All education employers, such as academies, local authorities, voluntary-aided schools and trust schools have statutory duties which relate to off-site educational visits and activities.
For schools transferring to academy status from the local authority, such statutory duties will move from the local authority to the academy. Academies will therefore need to think about what this means in practice and consider how to discharge their new duties.
Academies will need to establish, maintain and operate suitable systems, procedures and arrangements to ensure the health and safety of pupils, staff and others; and have regard to the safeguarding, welfare and well-being of children whilst undertaking off-site educational visits, journeys and activities.
Many (but not all) statutory duties in this field are related to Health and Safety law as outlined below.
Health and Safety Legislation
The Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) 1974 and associated Regulations
Duty to ensure the health and safety of staff, pupils and others. Relates to specialised aspects of activity where significant, forseeable risks are identified. Duty to provide written policy and arrangements for implementation, guidance, information, instruction, training, monitoring, emergency procedures and to ensure any specialised equipment used is fit for purpose.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Duty to ensure risks are assessed and measures in place to manage risks. Duty to have in place detailed arrangements to implement policy, must be specific to areas of significant foreseeable risk. Requirement to appoint specifically competent persons with relevant experience, expertise and qualifications in specialised aspects of activity. Requirement to provide comprehensible and relevant information on risks to health and safety and measures to manage them. Requirement to ensure that staff are provided with suitable training, including refresher training for the roles they undertake.
A range of other statutory duties also relate to educational visits, such as charging regulations for educational activities and the duty to make reasonable adjustments to include all children in educational activities.
Common Law Duty of Care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to those taking part in or affected by educational visits and activities also applies to educational visits.