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Schools: Trips

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th June 2011.

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Photo of Lord Pendry Lord Pendry Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the administrative burdens associated with undertaking an outdoor school trip.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the bureaucracy for teachers in organising school trips.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice is available to support schools when organising a school trip abroad.

Photo of Lord Hill of Oareford Lord Hill of Oareford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Department for Education, with other parts of government, is working on a range of initiatives to develop a positive culture of sensible and proportionate risk management in schools. A number of these measures were recommended in Common Sense, Common Safety (HMG October 2010) and agreed by the Prime Minister. The department's summary response to the report appears on the department's website at http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/healthandsafety.

We will be issuing brief advice that will help school employers and staff to a clearer knowledge of what must be done for a reasonable and proportionate observance of the duty of care, both in school and during off-site visits, without imposing inappropriate burdens on schools proposing such visits. We will also be making available an optional generic consent form to last for the pupil's stay at a school, with an opt-out facility for individual visits. We will inform maintained schools that parental consent is not legally required for off-site activities during the normal school day. It is for schools to use their judgment as to whether consent should be sought from parents depending on the activity planned.

Bureaucracy is an issue which many staff in schools are concerned about when planning off-site educational visits, and we have heeded their concerns. We have also taken into account research evidence which showed some teachers being discouraged by too much paperwork.

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