today of manslaughter at Manchester Crown Court.
The prosecution, brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, followed
his mother who was helping with a trip from the school to the Lake
District organised by Paul Ellis. Mr Ellis led an activity which was
to jump into a natural rock pool in Glenridding Beck. Max got into
difficulties in cold and turbulent water, and was swept out of the
pool and down the beck.
Mr Ellis was also charged under Section 7 of the Health and Safety at
Work Act. It was alleged that he had not taken reasonable care of
other people who entered the pool, including Mrs Palmer and a pupil
from the school, who were airlifted to hospital suffering from
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) head of operations Janet Wilson
said: 'Outdoor adventure trips have great value in developing young
people, and offer an excellent opportunity for risk education. The
vast majority take place without serious incident.
'HSE would not want to see school trips stopped, or teachers refuse
to lead them, as a result of this prosecution. But it is essential
that they are planned properly and carried out safely. We know that
most teachers put the safety of their pupils at the top of their
agenda, and follow good practice.
'HSE and the police have worked together on the investigation that
led to this case. We are still considering whether health and safety
charges should be brought against any other parties. We have also
been active in ensuring that schools and education authorities learn
the lessons from this tragic event.
The Department for Education and Skills and the Health and Safety
Commission have produced comprehensive guidance for organisations
that conduct adventure activities. This guidance is to assist them in
setting up systems and p rocedures that better support teachers and
others leading adventure trips.
Advice on the planning and organisation of visits can be found on the
DfES website at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/visits
1. Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (HSWA)
1974 states: It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to
take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and other
persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.'
2. Mr Ellis was sentenced to one year for manslaughter and six months
for the Section 7 HSWA charge to run concurrently.