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Educational Visits (Risk Assessments) Policy

This policy can be downloaded as a Word document here.


All schools are required to offer children a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes their spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development, and prepares them for the opportunities and experiences of adult life.

In our school we seek to ensure that the National Curriculum is delivered to all children, regardless of social background, race, gender or differences in ability. All are entitled to the development of knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes.

To enrich the curriculum for our children, we also offer a range of educational visits and other activities that add to what they learn in school.

The National Curriculum defines what we teach the children in school. This is the basis for each class’s programme of learning for each school year. Within each class’s programme of work the teachers plan educational visits and activities that support the children’s learning. In addition to this there are also activities within school such as visiting speakers and theatre companies to enhance the children’s learning. All these activities are in line with guidance published by the LA.

Wirral Council Policy for Educational visits and Offsite Activity

Every year thousands of children and young people from Wirral schools and Children and Young People’s Department participate in Educational Visits and off-site activity as part of their Educational experience or personal development. These activities and opportunities are integral to a rounded educational experience which challenges, excites, motivates and stimulates learners.
This policy sets out how Wirral Council and Black Horse Hill Junior School manage this aspect of learning.

Adventure Activities: Activities that take place in challenging environments that can present technical or environmental complexity in the organisation or delivery of the activity. Many adventure activities have well established National Governing bodies that train, assess and validate the competency of staff to lead in the activity.

Educational Visits: All visits with a group of young people that leave a school site to journey to another location either during the school day or for extended periods beyond the school day. This usually does not include work experience or activity in schools on split sites. This activity is planned and organised by the school.

Off-site Activities: Activities that occur away from the base of regular work with children or young people organised by staff who work within Children’s Services.

Learning Outside of the Classroom (LOtC): Activity that takes place on the school site and further afield. Some of this work falls under the category of Educational Visits.

Children and Young People: all young people under the care of Children’s Services whether from a school or setting.

Staff: In the context of this policy staff are defined as any employee of Wirral Council any agency worker or volunteer working for Wirral Council including elected members of Wirral Council.


This policy applies to any of the following activities when undertaken by young people under the supervision or control (whether pastoral or direct) of Wirral Council staff. This policy also applies to activities which are facilitated by Wirral Council or any of its maintained schools or other services.
This policy applies regardless of whether or not the activities take place within or outside of normal working hours including weekends and holiday periods.
Wirral Council has formally adopted Outdoor Education Advisor Panel (OEAP) ‘National Guidance’ as the source guidance for this policy from the website: www.oeapng.info

It is a legal expectation that employees must work within the requirements of their Employer’s Guidance. Wirral Council Children and Young People’s Department and their employees must follow the requirements of ‘OEAP National Guidance’ in addition to the requirements of this policy statement which are highlighted below.

Policy Statement

Where there is any variance of policy between the National Guidance and local policy this Policy Statement sets out Wirral Council’s requirements which take precedence over any National Guidance.

Where a Wirral Council employee commissions LOtC activity they must ensure that this particular commissioned agency has either of the following:
Wirral Council Guidance or OEAP National Guidance
A system in place where standards are no less than those required by OEAP National Guidance

Third Party Providers

Where activities that fall within the scope of this policy are being provided by a third party the School should check that:
Reasonable checks of any external organisations that are contracted to provide any activities regardless of whether these activities are being carried out on or off-site are carried out to ensure that the external organisations are competent to provide such activities
Checks are made via an external validation process using an Inspection and Accrediting Body which may include the Adventure Activities Licensing Service, the LOtC Quality Badge and Adventuremark or sector Approval schemes. Wirral Council endorses the LOtC Quality Badge Scheme. Confirmation about individual Awarding Body schemes should be made via the Educational Visits Advisor
The performance of external organisations is adequately monitored to ensure that agreed practices are being met
The significant findings of monitoring are acted upon and reported to the Educational Visits Advisor and/or Governing Body of the school

Where activities involve either Travel Abroad or the provision of ‘Adventure Activities’ led by Wirral Council or by a third party provider the Council requires that these be submitted to the Educational Visits Advisor for checks and approval early in the planning stages.
To secure the policy objectives the Council will put arrangements in place to:
Establish and maintain systems and procedures to enable schools and settings to comply with the requirements of this policy.
All schools and settings will be required to record and manage activities falling within the scope of this policy using the Evolve online system
Provide advice to enable staff with responsibilities for any aspect of this policy to meet any requirements placed on them
Provide written guidance and procedures for staff to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities within the scope of this policy
Provide access to suitable and sufficient information and instruction and training for all staff who organise, facilitate, lead and advise on such activities
Comply with reasonable directions and instructions issued by external organisations providing such activities where these are issued in order to secure the health and safety of other persons
Establish structures to enable the reporting of any significant findings of monitoring activity (e.g. incident reports) to the Council’s SMT

School Organisation

Visits and activities usually take place within the school day. Parents are informed at the earliest possible stage. When a pupil joins the school parents are asked to sign a permission form to cover all visits within the local school community (i.e., church, High School/CLC and surrounding area), (see Appendix 1). We follow the LEA’s guidelines relating to health and safety including risk assessments.

For all other visits we ask parents to complete a separate permission slip for each event. (See Appendix 2) If we do not receive this written permission, the child will be unable to participate. Staff members follow the agreed procedures when organising a visit.

Charging for school activities

The Governing Body has a charging policy that details the full range of activities where a charge can be made. A copy of this is available from the school office.

School Residential activities

Children in Key Stage 2 have the opportunity to take part in residential visits. We undertake this visit only with the written agreement of the LEA. The school follows the guidelines issued by the LEA. ( See – Educational visits, overnight stays and hazardous activities, Health and Safety Guidance Document.
Residential visits are subject to Governing Body approval.

School Governing Body

Governing bodies play a key role in providing oversight of all activities undertaken by the school. Governing Bodies should satisfy themselves that the school has suitable policies and procedures in place to adequately manage and monitor all activities falling within the scope of this policy. The results of monitoring should be discussed at Governing Body meetings.

Head teacher
The Head teacher is responsible for ensuring that any activities falling within the scope of this policy are:

  • Adequately resourced (in terms of planning, time, staff and budget) to secure compliance with the requirements of this policy and any associated procedures.
  • Reported to the Council’s Education Visits Advisor where required under the terms of this policy
  • Led by competent people
  • (If third party providers are providing the activity), the Head teacher is responsible for ensuring that responsible checks are carried out to ensure so far as reasonably practicable, that the third party is competent to provide the activities that they have been contracted to provide
  • Checked in relation to risk management systems. Risk management systems are required to be in place using a risk benefit assessment tool to ensure that adequate risk management measures are implemented. For activities provided and delivered by third parties reasonable checks of the provider using the risk management system should be used.

The Head teacher is not responsible for

  • Providers’ risk assessments and should not undertake any further risk assessments of a Providers’ activities
  • Monitored and any significant findings reported to the council’s Educational Visits Advisor and to the school’s Governing body so that they can maintain effective oversight of these activities

The Head teacher may appoint a member (or members) of their staff to carry out these duties on their behalf. Where such appointments are made the Head teacher remains responsible for the standard that is to be achieved and they must monitor the performance of these appointed persons to ensure that the required tasks are being carried out competently.
The appointment of an EVC should have sufficient authority (i.e. they should normally be a senior member of staff) to enable them to undertake their role and should be provided with the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to enable them to discharge their duties effectively.

School Educational Visits Co-ordinators (EVC)
EVCs are responsible for delivering any tasks devolved to them by their Head teacher.
Once appointed EVC’s have an additional responsibility to ensure that they bring any significant failings relating to compliance with this policy and its associated procedures to the attention of their Head teacher.

School Staff

Staff members are responsible for taking care of themselves and for others affected by their actions or their omissions. In the context of this policy this significance is outlined below:
Co-operating with line managers and supervisors by implementing the agreed actions of any risk management process and planning when they undertake or are involved in activities falling within the scope of this policy.
Reporting any failings in the risk management process relating to activities falling within the scope of this policy to the attention of management
It is an expectation of this Policy that all Wirral council staff have been formally assessed as competent to undertake such responsibilities that have been assigned to them

Emergency Planning, Critical Incident Support and Incident Reporting

A critical incident may include an incident where any member of a group undertaking an off-site activity has:

  • Either suffered a life threatening injury or fatality.
  • Is at serious risk
  • Has gone missing for a significant and unacceptable period.

As an employer Wirral is committed to providing emergency planning procedures to support establishments in the event of a critical incident. All health and safety related incidents including any “near misses”, arising from activities covered by this policy must be reported using the M13 ‘Accident and near miss form’ and sent to CYPD Health and Safety Team.