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EDUCATIONAL VISITS - STATEMENT

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Education ministers and head teachers' leaders today stressed the ...
Education ministers and head teachers' leaders today stressed the

importance of educational visits and underlined the support and

guidance available to local education authorities and teachers to

help them oversee and organise such visits safely.

School standards minister David Miliband said:

'Teachers should not abandon schools visits - safely conducted and

properly supervised, they are an important part of any child's

education. We value, and are committed to support, the professional

competence of teachers who supervise educational visits, many of whom

do so in their own spare time.'

Skills and vocational education minister Ivan Lewis added:

'We have issued a wealth of good practice guidance which helps ensure

that the vast majority of school visits are carried out safely. Many

schools across England already have staff trained as educational

visits co-ordinators, who liaise with the outdoor education adviser

in the local education authority, and help teachers to assess and

manage the risks of a visit.'

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head

Teachers said:

'The Paul Ellis case should not deter teachers from continuing to

lead school visits. Pupils benefit greatly from these visits, and the

overwhelming majority take place without any cause for concern

whatsoever.

'If the DfES guidance is followed by all those involved with the

organisation of these educational activities, there is no reason why

teachers and support staff should be at risk.'

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads

Association, said:

'Parents can be reassured about the precautions taken by head

teachers to ensure that school visits are safe. Schools now take such

care in the planning and risk assessment for all school visits that

children are probably safer and more closely supervised on a school

trip than on a family holiday.

'School visits are important in broadening the education of children,

especially those from less privileged backgrounds who have few

opportunities to go away with their families. I hope very much that

teachers will continue to volunteer to lead school visits, so that

children's horizons can be widened in this way.'

NOTES

This Press Notice applies to England.

1. The Department for Education and Skills issued comprehensive

guidance, Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits in 1998.

This was recently supplemented with additional handbooks to increase

the competence and confidence of group leaders and other teachers

when supervising pupils on visits,

www.teachernet.gov.uk/healthandsafety:

Standards for LEAs in Overseeing Education Visits

Standards for Adventure

A Handbook for Group Leaders

Group Safety at Water Margins

2. The Department during 2002-3 also distributed £3.5m to all

local education authorities in England to fund, amongst other things,

their training of teachers as Educational Visits Co-ordinators. The

Outdoor Education Advisers' Panel ran a 'training-the-trainers'

programme on the Department's behalf All local education authorities

are signed up to the training designed to increase teachers'

management of risk in outdoor education.

3. The department also sponsors the Adventure Activities Licensing

Authority to inspect and license over 1,000 organisations which offer

climbing, caving, trekking or waterborne facilities to schools and

other groups of under-18s.

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