Calls for tougher rules after school trip death

5th July 1996 at 01:00
Local authority-run outdoor activity centres have defended their safety record following the death of a 13-year-old boy on a school trip to a North Yorkshire beauty spot last week.

Richard Barber was among a party of 30 children from Ladderbanks middle school, Baildon, West Yorkshire who were staying at Buckden House, an outdoor education centre in the Yorkshire Dales owned by Bradford Metropolitan Council. A group of 10 children, accompanied by a teacher and an activity leader were at an abseiling site when they noticed Richard was missing. After a search, his body was found in a waterfall pool. Police and Health and Safety Executive officers are investigating.

Under the the Activity Centres (Young Persons Safety) Act, commercially-run enterprises have to register with Government- appointed independent inspection company, Tourism Quality Services, before August 1. LEA-owned centres like Buckden House will be subject to inspection. The British Safety Council wants the requirements extended to centres run by voluntary organisations which have a worse safety record - 14 under-18-year-olds have died since the early 1970s compared with 10 at commercially-run operations.

BSC director-general James Tye said: "We must look again at the rules covering schools and other voluntary groups. The British Safety Council wants anyone running outdoor activity centres to be licensed and everyone involved in them properly trained."

Phil Simpson, chairman of the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres, the main representative body for around 100 LEA run centres, said that their safety record was exemplary. "They all have the appropriate safety systems in place. Eventually we have to acknowledge that accidents do happen. "

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today