What the teachers say

Sue Learner

AS the Bunmi Shagaya tragedy catapults school trips safety into the headlines again, a TES report (page 31) finds that 28 children and four adults have died on school trips since 1985. A further 12 pupils and a teacher from Hagley school were killed in a minibus crash after attending the School Proms in London. But many believe trips offer pupils' invaluable experience and teachers argue that the present guidelines are sufficiently tough.

David Wright, co-ordinator for residential visits at England Lane junior and infant school, Knottingley, West Yorkshire, said: "This tragedy will not affect my decision to take children on school trips. The visits are very beneficial for the children. We feel they are valued by parents and children and I do not have any difficulty in getting staff to come along with me. We have been going camping in the Dales for 26 years and we will continue to do so."

James Bond, head of Cantley Hatchell Wood primary, Doncaster: "In common with other schools in Doncaster, we follow extremely strict safety guidelines and do risk assessments. I wouldn't be at all surprised if parents are worried about school trips now. We do have a trip we go on to northern France and one where we go camping and we hold a meeting before to explain to parents the health and safety regulations."

Vivien Kirby, head of Ley Top primary, Bradford, West Yorkshire: "We do a lot of educational trips and we follow health and safety guidelines. The activities are used to enrich many parts of the curriculum. I think they are vitally important as they broaden the children's horizons. We always do risk assessments and looks at ratios of teachers to children."

John Yates, acting head of Moat Farm junior school, Warley, West Midlands:

"We don't do any independent school trips. We use the local authority's residential centres as there are four of them in the country. The teachers feel far more comfortable and confident at these centres run by the council's staff. These trips are so beneficial as the children learn to get on with each other and socialise and it is good for the staff as they see their pupils in a different light."

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