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National Association of Head Teachers representatives today met with DfES officials today with a view to tightening...
National Association of Head Teachers representatives today met with DfES officials today with a view to tightening up the current DfES guidance on the health and safety of pupils on educational visits.

NAHT believes that urgent lessons need to be learnt from the tragic deaths of the two Leeds schoolgirls in North Yorkshire and the Lancashire schoolboy in Cumbria.

There are loopholes in the existing guidance that need to be closed. Although safeguards are already in place that should prevent accidents such as these, it is obviously necessary to ensure that those safeguards are clearly understood and, indeed, reinforced. In particular, it is vital that school group leaders understand that an activity which is, on the face of it, non hazardous, may become extremely hazardous because of changes in the circumstances surrounding the visit (eg rivers can change from week to week, from day to day and even from hour to hour).

It is also vital that school group leaders seek advice from local experts as part of their continuous assessment of risk.

The accident and fatality rate associated with school trips remains extremely low. Thousands of trips take place every year without incident. But one tragedy is one tragedy too many and there is a need for the DfES to close existing loopholes in its guidance as a matter of urgency.

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