New requirements for school trips

New Government guidance confirms that legal responsibility for safety on school trips rests with LEAs rather than headteachers or other member of staff. The guidance, issued in the wake of several fatal accidents, requires LEAs to appoint a special outdoor education adviser to oversee outings, while schools will have to nominate a teacher to be visits co-ordinator. All trips will need two thorough safety assessments - one by the LEA to address main hazards and one by the school's nominated co-ordinator.

Teaching unions welcomed the new guidelines, but feared that additional burdens may deter teachers from organising trips. David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The guidance is in danger of creating excessive bureaucracy and red tape. Educational visits are an essential part of the curriculum for many schools. It would be unfortunate if additional requirements placed on schools were to lead to teachers voting with their feeti and abandoning school trips in the future."

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