School Visits Policy
The Vale Federation has formally adopted, through its Governing Body, the Buckinghamshire ‘Guidance for Educational Visits and Related Activities with Evolve’. Further school procedures have been agreed with the Governing Body to ensure that this policy is adhered to.
Aims and purposes of Educational Visits
The school has a strong commitment to the added value of learning beyond the statutory school day and beyond the school premises (Learning Outside the Classroom – LOtC).
Each year the school will arrange a number of activities that take place off the school site and/or out of school hours, which support the aims of the school, in particular:
- Motivate every pupil/student and to provide opportunities for a love of life-long learning
- Provide a stimulating and challenging range of exciting learning opportunities and environments
- To provide a safe, healthy and stimulating environment in which children may develop with confidence
- Help children develop meaningful and effective forms of communication
- Encourage confidence and desire to initiate and participate in social interaction
- To enable each child to have full access to the Curriculum, regardless of sex, race or ability and to deliver it in a way that is differentiated to suit the needs of each individual child
- To help children investigate, understand and appreciate the world in which they live
- To help each child to become a happy, caring young person who can contribute to the community in a positive way
- To enable each child to experience success, to feel positive about themselves and others and to be valued and accepted as individuals
The range of activities are outlined on the school website along with the criteria by which children / pupils are able to access them and the methods by which parents will be notified and asked for their consent.
The Governing Body has given its approval to the following types of activities being arranged in support of the educational aims and ethos of the school:
Activities using the school grounds and immediate locality
National Trust venues
Out of hours Clubs (School led)
Regular nearby visits (libraries, shops, woodlands, place of worship, farms)
Day visits for particular year groups
Authorisation / Approval Procedure and Consent
The School Business Director is the Educational Visits Co-ordinator (EVC) and the Governing Body has approved this appointment.
The Visit Leader will liaise with the EVC on the visit proposal and the development of the plan – which identifies the significant issues and will include consideration of the costs and cover arrangements. There will be initial agreement for a visit by the Deputy Headteacher before it is advertised to parents. The Deputy Headteacher will sign the EV1 to agree for the visit arrangements to move forward.
When the EVC is satisfied that the arrangements are sound including the overall competency of the staffing, the visit will be approved by the School Business Director (EVC). Approval for overseas visits and residential visits will need approval of the named governor for educational visits at the initial approval stage.
The governing body have nominated Clive Bardell as the Educational Visits approval officer.
The LA as the employer will “approve” adventurous, residential and overseas visits.
Where external contractors are involved in organising all or part of the visit, the contract will be made with the school on behalf of the pupils. All payments for the visit will be made through the school’s accounts or an agreement made with the contractor that if the contractor administers the payment process, the contract remains between the school and the contractor.
For out of hours clubs, school teams and nearby visits parents will be asked to sign a general letter of consent for participation in these activities when their son/daughter enters the school. Parents will be given the timetable for the activities that pupils are involved in and will be informed by phone or by letter through pupil post if an activity has to be cancelled.
For any visit lasting a day or more parents will be asked to sign a letter, which consents to their son/daughter taking part. The school has a standard model letter, which should be used for this purpose.
As part of the parents’ consent they will be fully informed of the activities and arrangements for the visit. For all residential visits, parents will be invited to a briefing meeting where they can ask for clarification of any aspect of the itinerary and organisation of the visit.
The school has separate policies for ‘Charging and Remissions’ and ‘Equality Policy’ which applies to all educational visits.
The school recognises the key role of accompanying staff in ensuring the highest standards of learning, challenge and safety on a school visit.
Teachers and other staff are encouraged and supported to develop their abilities in organising and managing pupils’ learning in a variety of environments through induction, apprenticeship and training. The selection of staff for educational visits will be a key priority in the initial approval of any proposed visit.
Where it is appropriate, the school will ensure that CRB screening is available for volunteer adults assisting with educational activities and visits.
The school does not support additional people accompanying educational visits who are not pupils at the school or part of the agreed staff complement. This may include family members accompanying visits unless an educational benefit for the pupils can be shown.
The appointed Visit Leader will be fully supported in the tasks required to arrange the visit. This will include, as necessary, making time or finances available to conduct an exploratory visit, briefing teachers and other staff, accessing training courses, reviewing and evaluating the visit or identifying time when the leader and EVC might work in partnership to undertake planning and risk assessments.
The EVC will be fully supported to enable fulfilment of the role through allowance of time and access to training.
The expectations of Pupils and Parents
The school has a clear code of conduct for school visits based on the schools’ ‘Behaviour Policy’. This code of conduct will be part of the condition of booking by the parents, and include the potential of withdrawal of a pupil prior to and during the visit if such conduct would have led to a fixed term exclusion from school.
The school will appoint a member of the SLT as the emergency school contact for each visit. All major incidents should immediately be related to this person, especially those involving injury or that might attract media attention.
The Visit Leader will leave full details of all pupils and accompanying adults on the visit with the emergency school contact, including the home contact details of parents/guardians and next-of-kin, as appropriate. (The itinerary of the visit is a required document on Evolve and the details of pupils and accompanying adults can be attached.)
The group Leader will take with them a copy of the Buckinghamshire Serious Incident Procedure.
All incidents and accidents occurring on a visit will be reported back through the school systems.
The school will have emergency funding available to support the Visit Leader in an emergency.
All visits will be evaluated by the Visit Leader with the EVC. This will include a review of the plan which contains the significant issues for the visit. A short evaluation report will be made available for the Governing Body. (There is a facility for this on Evolve.)
The Visit Leader is responsible for presenting a financial account for the visit which will be audited as part of the schools’ procedures.