before a group leaves.  
  • Only staff judged competent to supervise groups in this environment are approved.  A current list of approved staff is maintained by the EVC and office.
  • The concept and Operating Procedure of the ‘School Learning Area’ is explained to all new parents when their child joins the school and a synopsis is in the School Prospectus.
  • There will normally be a minimum of two members of staff. However this could be 1 adult if within the school grounds and older pupils eg years 5 and 6 are involved.
  • Staff are familiar with the area, including any ‘no go areas’ and have practiced appropriate group management techniques.
  • Pupils have been trained and have practiced standard techniques for road crossings in a group.
  • Where appropriate, pupils are fully briefed on what to do if they become separated from the group.  
  • All remotely supervised work in the School Learning Area is done in ‘buddy’ pairs as a minimum.
  • Pupils’ clothing and footwear is checked for appropriateness prior to leaving school.
  • Staff are aware of any relevant pupil medical information and ensure that any required medication is available.
  • Staff will deposit in the office a list of all pupils and staff, a proposed route, and an estimated time of return if leaving the grounds and going beyond just outside the fence.
  • A school mobile is taken with each group and the office have a note of the number.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment is taken when needed (e.g. gloves)
  • When crossing Spen Lane everyone must use purpose built crossings.

Appendix 2 – Emergency Procedure

The school’s emergency response to an incident is based on the following key factors:

  1. There is always a nominated emergency base contact for any visit (during school hours this is the office).
  2. This nominated base contact will either be an experienced member of the senior management team, or will be able to contact an experienced senior manager.
  3. For activities that take place during normal school hours, the Visit Leadership Team will be aware of any relevant medical information for all participants, including staff.
  4. For activities that take place outside normal school hours, the Visit Leadership Team and the emergency contact/s will be aware of any relevant medical information and emergency contact information for all participants, including staff.
  5. The Visit Leader/s and the base contact/s know to request support from the Local Authority in the event that an incident overwhelms the establishment’s emergency response capability, involves serious injury or fatality, or where it is likely to attract media attention.
  6. For visits that take place outside the School Learning Area, the Visit Leader will carry either:
    • An LA Emergency ‘Card’ (see EVOLVE Resources), or
    • An OEAP National Guidance Emergency action card (Available via www.oeap.info)
  7. This Emergency Procedure is tested through both desk top exercises and periodic scenario calls from Visit Leaders.