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New standards to protect children on trips abroad

A national set of safety rules for school trips overseas is to be introduced after claims that protection for children on them is "patchy".

The British Standards Institution is drawing up the new standards and wants teachers to comment on its plans.

Mike Low, the institution's director, said: "We have been working closely with parents, teachers and travel operators to develop this new standard, designed to meet the increasingly complex health and safety regulations facing young people travelling abroad."

The new standard is expected to ensure that someone will be charged with overall responsibility for every trip. Other staff and volunteers will have clearer accountability and defined roles.

It follows concern among parents over safety on school trips and growing fears that teachers may risk being sued if anything goes wrong. One union, the NASUWT, has advised school staff not to take children on any trips for fear of exposing themselves to legal action.

The institute released a survey of 2,000 parents that showed more than 80 per cent thought school trips should comply with a national safety standard. And nearly a third believed that teachers were ultimately responsibility for pupils' safety.

Peter Eisenegger, whose daughter died of heat-stroke on an expedition in 1999, helped work on the proposed standards. He said: "Any parent who has been through something similar wants to help prevent the same thing happening again."

Teachers can comment on draft standard BS8848 at www.bsiglobal.comservices8848index.exalter

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