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Concerns about lack of risk assessment

Discussion in 'School trips' started by reeveselizabeth, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. reeveselizabeth

    reeveselizabeth New commenter

    I am a UK trained teacher working in a British School in Spain. We are about to embark on a trip to Madrid with year 9 and 10 students but there has been little planning and communication to us teachers that are accompanying the trip. I am concerned that there is no risk assessment for a 4 day residential trip. Apparently they dont do that here is Spain, even though we are supposed to be functioning as a British School here.
    I know I am used to risk assessment overload in some cases from the UK but am I over reacting about this? We leave on Monday!
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Do they use consent forms in Spain? Perhaps they may contain useful information on the kids. Who is the staff member in charge? Ask them.
  3. lunarita

    lunarita Senior commenter

    I understand your concerns.
    It does seem fairly normal here for the admin team to choose, organise and book school trips without any involvement from teaching staff and I've heard of a few hair-raisers that would never have been agreed in the UK. They think they're doing you a favour though, not dumping the planning and organisation on you, so try not to take it badly.

    There will be consent forms, or should be.

    Almost certainly everything will be fine.
    If anything about the trip is unsuitable, unafe or inappropriate, remember you didn't book it, someone at school planned this and decided that it was all ok, not you.

    If it makes you feel better, put your concerns in writing before you go.

    Good luck and have a great time :)
  4. adam156

    adam156 New commenter

    I think if I were to go on a residential trip for 4 days with Y9 and Y10 and somebody told me that a risk assessment wasn't my responsibility, I'd be jumping for joy!
  5. matt_gfl245

    matt_gfl245 New commenter

    I think I would be very worried.

    A set of protocols and risk assessments means you then know what you are allowed to do, and what is expected of you. Without these it is hard to apply judgements, both dynamic on the day(s) and as you prepare about keeping children safe. Remember, this is as safe as necessary not as safe as possible. A good risk assessment allows you to do things - knowing that you have met your duty of care. This is for your own personal protection - no teacher has ever been prosecuted for being 'inside' the risk assessments.

    No risk assessment means that you, anyone else involved in planning or delivery, and (mainly) headteacher are now liable for all decisions. If something goes wrong, and it will as we work with children in a world where perfectly safe doesn't exist, then you alone are held responsible. This is both morally and legally.

    Your insurer will also expect a risk assessment, and will not insure you if you do not have one (and being a school, likely 80%+ you are insured by Zurich) - check with them.

    Despite being in Spain, I would suggest that the school should have 'industry norms' in place to help plan such trips, and a risk assessment. These are not necessarily done for every day - 'Routine and Expected' allows annulalised permissions and risk assessments, more for overnight or more risk trips.

    If you need some help here, can I suggest some sources:
    https://www.goingoutthere.co.uk/ - Scottish framework for such trips, lots of help and often adopted in one easy go...(see, I just saved you loads of paperwork)
    https://oeapng.info/ - OEAP National Guidance, similar to Going Out There.
    http://www.independentoutdoor.org.uk/ - Independent Schools outdoor learning.

    Having worked in schools across UK and Europe, as well as International schools globally, I have yet to find any that did not have suitable protocols or risk assessments in place. Please get something sorted, before you find it is too late.

    I am happy to help advise - as you can tell, this is my day job!
    blazer likes this.
  6. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    In post #1, the OP tells us that the trip was taking place in June.

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