Trust us on our school trips

28th February 2003 at 00:00
OUR school has just appointed its first educational visits co-ordinator.

The field of candidates was not large as there is no extra salary to go with the post - although it does bring lots of additional paperwork. And the lucky winner is.....? Me.

How many of these new trouble-shooters are, like me, headteachers? In the primary sector, I would guess about 75 per cent. What a good idea of the Department for Education's mandarins to reduce the number of incidents on school trips by giving more work to the only people who are not in a position to say "no". Will our new role as EVCs (it sounds seductively like a pension plan for early retirement, doesn't it?), saddle us with responsibility for all incidents, whether planned or unplanned? And what difference will we, as EVCs, make? Well, we could try to persuade hurricanes, floods, and any other Acts of God you care to name, to desist as they have not been included on the risk assessment form.

Safety on school trips and the need for good planning and organisation are important. But can we not be trusted to go ahead and plan without Whitehall's say so? In most schools, year leaders and heads of department take responsibility for organising trips. It is hard to see how this can be improved on - or is it of no consequence whether the co-ordinator knows the children, their curriculum, their parents and levels of behaviour?

So, schools up and down the land announce the appointment of the latest guru to their growing armies of co-ordinators. This amenable individual also happens to be the finance and personnel co-ordinator, and the curriculum co-ordinator...So what does one more responsibility matter? I've already started planning my next trip. To a little retirement home somewhere in Southport...

Suzanne Brown is headteacher of Queen's CE Junior School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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