Educational Visit Policy
Date issued: September 2022
Review date due: September 2023
At Co-op Academy Portland we see the benefits to learning outside the classroom and educational visits to be crucial to the ‘Catch Up’ and recovery to learning post pandemic. We have seen real disruption to our routine, and the traumas faced by students, parents and staff has affected us all in very different ways. The opportunities to rebuild trust and relationships are often greater whilst out of the classroom. Being outside also encourages physical activity following a period where some of our school community have been housebound.
Learning outside the classroom activities and educational visits are used as teaching and learning tools for the delivery of elements of Co-op Academy Portland’s Statement of Intent.
Learning outside the classroom activities and educational visits have clear and measurable aims which link to Co-op Super School’s statement of intent/curriculum intent. The impact contributes to pupils’ attainment and progress. Co-op Super School’s approach to the evaluation of activities and visits is set out in this policy.
We believe that educational visits are an integral part of the entitlement of every pupil to an effective and balanced curriculum. Appropriately planned visits enhance learning and improve attainment, and so form a key part of what makes Co-op Academy Portland a supportive and effective learning environment. The benefits to pupils of taking part in visits and learning outside the classroom include, but are not limited to:
• Improvements in their ability to cope with change. Increased critical curiosity and resilience.
Opportunities for meaning making, creativity, developing learning relationships and practicing strategic awareness. Increased levels of trust and opportunities to examine the concept of trust (us in them, them in us, them in themselves, them in each other).
• Improved achievement and attainment across a range of curricular subjects. Pupils are active participants not passive consumers, and a wide range of learning styles can flourish.
• Enhanced opportunities for ‘real world’ ‘learning in context’ and the development of the social and emotional aspects of intelligence.
• Increased risk management skills through opportunities for involvement in practical risk-benefit decisions in a range of contexts, i.e. encouraging pupils to become more risk aware as opposed to risk averse.
• Greater sense of personal responsibility.
• Possibilities for genuine team working including enhanced communication skills.
• Improved environmental appreciation, knowledge, awareness and understanding of a variety of environments.
• Improved awareness and knowledge of the importance and practices of sustainability. Physical skill acquisition and the development of a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Any visit that leaves the school grounds is covered by this policy, whether as part of the curriculum, during school time, or outside the normal school day.
This Educational Visits Policy should be read in conjunction with: 1. The Co-op Academies Trust policy document ‘Educational visits statement’ (available to all staff via Evolve).
2. National Guidance www.oeapng.info
Co-op Academy Portland uses EVOLVE for off-site activities and for all educational visits.
All staff are required to plan and execute visits in line with school policy (i.e. this document), the Co-op Academies Trust policies and National Guidelines. Staff are particularly directed to be familiar with the roles and responsibilities outlined within the guidance.
Types of Visit & Approval
There are three ‘types’ of visit:
1. Visits/activities within the ‘School Learning Area’ that are part of the normal curriculum and take place during the normal school day, for example, St James Library.
These follow the ‘School Learning Area’ Operating Procedure (Appendix 1).
2. Other non-residential visits within the UK that do not involve an adventurous activity.
These are entered on EVOLVE by the visit leader and submitted to the EVC for checking. The EVC then submits to the Head for approval.
Visits that are overseas, residential, or involve an adventurous activity.
As above, but the Head authorises and then submits to the Trust for approval.
Co-op Academy Portland uses the Evolve system to plan, manage and record educational visits.
Visit Leaders should plan and prepare visits allowing time for internal and external vetting and approval as required. Normally this will mean that visit plans should be submitted to the EVC by the following deadlines:
● 3 to 6 months before departure for Overseas Visits ● 4 weeks before departure for Residentials
● 4 weeks before departure for Adventure Activities
● 2 weeks before departure for other types of visit If for any reason these deadlines cannot be met, clarification and approval should be sought from the EVC – for example inter school sports competitions
Roles and responsibilities
Visit leaders are responsible for the planning of their visits, and for entering these on EVOLVE (where required). They should obtain outline permission for a visit from the Head Teacher or EVC prior to planning, and certainly before making any financial commitments. Visit leaders have responsibility for ensuring that their visits will comply with all relevant guidance and requirements.
The Educational Visits Coordinators (EVC) is Head teacher, Corynne Peace and Debbie Randles , who will support and challenge colleagues over visits and learning outside the classroom (LOtC) activities. The EVC is the first point of contact for advice on visit related matters, and will check final visit plans on EVOLVE before submitting them to the Head. The EVC sets up and manages the staff accounts on EVOLVE, and uploads generic school documents, etc.
The Head Teacher has responsibility for authorising all visits, and for submitting all overseas, residential or adventurous activity visits to the Trust for approval, via EVOLVE. The Governing Body’s role is that of a ‘critical friend’ and it will:
1. Adopt and periodically review this policy, as required. 2. Ensure there is a competent Educational Visit Coordinator (EVC) in place who meets the requirements outlined in ‘National Guidance’ and has completed the EVC Training Programme and
any updates as required.
3. Review the range of visits provided by the school via a report submitted twice a year by the EVC. Individual governors may request ‘read-only’ access to EVOLVE. (Refer to www.oeapng.info document 3.4f)
The Co-op Academy Trust is responsible for the final approval (via EVOLVE) of all visits that are either overseas, residential, and/or involve an adventurous activity.
We use the evaluation tool on Evolve to evaluate visits. We evaluate:
1. The impact on learning; in addition to usual assessment methods, we use
o Photographs / Video
o Of specific processes –measuring, data collection, data recording, use of creative language, sequencing etc o Pupil Voice
o Develop questionnaires to capture physical activity levels & happiness
o Look at other measures (e.g. attendance, behaviour) 2. The arrangements (e.g. risk assessments, value for money, lessons learned)
Co-op Academy Portland recognises that staff competence is the single most important factor in the safe management of visits, and so we support staff in developing their competence in the following ways:
• An apprenticeship system, where staff new to visits assist and work alongside experienced visit leaders before taking on a leadership role.
• Co-op Supervision by senior staff on some educational visits. • Support for staff to attend training courses relevant to their role, where necessary. In deciding whether a member of staff is competent to be a visit leader, the Head Teacher will taken into account the following factors:
· Previous relevant training.
The prospective leader’s ability to make dynamic risk management judgements, and take charge in the event of an emergency.
Knowledge of the pupils, the venue, and the activities to be undertaken.
A critical incident is any incident where events go beyond the normal coping mechanisms and experience of the visit leadership team. The school has an emergency plan in place to deal with a critical incident during a visit (see Appendix 2). All staff on visits are familiar with this plan and it is tested at least bi-annually and following any major staffing changes. When an incident overwhelms the establishment’s emergency response capability, or where it involves serious injury or fatality, or where it is likely to attract media attention then assistance will be sought from the Co-op Academy Trust.
Educational Visits Checklist
Co-op Academy Portland’s Educational Visits Checklist forms part of the risk management process for visits and off-site activities. This has been adapted from the National Guidance generic checklist. A visit should usually only go ahead if the answer to all relevant questions is ‘YES’. Co-op Academy Portland’s Educational Visits Checklist may be downloaded from EVOLVE Resources. The National Guidance generic ‘master’ copy is in EVOLVE Resources. To reduce bureaucracy, you are encouraged to adapt this to suit your particular circumstances, e.g. by removing irrelevant questions, adding additional ones, etc. You should then upload this to your school’s own EVOLVE Resources section. The checklist can be used as a tool or aide-memoire to assist the EVC/visit leader in the planning process; however, alternative approaches to considering the relevant issues are equally as valid.
Consent is not required for activities within the School Learning Area that are part of the normal curriculum during normal school time.
The school obtains blanket consent at the start of each year for certain other routine activities, eg. after school fixtures, trips to St James, the local shops etc.
Specific, parental consent must be obtained for all other visits. For these visits, sufficient information must be made available to parents via letters, meetings, etc, so that consent is given on a ‘fully informed’ basis.
Co-op Academy Portland is committed to inclusion and will include all students in our offsite activities wherever this is reasonably practicable. We ensure inclusion and comply with the Equality Act 2010. Refer to www.oeapng.info document 3.2e
Charging/funding for visits
We follow the Trust’s policy for Charges and Remissions. We make it explicitly very clear that any contributions are voluntary; that children of parents/carers who do not contribute will not be discriminated against.
If a trip is dependent on voluntary contributions and if insufficient contributions are received the trip may be cancelled. We charge for:
*Academy trips and residential experiences in Academy time: the board and lodging element of the residential experience and outdoor pursuit courses;
** Activities outside Academy hours: the full cost for each student of journeys, trips and overnight stays in the United Kingdom and abroad which take place at weekends and during holidays, which are deemed to be optional extras;
Refer to www.oeapng.info document 3.2c
We are expecting to hire a school minibus in November 2022. We would use this to transport pupils on trips if the group is less than 15. We follow the Trust’s Driving at Work Policy.
Visits are normally covered under policies arranged through the Co op Academies Trust.
• Dismissal of all pupils is to listed adults only. Where there is a password for a child, this is communicated securely. Y6 pupils have written permission to walk home however after a residential visit, we advise that parents collect their children to help pupils with bags on the journey home.
• Use of volunteers (refer to www.oeapng.info document 3.4o) • Swimming Lessons (refer to www.oeapng.info document 7x) • Sports Fixtures (eg.roles & responsibilities transport
arrangements, refereeing, marshalling, first aid, base contact and emergency procedures. If this is covered in a separate policy, reference here)
• Ski Visits (refer to www.oeapng.info document 7v) • DofE and similar expeditions (refer to www.oeapng.info document 7k)
• Overseas Visits (refer to www.oeapng.info document 7r) • Overseas expeditions (refer to www.oeapng.info document 7q) 18. General Visits/activities within the ‘School Learning Area’ that are part of the normal curriculum and take place during the normal school day follow the Operating Procedure below. These visits/activities:
o do not require parental consent however parents are advised of the trip if different clothing or a packed lunch is required.
o do not normally need additional risk assessments / notes (other than following the Operating Procedure below). o are always recorded on EVOLVE
The boundaries of the School Learning Area are listed.
This area includes, but is not limited to, the following frequently used venues:
St James’s Church, The North End Community library, Birkenhead Park, The play park known as The Wreck on Tollemache Road, The Connaught estate, The Hive in Birkenhead – accessible on foot through Birkenhead Park, Laird Street and roads off it, The Methodist Church on Laird Street and neighbouring roads in the vicinity.
Operating Procedure for School Learning Area
The following are potentially significant issues/hazards within our School Learning Area:
• Road traffic.
• Other people / members of the public / animals.
• Losing a pupil.
• Uneven surfaces and slips, trips, and falls.
• Weather conditions.
• Activity specific issues when doing environmental fieldwork (nettles, brambles, rubbish, etc)
• Areas where there is a record of incidence of high anti-social behaviour e.g. Birkenhead Park and where there may be glass or paraphernalia associated with drug use. These are managed by a combination of the following:
• Only staff judged competent to supervise groups in this environment are approved. A current list of approved staff is maintained by the EVC and office.
• There will normally be a minimum of two adults. Three adults are required if there is a specific risk assessment for a child who may have additional needs.
• Staff are familiar with the area, including any ‘no go areas’, and have practiced appropriate group management techniques. • Pupils have been trained and have practiced standard techniques for road crossings in a group. Class teachers model
how to cross the road before a trip commences in the class safety briefing.
• Where appropriate, pupils are fully briefed on what to do if they become separated from the group. Hi vis jackets for our younger pupils. Also our children wear their school uniform to be easily identifiable.
• All remotely supervised work in the School Learning Area is done in ‘buddy’ pairs as a minimum.
• Pupils’ clothing and footwear is checked for appropriateness prior to leaving school.
• Staff are aware of any relevant pupil medical information and ensure that any required medication is available.
• Staff will deposit in the office a list of all pupils and staff, a proposed route, and an estimated time of return.
• A school mobile is taken with each group and the office has a note of the number.
• Appropriate personal protective equipment is taken when needed (e.g. gloves, goggles) Before every whole school trip e.g. to Harvest Festival to St James Church, the buddy system is in place. An older pupil escorts a younger pupil from school to the church. All staff meet and go through the route so it is really clear for all staff the specific roads and stopping/check points.
Appendix 1 – Emergency Procedure
Our plan in an emergency is:
Business Continuity Management Plan (Emergency Plan) Portland The following was used to support us in writing this. www.oeapng.info section 4.1 and documents 4.1c, 4.1d.
Our emergency response to an incident is based on the following key factors:
1. There is always a nominated emergency base contact for any visit (during school hours this is the office).
2. This nominated base contact will either be an experienced member of the senior management team, or will be able to contact an experienced senior manager at all times.
3. For activities that take place during normal school hours, the visit leadership team will be aware of any relevant medical information for all participants, including staff.
4. For activities that take place outside normal school hours, the visit leadership team and the emergency contact/s will be aware of any relevant medical information and emergency contact information for all participants, including staff.
5. The visit leader/s and the base contact/s know to request support from the Co-op Academy Trust in the event that an incident overwhelms the establishment’s emergency response capability, involves serious injury or fatality, or where it is likely to attract media attention.
6. For visits that take place outside the School Learning Area, the visit leader will carry an emergency response sheet. 7. This Emergency Procedure is tested through both desktop exercises and periodic scenario calls from visit leaders.