Unfounded fear of being sued

25th February 2005 at 00:00
The recent report by the Commons education select committee provides clear evidence of the powerful impact that out-of-classroom learning has on young people ("MPs angry over school trip fear", TES, February 11). We welcome the report and subsequent announcement by Ruth Kelly.

We trust that the advice being prepared by the Department for Education and Skills will convince teachers that, as long as they act responsibly, they have nothing to fear from litigation. The MPs found no evidence to support the perception that school trips are inherently risky. Indeed, statistics in the report show that pupils are safer on well-organised trips than they are at home.

Ms Kelly promises "a wide range of high-quality outdoor learning, including at least one residential experience" to all young people. However, as the select committee says, the manifesto must be more than "warm words". There must be enough funding to back it.

In a society where young people are protected from reality more than ever, it is vital that they learn to deal with the uncertainty inherent in everyday life and respond to real challenges. We challenge the Government to confirm that it will provide the funding to deliver its promise.

Randall Williams Sandhill Lane, Tunbridge Wells Chair, English Outdoor Council

Steve Lenartowicz Chair, Institute for Outdoor Learning

Tony Thomas National Association of Field Study Offices Trevor Clarke Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres

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