The school/centre has formally adopted, through its Governing Body, the Norfolk ‘Guidance for Offsite Visits’. www.oeapng.info and as outline on EVOLVE www.norfolkvisits.org.uk Further procedures have been agreed with the Governing Body to ensure that this policy is adhered to.
This policy should be read with reference to the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention states what countries must do to ensure ALL children grow as healthy as possible, can learn at school, are protected, have their views listened to and our treated fairly. Article 1, 2 and 3 apply to all of our policies.
This policy has particular reference to Article 29: Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
Aims and Purposes of Offsite Visits
Our school has a strong commitment to the added value of learning outside the classroom and beyond the school premises. It will seek to provide a broad & balanced range of Learning Outside the Classroom opportunities for all its pupils.
Each year the school will arrange a number of activities that take place off the school site and out of school hours, which support the aims of the school. The range of activities which the Governing Body has given its approval includes:
- Out of hours Clubs (music, drama, art, science, sport, homework etc)
- School sports teams
- Regular local visits (places of worship, swimming, other local amenities)
- Day visits for particular groups
- Residential visits
- Overseas visits
- Adventurous Activities.
The Governing Body has delegated the consideration and approval of offsite visits and activities to the Headteacher. The Head teacher has nominated the School Support Manager as the Educational Visits Co-ordinator (EVC) and the Governing Body has approved this appointment and the EVC has received training by the LA.
Before a visit is advertised to parents the Head teacher and EVC will approve the initial plan. The Headteacher/EVC will also approve the completed plan and risk assessments for the visit before departure.
This will be undertaken using EVOLVE as the planning and approval system.
The School has agreed a policy for categorising its visits in line with NCC guidance i.e:
- Level 3 visits must be approved via Evolve and the LA’s on-line approval gained.
- Level 2 Day visits approved at school level on Evolve by EVC & Head.
- Level 1 Local regular day visits this establishment has chosen to use Evolve to record & approve all these visits
Level 2 = Day visits not in your establishments list of Level 1. [These must be approved on-line at school level on Evolve].
Level 1 = Local & regular visits that you have generic risk assessments’ & standard operating procedures for.
The school recognises the key role of accompanying staff in ensuring the highest standards of learning, challenge and safety on a school visit.
Staff are encouraged and supported to develop their abilities in organising and managing visits. There will be a system within the school to allow less experienced members of staff to work alongside more experienced colleagues on visits. The selection of staff for offsite visits will be a key priority in the initial approval of any proposed visit. Staff will be suitably qualified and experienced for proposed activities.
The school values and recognises the contribution of volunteer adults and parent helpers assisting with offsite activities and visits. Any volunteer will be approved by both the Head and Visit Leader and is entered on the voluntary helpers list kept by the School. They will be carefully briefed on the scope of their responsibility. Where it is appropriate the school will ensure that CRB screening is available for volunteers.
The appointed Visit Leader will be fully supported in the tasks required to arrange the visit. This will include, as necessary, making time or finances available to conduct an exploratory visit, briefing teachers and/or other staff, accessing training courses, reviewing and evaluating the visit or identifying time when the leader and EVC might work in partnership to undertake planning and risk assessments.
Visit staff will not be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs such that their ability to recognise hazards or respond to emergencies is in any way restricted.
The Visit Leader will seek to identify any significant risks from any activity that is under their control and take appropriate steps to ensure all participants are safe. Good practice precautions and safety measures will be taken and this will be recorded in a risk assessment.
External Activity Providers
Where external contractors are involved in organising all or part of the visit, the contract will be made with the school on behalf of the pupils. All payments for the visit will be made through the school accounts.
The Visit Leader will make appropriate checks before committing the school to the contract. This will include seeking assurances about health and safety, and any accreditation and licensing. Wherever possible the school will seek to use holders of the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge for which no Providers Contracts or other assurance checks are required.
Written consent from parents will not be required for pupils to take part in the majority of off-site activities organised by the school as most of these activities take place during school hours and are a normal part of a child’s education at school. However, parents will be told where their child will be at all times and of any extra information or measures required.
Written consent will be requested for activities that need a higher level of risk management or those that take place outside school hours. The school has a standard form, which will be used for this purpose.
As part of the parent consent they will be fully informed of the activities and arrangements for the visit. For all residential visits parents will be invited to a briefing meeting where they can ask for clarification of any aspect of the itinerary and organisation of the visit.
The school has policies for Charging and Remissions, Behaviour and Inclusion, which applies to all visits.
The expectations of Pupils and Parents
The school has a clear code of conduct for school visits based on the school ‘Behaviour Policy’. This code of conduct will be part of the condition of booking by the parents. Pupils, whose behaviour is such that the Visit Leader is concerned for their safety, or for that of others, can be withdrawn from the activity. The Visit Leader will consider whether such pupils should be sent home early and parents will be expected to cover any costs of the journey home early.
The school will appoint a member of the Senior Management Team as the emergency contact for each visit. All major incidents should immediately be relayed to this person, especially those involving injury or that might attract media attention.
The Visit Leader will leave full details of all pupils and accompanying adults on the visit with the emergency contact, including the home contact details of parents and next-of-kin, as appropriate.
All incidents and accidents occurring on a visit will be reported back and recorded following normal school procedures for reporting and investigating accidents.
Review by the Local Authority
The school is supported in its arrangements for offsite visits by the County Council. Where necessary the school will seek advice from the Adviser for Outdoor Learning.
All visits that involve an overnight stay, going abroad and any that involve adventurous activities will be notified to the LA prior to departure. The LA will provide an independent reassurance check of the plan and the precautions and safety measures that will be taken.
Some sample monitoring will also be undertaken by the LA & the school agrees to facilitate this when & where required. Any advice provided will be fully considered prior to the trip taking place.
Charging for Activities and Visits
The school may invite, but not require, parents to make voluntary contributions for school activities in order to enhance what is otherwise provided. There is no obligation to contribute and pupils will not be treated any differently according to whether or not their parents have made a contribution.
The level of contribution will be calculated for each activity and may include, for example, an element to cover the participation by young people from low-income families or the cost of travel for accompanying teachers. Some activities may not take place if parents are reluctant to support it.
The school will comply with the law in relation to charges that may be made for the cost of activities provided outside school hours, within school hours and for board and lodging on residential courses.