You are here Parents School Policy on School Tours
RESPONSIBILITIES FOR VISITS
Before a visit the class teacher will ensure that:
• Adequate child protection procedures are in place
• All necessary actions have been completed before the visit begins
• The risk assessment has been completed and appropriate safety measures are in place
• The teacher has experience in supervising the age groups going on the visit and will organise the group effectively
• The teacher is suitably competent to instruct the activity and is familiar with the location/centre where the activity will take place
• Non-teacher supervisors on the visit are appropriate people to supervise children
• Ratio of supervisors to pupils is appropriate
• Board of Management has approved the visit
• Parents have signed consent forms
• Arrangements have been made for the medical needs and special educational needs of all the pupils
• Adequate first-aid provision will be available
• The mode of travel is appropriate
• Travel times out and back are known including pick-up and drop-off points
• Teachers have the address and phone number of the visit’s venue and the contact name
• A school contact has been nominated (usually the principal teacher) and the teacher has details
• The teacher, good supervisors and nominated school contact have a copy of the agreed emergency procedures
• There is a contingency plan for any delays including a late return home
• Teachers and other supervisors are fully aware of what the proposed visit involves
• The group’s teachers and other supervisors have the details of pupils’ special educational or medical needs which will be necessary for them to carry out their tasks effectively.
• Teachers will do their best to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the group and act as any responsible parent would do in the same circumstances
• Will do their best to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the group
• Will not to be left in sole charge of pupils except where it has been previously agreed as part of the risk assessment
• Will follow the instructions of the teacher and help with control and discipline
• Will speak to the teacher if concerned about the health or safety of pupils at any time during the visit
Responsibility of pupils
• Not to take unnecessary risks
• Follow the instructions of the teacher and other supervisors including those at venue of visit
• Dress sensibly and responsibly
• Look out for anything that might hurt or threaten themselves or anyone in the group and tell the teacher or supervisor about it
• Parents will be able to make informed decisions on whether their child should go on the visit. The teacher will ensure that parents are given sufficient information in writing and are invited to any briefing sessions.
• Special arrangements may be necessary for parents for whom English is a second language
Parents will need to
• Provide the teacher with emergency contact number(s)
• Sign the consent form
• Give the teacher information about their child’s emotional, psychological and physical health which might be relevant to the visit (usually by means of consent form)
Whether the visit is to the local park, museum or swimming pool, it is essential that formal planning takes place before setting off. This involves considering the dangers and difficulties, which may arise and make plans to reduce them.
• A risk assessment for a visit need not be complex but it should be comprehensive. It does not generally require technical formulae or professional health and safety expertise. But specialised information for some visits may be necessary. Teachers will ensure that the person assessing the risks is competent to do so
• A formal assessment of the risks that might be met on a visit will have the aim of preventing the risks or reducing them. Pupils will not be placed in situations that expose them to an unacceptable level of risk. Safety will always be the prime consideration. If the risks cannot be contained then the visit will not take place
• The risk assessment will be based on the following considerations;
What are the hazards? Whom they might affect?
What safety measures need to be in place to reduce risks to an acceptable level?
Can the teacher put the safety measures in place?
What steps will be taken in an emergency?
• Frequent visits to local venues such as swimming pools may not need a risk assessment every time. Nevertheless, it is essential not to become complacent. A generic assessment of the risks of such a visit will be made at regular intervals, and careful monitoring will take place
• The teacher and other supervisors will monitor the risks throughout the visit and take appropriate action as necessary
• The teacher will take the following factors into consideration when assessing risks
• The type of visit/activity and the level at which it is being undertaken
• The location, routes and modes of transport
• The competence, experience and qualifications of supervisory staff
• The ratio of teachers and supervisory staff to pupils
• The group members age, competency, fitness and temperament and the suitability of the activity
• The special educational or medical needs of pupils
• The quality and suitability of available equipment
• Seasonal conditions, weather and timing
• Emergency procedures
• How to cope when a pupil becomes unable or unwilling to continue
• The need to monitor the risks throughout the visit
• An exploratory visit will be made by any teacher who is to lead a group in an outdoor activity such as trekking in a location that is not familiar to them
• In other cases the teacher will undertake an exploratory visit, wherever that is possible, to;
• Ensure at first hand that the venue is suitable to meet the aims and objectives of the school visit
• Obtain names and addresses of other schools who have used the venue
• Obtain advice from the manager
• Assess potential areas and levels of risk
• Ensure that the venue can cater for the needs of the staff and the pupils in the group
• Become familiar with the area before taking a group of young people there
• If in the last resort an exploratory visit is not feasible then the class teacher will need to consider how to complete an adequate assessment of the risks. A minimum measure will be to obtain specific information by letter from the venue, from other schools who have recently visited it, and from local organisations such as tourist boards.
• Many schools will take new groups of pupils to the same location each year. As some factors will change from year to year, it is prudent to re-assess the risks each time – even when the teacher stays the same. It may be useful to evaluate each completed visit and keep a record.
• The teacher will ensure that parents have early written information about the costs of the visit, and how each parent will be charged or asked to contribute. Parents will be given enough time to prepare financially for the visit. It may be useful to break the costs down into subheads such as travel, transport, meals, etc.
• The teacher will ensure that banking arrangements are in place to separate the visit’s receipts from the other school funds and from private accounts.
• The teacher will reach a pre-agreement with parents on whether any funds left surplus after the visit will be returned to parents or retained for another visit.
• Teachers will give a balance sheet report to parents after the visit showing the breakdown of costs
• First aid will form part of the risk assessment. Before undertaking any off-site activities the teacher will assess what level of first aid might be needed. On any kind of visit the teacher should have a good working knowledge of first aid and ensure that adequate first aid box is taken. All adults in the group will know how to contact the emergency services
• The minimum first-aid provision for a visit is;
• A suitably stocked first-aid box
Other considerations when considering first-aid needs will include;
- The numbers in the group and the nature of the activity
- The likely injuries and how effective first aid would be
- The distance to the nearest hospital
It is important to have a high enough ratio of adult supervisors to pupils for any visit.
Generally, the school will operate at a ratio of one adult supervisor to every 10 children with a minimum of three teachers on each trip. The factors taken into consideration will include;
• Sex, age and ability of group
• Pupils with special educational or medical needs
• Nature of activities
• Experience of adults in off-site supervision
• Duration and nature of the journey
• Competence of staff, both general and on specific activities
• Requirements of the organisation/location to be visited
• Competence and behaviour of pupils
• First aid cover
• In addition to the teacher in charge there will be enough supervisors to cope effectively with an emergency. When visits are to remote areas or involve hazardous activities, the risks may be greater and supervision levels will be set accordingly.
Where a high adult pupil ratio is required, it is not always feasible to use school staff alone. Parents may be used to supplement the supervision ratio. They will be carefully selected and ideally they will be well known to the school and the pupil group.
Whatever the length and nature of the visit, regular head counting of pupils will take place, particularly before leaving any venue. All supervisors will carry a list of all pupils and adults involved in the visit at all times Pupils, particularly from infants to 1st will be easily identifiable, especially if the visit is to a densely populated area. Brightly coloured caps, T shirts or a school uniform can help identify group members more easily. Pupils will not wear name badges. (Some schools find it useful to provide pupils with badges displaying the name of the school and its emergency contact number.) The teacher will establish rendezvous points and tell pupils what to do if they become separated from the group.
The aim of visits for older pupils may be to encourage independence and investigative skills, and some of the time on visits such as fieldwork may be unsupervised. The teacher will establish during the planning stage of the visit whether the pupils are competent in remote supervision and will ensure parents have agreed this part of the visit. The teacher remains responsible for pupils even when not in direct contact with them.
Parents will be told, before the visit, whether any form of remote supervision will take place.
Pupils who are involved in a visit’s planning and organisation, and who are well prepared, will make more informed decisions and will be less at risk. Providing information and guidance to pupils is an important part of preparing for a school visit. Pupils should clearly understand what is expected of them and what the visit will entail. Pupils must understand what standard of behaviour is expected of them and why rules must be followed. Pupils will also be told about any potential dangers and how they should act to ensure their own safety and that of others.
The teacher will ensure that the pupils are capable of undertaking the proposed activity. Pupils will be encouraged to take on challenges during adventurous activities but will not be coerced into activities of which they have a genuine fear.
Pupils, whose behaviour is such that the teacher is concerned for their safety, or for that of others, will be withdrawn from the activity. Parents and pupils will be told in advance of the visit about the procedures for dealing with misbehaviour.
Every effort will be made to ensure that school journeys and activities are available and accessible to all who wish to participate, irrespective of special educational or medical needs.
Information to pupils
The teacher will decide how information is provided, and will ensure that the pupils understand key safety information. Pupils should understand:
The aims and objectives of the visit/activity
The background information about the place to be visited
How to avoid specific dangers and why they should follow rules
Why safety precautions are in place
What standard of behaviour is expected from pupils
Who is responsible for the group
What to do if approached by anyone from outside the group
What to do if separated from the group
Where visits involve multiple activities with differing requirements each activity will need to be assessed and separate information provided. Pupils should be aware of who is responsible in any instances where the teacher has delegated responsibility to another member of staff or instructor.
Transport and pupils
Pupils using transport on a visit will be made aware of basic safety rules including:
Arrive on time and wait for the transport in the safe place arranged beforehand by the class teacher
Do not rush towards the transport when it arrives
Never tamper with the vehicle’s equipment or driving controls
Bags must not block aisles or cause obstructions
Never attempt to get on or off the moving transport
Never lean out of or throw things from the window of the transport
Never kneel or stand on seats
Never distract or disturb the driver or impede the driver’s vision
After leaving the vehicle, always wait for it to move off before crossing ` the road
If you feel unwell tell a teacher or supervisor
The teacher will ensure that pupils know what to do if they miss the scheduled departure time.
Pupils with special educational and medical needs
Teachers will make every effort to include pupils with special educational needs in school visits, whilst maintaining the safety of everyone in the group. If the pupil’s safety cannot be guaranteed, it may be appropriate to ask the parent or other person to accompany a particular child. Alternatively the child will not take part in the particular activity or may not travel on the tour. The teacher will discuss the pupil’s individual needs with the parents. Parents will be asked to supply:
Details of medical conditions
Emergency contact numbers
The child’s GP’s name, address and phone number
Information on any allergies/phobias
Information on any special dietary requirements
Information on any special toileting difficulties, special equipment etc
Special transport needs for pupils who require help with mobility
COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS
Parents will be informed in writing of any offsite activity or visit unless it is a regular part of the school curriculum which parents have already been informed about.
Parents need to be made aware that the teachers and other adult supervisors on the visit will be exercising the same care of that of a prudent parent would. The following information on matters that might affect pupil health should be given to parents:
dates of the visit;
times of departure and return – parents must have agreed to meet their children on return;
the location where the pupils will be collected and returned;
mode(s) of transport including the name of the travel company;
the size of the group and the level of supervision;
details of provision for special educational needs;
details of activities planned;
what pupils should not take on the visit or bring back;
clothing and equipment to be taken;
money (if any) to be taken;
if sun protection cream should be applied before leaving home and whether the pupil should bring some with him/her;
details on the cost of the visit.
A parental consent form will be completed for each pupil in the group. Besides conveying the parent’ consent it could also form the basis for obtaining details required. The general issues to consider should include:
any allergies/phobias the pupil may have;
any medication the pupil is taking;
the name, address and phone number of the pupil’s GP;
any special/medical dietary requirements;
whether the pupil suffers from travel sickness;
information on any toileting difficulties;
any other information which the parents thinks should be known;
the parental home and daytime phone numbers;
an alternative contact, with their phone number & address
Medical consent will form part of the parental consent form. Parents will be asked to agree to the pupil’s receiving emergency treatment, including anaesthetic or blood transfusion, as considered necessary by the medical authorities. If parents do not agree to this, the teacher may decide to withdraw the child from the visit –given the additional responsibility this would entail for the teacher.
Contact with parents during the visit
Teachers will ensure that parents can contact their child via the school contact in the event of a home emergency, and that they have a number to ring for information in the event of an incident during the visit or a late arrival home. Parents will therefore:
know the destination details;
be aware of the emergency contact arrangements
Supervision on transport
The level of supervision necessary will be considered as part of the risk assessment for the journey. The teacher is responsible for the party at all times including maintaining good discipline. The driver will not be responsible for supervision. All group members will be made aware of the position of the emergency door and first aid equipment on transport. If the group is travelling on a coach one teacher will sit in the rear seats and supervise pupils from there. Teachers will plan with the driver for stops or rests during a long journey. In the event of a breakdown or accident, the group will remain under the direct supervision of the teacher whenever possible. Head counts, by the class teacher, will always be carried out when the group is getting off or onto transport.
Issues to consider with all adventure activities
The teacher will check and agree the provider’s arrangements for supervision and recreation during the activities and between adventure activities. Teachers retain ultimate responsibility for pupils at all times during adventure activities, even when the group is under instruction by a member of the provider’s staff. The provider is responsible for the safe running of an activity. Clear handover and hand back procedures will be in place. Everyone, including the pupils, must have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the school staff and the provider’s staff. Teachers will have sufficient information on what the activity involves before it takes place. They will approach the instructor at an appropriate safe interval if they are concerned that the pupils may be at an unnecessary risk. Assurances may be sought that the provider has:
checked the suitability of staff, including temporary workers, to work with young people;
clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of its staff;
the appropriate security arrangements;
appropriate public liability insurance.
Remote supervision during adventurous activities
Some adventurous activities require pupils to work in small groups without direct supervision. Particular attention needs to be given to the information provided to pupils before supervision can be withdrawn. The training given to pupils must be sound and thorough and should be assessed separately. The instructor should have appropriate qualifications or experience to provide training in the activity. The teacher will be satisfied that the pupils have acquired the necessary skills and have the necessary experience, confidence, physical ability and judgement to be left without direct supervision. The withdrawal of direct supervision will be a gradual four stage process:
accompanying the group;
shadowing the group;
checking regularly at agreed locations;
checking occasionally at agreed locations.
Pupils will be familiar with all equipment used or taken without direct supervision and , in addition to training, an initial element of adult supervision in the use of equipment may be required.
Teachers should be aware that many of the incidents affecting pupils have occurred by or in the sea. There are dangers on the coast quite apart from those incurred in swimming. The teacher will bear in mind the following points when assessing the risks of a coastal activity:
tides and sandbanks are potential hazards, timings and exit routes should be checked;
ensure group members are aware of warning signs and flags;
establish a base on the beach to which members of the group may return if separated;
look out for hazards such as glass, barbed wire and sewage outflows etc;
some of a group’s time may be recreational. Teachers will consider
which areas of the terrain and sea are out of bounds;
cliff tops can be highly dangerous for school groups. Groups will keep to designated paths at all times.
Swimming in the sea will not be considered as an activity under any circumstances.
Farms can be dangerous even for the people who work on them. Taking children to a farm will be carefully planned. The risks to be assessed will include those arising from the misuse of farm machinery and the hazards associated with E coli 0157 food poisoning and other infections. The following basic safety rules will be adhered to. Never let pupils:
place their faces against the animals or put their hands in their mouths after feeding the animals;
eat until they have washed their hands;
have uncovered cuts/broken skin;
eat or drink unpasteurised produce;
eat anything that may have fallen on the ground;
touch manure or slurry, as it may be a source of infection;
sample any animal foodstuffs;
drink from farm taps (other than in designated public facilities);
ride on tractors or other machines;
play in the farm area.
Any teacher/adult supervisor who may be pregnant should not handle sheep or new-born lambs
Emergency procedures are an essential part in the planning of a school visit.
If an accident happens, the priorities will be to:
assess the situation;
attend to the causality;
inform the emergency services and everyone who needs to know of the incident;
safeguard the uninjured members of the group.
Who will take charge in an emergency?
The class teacher will usually take charge in an emergency and will need to ensure that emergency procedures are in place and that back up cover is arranged.
Pre-arranged school home contact
The school’s main responsibility is to link the group with the school, the parents and to provide assistance as necessary.
Emergency procedures framework
All those involved in the school trip, including supervisors, pupils and their parents, will be informed of who will take charge in an emergency, the named back up cover and what they are expected to do in an emergency.
Emergency procedures framework during the visit
If an emergency occurs on a school visit the main factors to consider include:
establish the nature and extent of the emergency as quickly as possible;
ensure that all the group are safe and looked after;
establish the names of any casualties and get immediate medical attention for them;
ensure that all group members who need to know are aware of the incident and that all group members are following the emergency procedures;
ensure that a teacher accompanies casualties to hospital and that the rest of the group are adequately supervised at all times and kept together;
notify the Gardaí if necessary;
inform the school contact (normally the principal), details of the incident to pass on to the school should include: nature, time of incident; location of incident; names of casualties and details of injuries; names of others involved so that parents can be reassured; action taken so far; action yet to be taken (and by whom);
notify insurers (duty of principal);
notify Chairperson BOM;
notify the tour operator;
ascertain telephone numbers for future calls;
write down accurately and as soon as possible all relevant facts and witness details and preserve any vital evidence;
keep a written account of all events, times and contacts after the incident;
complete an accident report form as soon as possible upon return to the school;
no-one in the group will speak to the media. Names of those involved in the incident will not be given to the media as this could cause distress to their families;
no-one in the group will discuss legal liability with other parties
The following are considered suitable tours for class groups as outlined:
(additional information is available in the School Tours Folder found in the staffroom)
Kia Ora Farm,
Wacky World, Courtown
The Dome, Carlow
The Big Blue Barn,
Ballykeenan Pet Farm
Well’s House, Gorey,
The Big Blue Barn,
Ballykeenan Pet Farm
The Dome, Carlow + Ballykeenan Pet Farm
Kiddie’s Kingdom, Bagenalstown
Arklow Leisure Centre
Bray – Sea World, Activity Centre
Ballykeenan Pet Farm
Seaworld in Bray, bowling centre (Also suitable for 3rd & 4th )
Please list suitable tours here
Wexford Heritage Park
National History Museum
Coco Cola & Croke Park
National Museum, Kildare Street
The Dome (Bowling & activity part)
Altamount Gardens (walk the path through the woods to the River Slaney and back up the 100 steps)
Kilkenny Castle & Dunmore Caves
National Museum – Collin’s Barracks
National Art Gallery
Lullymore Heritage Centre - Kildare
Dunmore East Activity Centre
Baltinglass Activity Centre
Blessington Adventure Centre