When litigation threatens trips

31st August 2001 at 01:00
Steve West (TES, August 3) says education authorities should provide guidance to teachers taking children on trips, and adds that "until that happens" teachers and pupils will remain at risk.

I am soon to take up my first headship and contacted the City of York council for advice on this. I was sent a set of resources including risk assessment guidance, model parental proformas regarding the children's last tetanus injection etc, crisis management advice among many other booklets.

Some of these were specific to York, but most were from the Department for Education and Skills, and the booklet, Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits, was clearly available nationally.

An earlier article in the same edition on our "litigious society", said that prosecutions against teachers had quadrupled in the past 10 years. Teachers have historically borne the huge burden of care and responsibility in loco-parentis for the benefit of pupils, and it is a great pity that the current media climateunion advice may limit children's opportunities.

It is for parents to judge whether the benefits outweigh the risks and the duty of headteachers and governors is to take up LEADFES guidelines and act upon them.

Tracey Ralph 130 Edwards Road Erdington, Birmingham

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