School trips are an excellent feature of the academic year – fun and educational for pupils, and undoubtedly a valuable experience. For the teaching staff, however, planning a school trip thoroughly is essential, with the safety of children paramount at all times. Here are some of the factors to consider.
Planning and communication
When planning the trip, make use of tools such as Parent Mail. This gives teachers and administration staff the ability to keep track of which children are going on the trip and to collect money from parents. Systems such as these are also useful for communicating key messages before the trip, confirming the itinerary, sending payment reminders, informing parents of emergency contact details and so on. It can save a lot of admin headaches.
Take a look at the trip plans closely
It’s important to review your trip plans and run them by other members of staff too. Higher risk trips such as an activity holiday may require more members of staff and special precautions. Lower risk trips, like a tour around a local historical site, will still need a risk assessment but you’ll probably find that a small group of parents and teachers (along with a tour guide) can handle the children.
Once on the trip, it’s important to stay organised. If the trip has been planned properly then this should be fairly straightforward. For example, if you are visiting a museum, the management there are used to large groups from visiting schools. Typically, the museum may offer an official guide to help show the children around, point out specific sections of interest, and engage them in discussion. This is what the guides are skilled at, leaving the teaching staff relatively free to keep an eye on the children.
It’s important to have the correct amount of staff to help keep watch over a group of children. The amount of adults per child depends on the age of the children. For kids aged 13-18 the ratio is one adult per 10. The younger the children, the more adults you’ll need.
You can enlist the help of parents too but unless they’ve been checked and vetted as a volunteer, they can’t be left alone with children so bear this in mind. If you have volunteers with you on a trip it may also be worth carrying out DBS checks.
It’s also important to have trained first aiders in your team of adults. This means that if an accident does happen, there’s someone there with the skills to deal with it.
Regular check ins
If you have an adult with a group of children and they are allowed to go off and do their own thing, it’s important to have meet up points where everyone can get together to ensure that everything is running smoothly. It’s also important in these cases that parents/teachers are in contact via mobile phone at all times.