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How to Manage Risks From 3 School Trip Case Studies

They say that no matter how much planning for a school trip you do, anything can go wrong on the day.

It’s true, but it’s certainly not the whole truth. With thousands of successful school trips taking place every year, many often in the same places and with the same organisations, the risks and potentialities of what may go wrong are only decreasing as the days go by.

More information is becoming available, gaps in health and safety being filled, problem areas being ironed out, and as a result, school trips are today safer than they ever have been before.

However, that doesn’t mean you don't need to be prepared. And with that in mind, let’s dive into three school trip case studies from the UK, courtesy of the HSE’s website and their information on school trip guidance.

100 Pupils and 1 Day In London

Dorset to London for one day with 103 Year 11 pupils is no small task. But this case study shows just how it can be done with little to no problems or disruptions whatsoever.

By first liaising with the Field Studies Council, teachers revised their school trip plans and made a per-visit trip to confirm details, check the route, and finalise the itinerary. By doing this they were able to minimise travel disruptions, the chances of pupils getting lost or separated from the group, and put into place contingency plans.

Other factors that ensured a successful school trip included the use of a tried and tested coach firm, the use of quieter tube stations were possible, and pairing students up and dividing them into small groups under the supervision of a teacher.

A School Trip To A Sawmill

A trip to a sawmill is a great way to teach students about nature and the connection between trees, the production of timber, and their use in building and furniture. But as you'd expect, it doesn't come without its risks and dangers.

In this school trip case study, students between 9-13 years old were able to enjoy a successful half-day trip with large thanks to the experienced staff at the sawmill. For many years, the sawmill has accommodated groups of schoolchildren, and through that that they've identified and outlined all the potential risks, for example, heavy vehicles, proximity to machinery and equipment, wood dust, noise levels, and visibility.

When on site, pupils were split into three smaller groups (ten per teacher and sawmill employee), engaged in a Q&A session, and were given protective equipment to wear during the tour. They were also informed of the route they would take, and all vehicular traffic and machines were suspended where necessary.

3 Weekly Visits To Holyrood Park

This case study is a little different as rather than a day or two, it involves three five day visits spanning a ten week period. The pupils were a group of six 11-12-year-olds with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the destination, the royal Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

In planning the trip, teachers worked with the Park Ranger Service and other groups such as Dynamic Earth and John Muir Trust to identify potential problems and risks. The chief of which included the needs and behaviours of the children, the terrain, non-school staff dealing with the children, and transport arrangements.

Out of their assessment, the teachers made sure that they had a high staff to pupil ratio and any non-school staff were briefed on how to deal with the group. They also made sure that park rangers were equipped enough to keep the children stimulated and that all activities could take place outside, whenever possible, and inside, if the weather was too bad.

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