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Free time on trips / working hours of teachers

Discussion in 'School trips' started by viptravelwroclaw, May 4, 2016.

  1. viptravelwroclaw

    viptravelwroclaw New commenter

    Hello everyone,

    My name is John Adams, and I work for an inbound travel agency in Poland. I'm looking for some advice (and hopefully I can contribute some advice in return!).

    I have a question that keeps coming up in discussions with our clients - regarding the best practice surrounding unsupervised time with teenagers. I've spent 2 hours this morning searching for something definitive on the matter, but all that I can find is discussions about assessing the risk.

    The first question - are there any clear rules on whether children should always be supervised, or whether it's acceptable for them to be unsupervised for periods of time? In Poland, this is entirely down to the discretion of the trip leader.

    The second question - how do schools manage the working hours of teachers? Is it simply accepted that one teacher will be on 'night duty' and that's it?

    Sometimes, the simple questions are very difficult to find answers for - I've been out of the country for nearly 10 years, so I'm really behind the times in some respects!
  2. MissHallEnglish

    MissHallEnglish Occasional commenter Forum guide and community helper

    I run the ski trip at my school - trips are a real team effort on the part of the staff that go.
    I would say it definitely depends on each individual group as to whether they should be allowed unsupervised time. However, I usually run it on a trust basis. When (if) something happens that I'm not happy with, I retract their freedom so to speak. If, for example, we were going on a visit to a city, I would certainly allow free time with the proviso that all students remained in at least groups of three and there was a teacher at the 'meeting place' at all times. They would also have numbers for the staff (school mobiles) in case of emergency. Risk assessing is always a key factor.

    With regards to staffing - I'm lucky enough to have a pick of staff and all accept we'll all muck in all of the time. With regards to night duty, we normally assign students to a certain teacher and that teacher is their first port of call for ANY issue, day or night. I know of other schools who work it so that one member of staff is on duty each night.

    I don't know whether that's helped but it's how I do things.
  3. viptravelwroclaw

    viptravelwroclaw New commenter

    Many, many thanks. I know every school has their own policies and so on, but it's still great to have something to base our initial offers on. In particular, I only knew about the idea of someone being on duty at night - the idea of their teacher being always available is new to me.

    And yes, it's helped - thank you ever so much for taking the time to reply!
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    In theory staff on trips should have some free time planned in. In practice this rarely happens as the staff tend to want to stick together. If there is night cover then a duty roster is often a good thing and allowance should be made that staff who did the night duty get a rest the following day (although again they often don't want to miss the activities)

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