Val Sumner, of the Royal Life Saving Society, asks a pertinent question (following the drowning of Brixton pupil Bunmi Shagaya): "Teachers may be brilliant in the classroom, but what qualifications do they have to take children off-site?" ("How can we stop these tragedies?", TES, July 13).
It is so often stated that there is no qualification that covers off-site trips, whereas there has been one for four years now. The Certificate in Off-site Safety Management, accredited by the OCR exam board, is run at centres throughout England and Wales. The certificate consists of a minimum 15 hours' coursework, followed by an exam. It covers everything you need to know about planning, running and evaluating a trip, including how to cope if things go wrong.
The course is aimed at everyone who runs off-site activities with under-18s, not just teachers. Youth club leaders and Scout and Guide staff are among the many who have attended.
Charlotte Stretton 3 Rhiwbach Terrace Cwm Penmachno Conwy