At West Wimbledon Primary School, we seek to ensure that the National Curriculum is delivered to all children, regardless of social background, race, gender or differences in ability. All are entitled to the development of knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitude. To enrich the curriculum for our children we also offer a wide range of educational visits and other activities that add to what is learned in school.
The School has adopted the Merton outdoor educational handbook ‘There and Back Again’ which gives advice and guidance on planning a visit/residential.
Planning for successful trips and excursions
Learning outside school is a valuable addition to the children’s educational experience. The School has a comprehensive Educational Visits policy which is always followed. Its purpose is to ensure the safety of the children and adults during the visit through careful planning and to identify and manage potential risks, so that the children derive the maximum educational value and enjoyment from the visit.
Staff are to complete a risk assessment before any visit is undertaken. The procedure is carefully documented and should be followed, all risk assessments must be with the Educational Visits Co-ordinator, as per the procedure. All visits need to be cleared with the Educational Visits Co-ordinator before they are booked. Full details of how to go about organising a school trip are in the Educational Visits policy.
Merton LA has written to schools to offer advice in response to the appalling tragedies in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and then Finsbury Park. Children will also have witnessed the terrible events of Grenfell Tower and may be unsettled about their own safety. It is understandable that many parents and children will have concerns.
The Government has been clear that the expectation is that we will all be conducting “business as usual” and that all our cities, including the capital, are open for business.
When visiting crowded places such as a major city, venue or event, where the risk of attack may be greater, staff must consider within their planning:
- Possible safe areas or venues, near where they intend to be, that could use as an emergency shelter.
- How to minimise waiting time at busy venues. Where to wait and gather for head counts.
- How to minimise queuing times (such as not carrying unnecessary items) to speed up search and entry.
- Are staff phones charged and numbers shared?
- Do all leaders have all group information? Will they be spaced apart?
- A contact card for all participants giving a number to call if separated from the group, and the name and telephone number of the establishment
- How you might staff and children get away in an emergency, bearing in mind that the direct route and planned transport might no longer be an option. Are staff aware of alternatives and can they access emergency funds to pay for them?
- Do they need to leave the site immediately with the crowd at the end of the visit event?
- The possibility of an enforced overnight stay and what this might entail – for example does the visit need a reserve of any critical medication?
- How the leadership team might manage an enforced group split.
- Be vigilant and aware of their surroundings – know where the exits are and where they would run to.
- Be aware of the possibility of suspicious items.
- When staying at any place for more than 30 minutes, identify emergency meeting points in case the group is forced to move and becomes split.
- Avoid congregating too long around entrances to major public sites.
- At ports and airports don’t linger unnecessarily on the public side of security screening.
- Be aware of the ‘Stay Safe’ principles: ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ and know what to expect if they encounter armed response officers.