It's safe to go outdoors, says Blair

18th February 2005 at 00:00
Tony Blair and Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, have promised to cut the paperwork associated with school trips and to help protect teachers from being sued for accidents.

During a visit to an outdoor activity centre in Worcestershire, they announced that the Government would unveil new guidance on outings and launch a manifesto for education outside the classroom, later this year.

The manifesto will contain a commitment to give all children "a wide range of high-quality outdoor learning".

The Prime Minister said: "The tragedy is that in the past few years teachers have been worried because of certain high-profile cases that they're going to end up having a legal problem if they take children out to have a fantastic day. What we're doing is introducing some simple guidelines, so if teachers follow those they are not going to be at risk of legal action."

It will recommend that schools use generic risk assessment forms, and local authorities will be told to take out one insurance policy for their schools which covers all liabilities relating to trips.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association for Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said the ministers' statement was "a significant step in the right direction".

Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said there was nothing new in the guidance, but teachers would appreciate the reassurances.

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