Educational Visits Policy 2022_23
Educational Visits Policy 2022-2023
Policy owner: Charlotte Wierzbianski
Date: September 2022
Date shared with staff: November 2022
Date shared with governors: December 2022
Date for review: December 2023
At Co-op Academy Parkland, we see the benefits to learning outside the classroom and educational visits to be crucial to the ‘Catch Up’ and recovery to learning post pandemic. We have seen real disruption to our routine, and the traumas faced by students, parents and staff have affected us all in very different ways. The opportunities to rebuild trust and relationships are often greater whilst out of the classroom. Being outside also encourages physical activity following a period where some of our school community have been housebound.
Learning outside the classroom activities and educational visits are used as teaching and learning tools for the delivery of elements of Co-op Academy Parkland’s Statement of Intent.
Learning outside the classroom activities and educational visits have clear and measurable aims which link to Co-op Academy Parkland’s statement of intent/curriculum intent. The impact contributes to pupils’ attainment and progress. Our approach to the evaluation of activities and visits is set out in this policy.
We believe that educational visits are an integral part of the entitlement of every pupil to an effective and balanced curriculum. Appropriately planned visits enhance learning and improve attainment, and so form a key part of what makes Co-op Academy Parkland 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.
- 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.
Any visit that leaves the school grounds is covered by this policy, whether as part of the curriculum, during school time, or outside the normal school day.
This Educational Visits Policy should be read in conjunction with:
- The Co-op Academies Trust policy document ‘Educational visits statement’ (available to all staff via Evolve).
- National Guidance www.oeapng.info
Co-op Academy Parkland uses EVOLVE for all educational visits.
All staff are required to plan and execute visits in line with school policy (ie this document), the Co-op Academies Trust policies and National Guidelines. Staff are particularly directed to be familiar with the roles and responsibilities outlined within the guidance.
Types of Visit & Approval
There are three ‘types’ of visit:
- Visits/activities within the ‘School Learning Area’ that are part of the normal curriculum and take place during the normal school day. Parents/Carers sign a letter to authorise all local visits and are informed by letter when local visits are due to take place (Appendix 1).
- Other non-residential visits within the UK that do not involve an adventurous activity. These are entered on EVOLVE by the visit leader and submitted to the EVC/Head for approval.
- Visits that are residential, or involve an adventurous activity. As above, but the Head authorises and then submits to the Trust for approval.
Co-op Academy Parkland uses the Evolve system to plan, manage and record educational visits.
Visit Leaders should plan and prepare visits allowing time for internal and external vetting and approval as required. Normally this will mean that visit plans should be submitted to the EVC by the following deadlines:
- 4 weeks before departure for Residentials
- 4 weeks before departure for Adventure Activities
- 2 weeks before departure for other types of visit
If for any reason these deadlines cannot be met, clarification and approval should be sought from the EVC.
Roles and responsibilities
Visit leaders are responsible for the planning of their visits, and for entering these on EVOLVE. They should obtain outline permission for a visit from the Head Teacher/EVC prior to planning, and certainly before making any financial commitments. Visit leaders have responsibility for ensuring that their visits will comply with all relevant guidance and requirements.
The Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) is Charlotte Wierzbianski, who will support and challenge colleagues over visits and learning outside the classroom (LOtC) activities. The EVC/Head 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 Governing Body’s role is that of a ‘critical friend’ and it will:
- Adopt and periodically review this policy, as required.
- Ensure there is a competent Educational Visit Coordinator (EVC) in place who meets the requirements outlined in ‘National Guidance’ and has completed the EVC Training Programme and any updates as required.
- Review the range of visits provided by the school via a report submitted twice a year by the EVC.
The Co-op Academy Trust is responsible for the final approval (via EVOLVE) of all visits that are either overseas, residential, and/or involve an adventurous activity.
- To evaluate the impact of educational visits on learning; in addition to usual assessment methods, we use
- Photographs / Video
- Of specific processes –measuring, data collection, data recording, use of creative language, sequencing etc
- Pupil Voice
- Develop questionnaires to capture physical activity levels & happiness
- Look at other measures (eg attendance, behaviour)
- The arrangements (eg risk assessments, value for money, lessons learned)
Co-op Academy Parkland recognises 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:
- An apprenticeship system, where staff new to visits assist and work alongside experienced visit leaders before taking on a leadership role.
- Co-op 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.
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 3). All staff on visits are familiar with this plan and it is tested at least bi-annually 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 Co-op Academy Trust.
Educational Visits Checklist
Co-op Academy Parkland Educational Visits Checklist forms part of the risk management process for visits and off-site activities. This has been adapted from the National Guidance generic checklist. A visit should usually only go ahead if the answer to all relevant questions is ‘YES’.Co-op Academy Parkland’s Educational Visits Checklist may be downloaded from EVOLVE Resources.
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 school for certain other routine activities, eg.local visits, swimming etc. (See Appendix 2)
Specific, (ie. 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.
Co-op Academy Parkland is committed to inclusion and will include all students in our offsite activities wherever this is reasonably practicable. Outdoor learning and off-site visits should be available and accessible to all, irrespective of any special educational or medical needs or protected characteristics.
The principles of inclusion and equality should be promoted and addressed in policy and practice, ensuring:
- an entitlement to participate;
- accessibility through adaptation or modification, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services;
- integration through participation with peers.
Charging / funding for visits
We can only run visits if sufficient voluntary contributions are received.
School minibus – The driver completes the pre-use checks
Drivers are- Gavin Barnes, Dawn Peacock, Deborah Clegg. There must always be another adult in the minibus.
Public transport, coaches, etc. may also be used.
Use of staff cars to transport pupils – Refer to the Co-op Academy Trust’s guidance document.
Visits are normally covered under policies arranged through the Co-op Academies Trust.
Dismissal of pupils
Pupils should be brought back into school and dismissed from their classroom as usual or the main office area at the end of a school trip.
When using volunteers it is essential that they meet the requirements for the role that they have been assigned. The engagement of any volunteer must involve an appropriate level of vetting and induction.
They must be sufficiently competent and confident to carry out their responsibilities. The level of competence and the thoroughness of the engagement process depend upon the role that the volunteer is to take, and the degree to which they will be working independently or under supervision.
Volunteers should not be left alone with a child/ children.
Appendix 1 – School Learning Area
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.
- do not require parental consent (other than the local visit consent at the start of school)
- do not normally need additional risk assessments / notes (other than following the Operating Procedure below).
- do not need to be recorded on EVOLVE
This area includes, but is not limited to, the following frequently used venues: e.g.
- Eccleshill Swimming Pool
- Calverley Woods
- Local walk
- Greengates Park
Operating Procedure for School Learning Area
The following are potentially significant issues/hazards within our School Learning Area:
- Road 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/EVC 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 adults.
- Staff are familiar with the area, including any ‘no go areas’, and have practised appropriate group management techniques.
- Pupils have been trained and have practised 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.
- 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 (eg gloves, goggles)
Appendix 2- Parental consent letter
Local Visit Permission
As you may be aware, we like to take our pupils out on local visits from time to time. To avoid you having to fill in a permission slip every time this happens, we request that you complete the slip below and return it to school. This will enable school to take your child out on visits in the local area during the school day. This may involve them being taken out in the minibus as well as on foot.
Please return the slip below asap. If you have any queries regarding this matter do not hesitate to contact me in the school office.
Mrs C Wierzbianski
Head of Academy
Local visits permission slip
I give permission for my child to be taken out by school on local visits by minibus or on foot.
Child’s Name : _____________________________
Parent’s Signature: ____________________________
Contact Number : _________________________
Appendix 3 – Emergency Procedure
Our plan in an emergency is:
Charlotte Wierzbianski - 01274 611512
Emergency school mobile - 07874 691184
24/7 emergency phone number for any time an off-site visit day or night - 999
On Receiving a Call
In the event of being alerted to a Critical Incident on an off-site visit:
- STAY CALM;
- ASK for details of the incident;
- THINK about the actions you need to take and the people you need to contact to help you (see Possible Actions below);
- DECIDE what immediate help you need and contact those people;
- TAKE CHARGE as Incident Controller until you clearly hand over to someone else;
- ESTABLISH COMMUNICATIONS with the manager who is leading the establishment’s emergency response:
o It is essential that one person is designated as Incident Controller and that it is clear to all who this is - it is therefore a priority to agree whether control lies with you or with the establishment;
o Agree the protocol for keeping communications open;
o Agree who will keep in contact with the group in difficulty.
- RECORD all information you receive and actions you take;
- DELEGATE tasks, as possible/appropriate, to allow you to manage the situation and to allow for ‘concurrent’ activity.
Depending on the circumstances you may need to do some or all of the following, in liaison with the establishment:
- Establish a Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), which may need to include the following roles (combine if insufficient staff are available – some roles could be shared with the establishment):
o Incident Controller;
o Communications (a number of people dealing with different aspects?)
o Resilience team/emergency planning officer
o Press/media officer;
o Logistics – arranging transportation, accommodation etc. for group and any travelling team;
o Resources – e.g. office space, IT, reception for any visitors (parents, media etc), refreshments/food;
o Expert advice – e.g. Outdoor Education Adviser;
o Travelling Team leader;
o Record/log keeper.
- Establish a control room (School Office)with unrestricted internet access and multiple telephone lines and/or mobile phones (capable of calling overseas if necessary);
- Consider other means of communication such as WhatsApp, email, text,
- Agree with the establishment a protocol for contacting the group and for maintaining links with emergency services, media, tour operators, insurance companies etc. - as necessary;
- Keep a log of all actions, communications and decisions including people involved and times;
- Inform CEDO, CEO
- Consider whether a Travelling Team is needed to provide support at the scene (e.g. Outdoor Education Adviser, counsellors, translator/linguist);
- Make arrangements for the return or onward travel of the group;
- Arrange for the travel of parents (including provision of a suitable escort) to the scene/hospital;
- Control communications and flow of information to the affected group, parents, establishment staff (beware of staff, parents and young people inadvertently starting rumours circulating);
- Control information to the media via press/media officer (Co-op Communications team);
- Make arrangements for meeting the group on its return to base and for returning children to parents;
- Consider the possible need for future emotional support and care for anyone involved (don’t forget other staff, young people and the CIRT as well as those directly involved).
- which office/phones/computers etc. to use during an emergency;
- out-of-hours information (e.g. locks, alarms, heating)
- location of equipment (e.g. mobile phones, laptop, printer);
- how to access relevant information;
- how to access cash or credit card for emergency use;
- how to obtain refreshments/catering.]