Rules and Regulations Surrounding School Trips
School trips provide wonderful opportunities for students to learn, make friends, form a bond with their teachers and experience personal development. Many schools offer a bewildering array of school trips, from day visits to a local museum or farm, to fortnight-long sports tours to distant exotic climes!
Obviously, different schools offer different types of trips and private schools are more likely to offer more expensive and distant trips; likewise, as parents you may have particular opinions about overnight trips that may influence your child’s attendance. But in any case it is useful to know about the rules and regulations surrounding school trip attendances, which is what this article will explore.
PlanningThe first way to investigate whether your child’s planned school trip will be carried out in a safe and controlled way is to look into how it is planned. Has the school sent home permission letters well in advance? Has the school explained any potential risks? Are there organising timings for the day or period to be spent off-site? Accidents cannot always be prevented, but they should be avoided by teachers carefully planning and organising their time.
InformationThe kind of information that you should expect to hear about from your school includes facts about their school insurance policy and how your child would potentially be covered in the event of an accident. Obviously, the level of detail will depend on the nature of the trip - a one day visit to a local church will be less dangerous, one would expect, than a week-long skiing trip. You should also expect the school to tell you well in advance about any necessary clothing, equipment or footwear that might be required, as well as advice on any extra costs such as expenses or pocket money.
RulesThe school should provide a clear and coherent discussion of the levels of behaviour that they expect to see from students on the trip, including explicit rules on smoking and drinking if this is age-appropriate. These rules should also be made clear to students as well as parents, and schools should inform students in advance about what punishments would be implemented if rules are disobeyed.
Longer TripsIf you are considering sending your child on a school trip that includes at least one overnight stay or a longer residential element, you will want to look into some additional factors. For example, ask the school about levels of supervision and how sleeping arrangements are organised.
If the school is mixed, you may want to know how girls and boys will be separated. Children often feel worried about who their room-mates could be, so it can be a good idea to find out about this in advance. Ask schools what the policy will be on valuables - should these all be left at home, for example? Mobile phones can be another issue worth discussing.
If your child is older, you may want to ask staff for more detail about the trip’s drug, smoking and alcohol policies, and how much freedom students may have in evenings. You should also check that schools are being responsible about emergencies, and have plans to communicate their advice and strategies to each student, should an emergency occur.