The jailing of Paul Ellis need not spell the end of outdoor educational trips - but it does highlight the need for schools to let outdoor activities experts run them. Surprisingly, the most knowledgeable experts in this field don't work for companies offering expensive "adventure experiences", but rather are volunteers, who run such activities week in and week out.
I am talking about scout and guide leaders, who have run outdoor-based educational programmes for nearly 100 years and whose activities private companies have shamelessly copied.
Many schools have already seen the advantages of using scouting and guiding facilities. In my three summers as a mature student, I worked at scout camps that played host to thousands of children - and I cannot personally recall a single accident occuring. I therefore suggest that teachers look more closely at their local scouting and guiding facilities when planning residentials. Furthermore, if they need training in the logistics of running such trips (such as cooking, accommodation and transport), they should perhaps consider employing an experienced local scout or guide leader as a consultant.
Shaun K Joynson
London School of Economics