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The end of trips


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#1 Karen Miller

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 10:57 AM

I have just come to a reluctant conclusion that my next trip will be my last. We have been told that we have to do risk assessments for every part of the trip including moving pupils from the school on to the coach. A trip to the Royal armouries becomes a nightmare as I worry whether one of them will throw themselves off a balcony or down the stairs or get stuck in a lift. Every scenario has to be catered for. Visits have to be made to do a risk assessment. Information about health and safety procedures have to be gained form the travel firms and museums etc. This is bureaucracy gone mad. Has anyone else had to face this and what are other schools doing?
Today I have to ring another school I am taking some pupils to in order to make sure that I can put that the staff of the school will be responsible for supervising our pupils while they are there. I am really fed up.
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#2 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 01:33 PM

It's a nightmare, isn't it? Takes all the fun out of going anywhere. I know that I did a silent cheer when I filled in my last risk assessment form ever.

Not an answer to your question I know, but Dan Moorhouse is leading a Seminar on Educational Visits starting on Sept 24th. I would guess that your concerns will crop up then. Not that I am trying to stifle discussion now!

#3 Simon O'Connor

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 03:11 PM

I have found a new 'game', which is to suggest trips to my SMT, just to see what excuses they can devise to prevent me from going. Last year I had a Somme trip cancelled the day before due to the danger of 'a possible terrorist strike on the ferry'. :blink: This week I suggested an A level trip to Moscow/ St. Petersburg which has been turned down due to the potential of a Chechnian (sp?) terrorist strike. :crazy:

It's a wonder children are allowed to cross the road without police protection.
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#4 Lindsay

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 03:45 PM

Just be aware that Risk Assessments are not designed to protect the teacher if anything goes wrong on the trip. They are designed in order to protect the school, LEA, employer from liability. The liability could fall squarely on the teachers shoulders.

Hence, do what the unions advise - Don't take trips - not even up the road.

I know that is the end of what education should be about. Bang goes activities weeks. Bang goes a simple walk to see your local historical buildings. But that is the way education has gone. Make the teacher do more but don't provide any protection.

Did y'all hear about the case in England last year where the teacher was held liable for negligence when a fight broke out on the minibus he was driving to a sporting competition? There were three other teachers on the mini bus, 14 students, the fight resulted in injury, but the teacher driver was negligent because he was driving the bus and not supervising the students with his colleagues.

Trips? Forget it.

#5 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 03:54 PM

Well I will not be defeated! I am taking 5 year 7 classes to a local museum (Fulham Palace) on Monday, a short walk down the Fulham Palace Road. I guess my school is a bit more realistic, we have trip forms that need to be filled in and overseas trips are much more rigourously monitored, but I have never had a trip refused so far. This year I hope to go to Belgium, the Tower, to various theatres, museums and exhibitions. I will not let the b******s grind me down.
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#6 MrsB

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 04:46 PM

My school has now asked that all teachers going on the trip should sign a copy of the Risk Assessment to prove they have read it and know what they should be doing. So far i have flatly refused!

how far do schools support their staff when someting goes wrong?

On a more humourous note:
I took a year 7 trip to Pevensey castle last year and spent ages briefing the girls about the dangers of ruined sites and how they shouldn't climb on the walls, pillars or anything else remotely dangerous . . . . Imagine my horror then when I later saw one of the more 'enthusiastic and reckless' members of staff lining a whole load of kids up and along a ruined wall to take a photo!!!!!!!!

I was not best pleased with this blatant flouting of my rick assessment! :crazy:
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#7 Dom_Giles

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 01:38 AM

As someone whose last trip in the UK with students involved taking inner city year 9 boys on a D of E weekend in Wales which involved chasing sheep across a field (no harm intended, they were just so surprised to see sheep in a field!) about 8 years ago, this thread really saddens me. Not because teachers are refusing to take trips but because of the blame culture that has been imported into the UK from the USA.

Edited by Dom_Giles, 13 September 2003 - 01:58 AM.

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#8 John Simkin

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 06:27 AM

I have just come to a reluctant conclusion that my next trip will be my last.

I an fully understand why some teachers are taking this view. However, we must not forget just important trips are for our subject. Some of our students would never visit such places without it being organized by a teacher. It is possible that a visit to a museum or castle will give them the spark that they need to be enthused by history. Anyone who has taken students to the battlefields in France knows the sort of impact that this kind of trip can have.

#9 Guest_JaneFJones_*

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 08:53 AM

On a slightly different note - one of our geography teachers who last year was allowed to drive the minibus has discovered that from May this year he is now not allowed to because he passed his test after 1997. In order to be allowed to drive the minibus, he has to take a new test costing £700.

Another geography teacher has fallen off the other end of the line, because he is over 45, and also has to take a new test.

In the future, all young teachers will never be able to drive the minibus unless the school will shell out the cash. How long will it be before the minibus is redundant?

#10 JohnDClare

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 09:40 AM

Trip triumphs:
1. I once had a class of 30 children scattered all over what I belived to be a line used only at weekends when a train came through at high speed. I went white instantaneously, and that trip came to a VERY abrupt end. I went straight to the Headteacher and confessed all!
2. I once had a stupid girl screaming, running away from a sheep right in front of a car which had to make an emergecy stop. When I went over to chastise the child who so nearly died, I discovered it was my own daughter. (I suppose it would have made the task of explaining to the parents 50% easier.)
3. I've had one child bitten by an adder - thank God it struck his Doc Martins and not 2 inches higher. The pupils reacted by gathering round and trying to catch it!
4. I had one child run over during a village study - the press were interested in that one, until they found he had been run over by an old man on a bicycle!
5. I had to take one child to the hospital during a trip to a Reacreation Centre after he broke his arm in the childrens' soft play area.
6. During one visit to a lead mine on a very hot day, one child decided without warning to dive into the mill pond. After what seemed an age, he exmerged, completely paralysed by the cold, paddling himself to the surface using his fingers and toes only.

Looking over all this, and realising how close I came to ending my career prematurely, perhaps completing a risk assessment might have been a good thing!

#11 Serrie Meakins

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 05:11 PM

;) Well, on 12th Oct I have volunteered to run an optional trip for my yr 7 to the Battle of Hastings re-enactment! Nearly all of them want to come & none of the staffroom is keen to join me ...my initial enthusiasm is fast turning to horror at what i have done! Anyway - I agree with earlier comment - I won't be 'ground down'! I KNOW the girls will love the trip & I KNOW it will enhance their understanding of the conquest - so, damn them all! And to cap it all, I will be even more un-PC & tell them all they'll get As in their next homework if they cheer for Harold!
Wish me luck - Serrie

#12 Andrew Field

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 05:15 PM

Serrie, that sounds excellent. Wouldn't October 14th be a better day though?

One thing though - don't get Jonn D Clare to do your risk assessment!


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#13 Lindsay

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 07:45 PM

But don't you think the thing is the passing of vicarious responsibility from the employer to the employee?

I am all for trips - can't remember one that i regret, especially the overseas one.

I have never been with any teachers or adults that have been negligent.

However, due to blame culture and risk assessments, if...if...IF...anything ever did happen, The buck goes directly to those adults on the trip. I would be personally liable, not professionally.

Let teachers be professionals. Give them back their status. In the meantime, don't take trips. If we all stand together on this we might get somewhere.

Thanks for reading. This issue is important to me.

#14 Guest_andy_walker_*

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 08:01 PM

However, due to blame culture and risk assessments, if...if...IF...anything ever did happen, The buck goes directly to those adults on the trip. I would be personally liable, not professionally.

Let teachers be professionals. Give them back their status. In the meantime, don't take trips. If we all stand together on this we might get somewhere.

Thanks for reading. This issue is important to me.

Unfortunately Lindsay is correct.

There have been 12 fatal accidents on school trips in the last 12 months, receiving high profile media coverage. Moreover we live in an increasingly litigious society where parents do not think twice about suing when something goes wrong – and even when something clearly hasn’t gone wrong! (No win no fee outfits are always more than happy to have a go on behalf of someone stupid enough to trip over their own feet – especially when a public service is involved).

Nigel de Gruchy, the NASUWT’s general secretary, has indeed recommended that teachers do not attend school trips. I believe the NUT feel the same way.

I have run successful fieldtrips for many years and am very disappointed that things have come to this.


This provides some interesting reading.

#15 Neil DeMarco

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 08:18 PM

The risk asessment stuff is a pain but that's not what hacks me off -it's the bloody parents. Our Great War field trip has become so popular we have to run two trips i.e 45 x 2 for two nights. This year it meant we couldn't take six Year 10s. I got two very aggressive phone calls. One father demanded to know how I was going to make up for the educational damage that his daughter would now suffer by not being able to go. I've been running these trips since 1985 but if I get any more responses like this, I will pull plug.
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