Skip to content ↓


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

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  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)

Staff Competence

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:

-Relevant experience.

· 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.

Emergency procedures

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.

Parental Consent

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 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 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.

Additional Guidance:

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 document 3.4o) Swimming Lessons (refer to 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 document 7v) DofE and similar expeditions (refer to  document 7k)

Overseas Visits (refer to document 7r) Overseas expeditions (refer to 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. 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.