Donahies Community School Trips and Outings

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1 Donahies Community School Trips and Outings This policy is drafted in the context of the health and safety at work acts 1989 and 2005 and circular Letter M20/04 issued by Department of Education and Skills. 1.Introduction: School tours can be of benefit to the emotional, sporting, social and personal development of students. It is school policy to organise outings for the benefit of students, in consultation with the Principal. The Donahies Community School recognises the benefits of school outings as being complementary to their educational experiences. Cognisance is also taken of the fact that teachers who organise tours do so in their own time and are to be fully supported by the Board, management, staff, students and parents/guardians. The Donahies Community School exists to provide an effective and broad education to all its students. The academic education on offer is complemented by exposure to a variety of experiences and cultures and part of the true holistic education as stated in the mission statement. 2. Objectives: To assist staff in the planning of tours. To make staff aware of what is necessary and what precautions are required. To ensure the health and safety of all concerned. To ensure that tours are organised efficiently and within the guidelines set by the Department of Education and Skills. To clarify for all partners the expectations of behaviour To make clear the situations and conditions whereby students are refused permission to participate on school trips. Educational tours and field trips should: Enhance the learning process of as many pupils as possible by providing educational experiences which the classroom maybe restricted in doing or just cannot provide. Reinforce classroom activities

2 Support the curriculum content of some subjects through field trips tours, outing or other recreational activities Develop fully the interpersonal skills of the pupils/students. 3. Procedures Planning Staff planning any overnight trip must submit a completed proposal form to the Board of Management within the following timescale Trips within Ireland six weeks Trips abroad three months Forms will include as much detail and relevant information as possible at that particular time. Trips should be planned well in advance of dates. The full costs should be decided and communicated as early as practicable, thereby allowing maximum pupil participation. This also facilitates maximum time for financial preparation. The number of students participating will vary depending on the nature of the tour. The staff/student ratio will be appropriate to the age group and as recommended by the travel agency. Parents/Guardians will receive an initial letter containing a draft itinerary, a deadline for registering, deposit details, date for an information night and a copy of the schools tour policy which must be signed and returned. This letter will also state that a non-refundable deposit of 25% -50% must be paid. These deposits will be collected within a specified timeframe. If the trip is oversubscribed selection will be by lottery. A waiting list will be created. The payment of a deposit does not constitute a contract as any breaches of the school s Code of Behaviour or issues that may emerge relating to our Health and Safety Policy may result in exclusion from the trip. Exclusion A consultative process will take place between management and tour organisers to decide matters of exclusion from school trips. Criteria for exclusion will include: persistent minor breaches of the school s Code of Behaviour; smoking/alcohol/drugs related suspensions; students with a history of disruptive behaviour; students with a history of being unable and/or unwilling to follow/take instruction; previous history on school trips; this is not an exhaustive list. Insurance Appropriate insurance should be obtained for all overseas trips. As early as possible these details from the travel agency should be communicated to the Board of Management. Health and Safety related criteria will be decided on a case by case basis taking into account supervision issues and the safety of all travelling.

3 Parents/Guardians must disclose all medical/dietary and behavioural issues. Permission will be sought for the administration of all surgical procedures including general anesthetic. In general, written permission is required from a parent/guardian of a student before they may go on a trip. A sample form (appendix 1) is used for trips. On certain trips, parents may specify where a child may be collected or dropped off. Staff cannot be responsible for the safety of students once they have left the group under these circumstances. Parents/guardians of members of some activities may be asked to give on-going permission for a student to participate. E.G. Sports/Debating etc. A list of names of students involved in any trip will be left at the school notice board with an itinerary, list of teachers accompanying students and an indication of the expected time of arrival back at the school. While every effort will be made to adhere to arranged times on trips, in particular the arrival time back at school, the school cannot guarantee such times. 4. Costs and Accountability 1. The overall cost of the trip should be considered and agreed upon in advance and should take into account the ability of the parents/guardian to pay. 2. Students will be given a receipt for every payment 3. Monies will be lodged with the secretary for lodgment in school account. 4. The secretary will issue a receipt to the organising teacher 5. The income and expenditure must conform to the accounting practices of the school. 6. A full written account of income and expenditure along with receipts should be returned to the principal. 5.Roles and responsibilities Board of Management: To ensure that the policy is developed and evaluated within agreed timeframes To approve the policy To consider reports from the principal on the implementation of the policy Principal and Deputy Principal: To establish structures and procedures for the implementation of the policy To monitor the policy Make the following information available in the school: A list of those taking part together with home contact details. The itinerary to be followed and contact details of those involved. School mobile contact number for tour leader and teachers.

4 To address the students prior to departure Tour Organisers To implement the policy and provide feedback to management that may assist the review process. To provide instruction to all the relevant stakeholders of the trip as to what is expected both in preparation and participation. To keep accurate records in all matters pertaining to the trip. Parents/Guardians To support every aspect of the policy. The onus is firmly on parents/guardians to ensure that their child has all the necessary, up to date documentation in advance of the tour including visas and inoculations if required. By signing the acceptance form parents/guardians understand the regulations of the policy and they accept their obligatory responsibility to ensure their child is fully aware of the consequences of breaching these regulations. Behaviour Teachers and other designated adults supervising the trip are in loco parentis. Consequently they exercise the rights and responsibilities of a prudent parent. Teachers give up their free time to give their students opportunities to participate on trips. Parents/Guardians should show their appreciation by cooperating fully with these teachers. Parents and guardians by signing the consent form enter into a partnership promising good and appropriate behaviour of their child at all times. The school s Code of Behaviour applies on any school trip. Breaches of the Code will result in sanctions being applied on the trip and/or upon return. Should a teacher/designated adult suspect a breach they (gender appropriate staff) have the right to carry out inspections of rooms or personal property (bags, suitcases, etc.) in the presence of the student. This will only occur when based on reasonable grounds i.e. concern for physical safety; suspected possession of a banned substance; or other concerns. The possession or use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs is forbidden. The participation by the students in all activities of the tour is expected. Pupils are permitted to bring digital entertainment items such as a camera phone on school trips. The taking and sharing of images considered inappropriate is not permitted. Unauthorized recording of pupils or staff, transferring of images of staff or pupils to social network sites, or using the equipment to harass others will be considered to be a serious breach of discipline.

5 The school website is the official record of school trips and outings and this is where to submit photographs. In the event of a serious breach of the school s Code of Behaviour the staff in charge must contact school management immediately. Students in breach will be liable to all penalties as deemed necessary by the Board, including suspension, expulsion and reporting of the offence to the Garda Siochana or local Police of the country being visited. Serious breaches of trust may result in Parents/Guardians being contacted and asked to arrange and finance the return home of their child. Students To accept the policy and abide by the conditions. To behave with common sense, courtesy and respect in relation to people and property on the trip. 11. Supervision Pupils leaving on a day activity should have attendance recorded on the school roll Eportal system with the attendance officer prior to departure. The number of staff that accompanies a group will be influenced by a number of factors including: The number of students travelling age of the students location of the trip nature of the trip Certain trips will facilitate shopping or recreation which may not be directly supervised. This situation will usually arise for senior students and will be indicated on the permission slip or information letter sent to parents/guardians. The school expects that all students travelling on an extended tour will display a level of maturity commensurate with their age. Students on trips, which involve an overnight stay in Ireland or abroad, will not be supervised on a 24 hour basis and all extended school tours will involve periods of time without direct supervision. Parents who are concerned that such a level of supervision is inappropriate should not permit their son/daughter to take part in such trips. Good practice by teacher s/ leaders will involve: Having designated meeting times and places. Pupils will carry identification and contact/itinerary details.

6 Pupils will have buddy system (pairs) or remain in groups. Counting students on/off buses etc. 12. Health and Safety The health and safety of students and supervisors are a priority when organising and taking a school trip. Teachers taking any trip will exercise due care. The Donahies Community School will rely on the common sense and judgment of such teachers. Supervising staff should either take the school mobile phone or their personal mobile phone for use in emergency situations. In case of an accident, staff may apply basic first aid only where trained. On return from, or during, any trip staff may bring a student to the local health centre for check-up, or may request a parent/guardian to seek medical advice, should they deem this appropriate. Where a serious accident occurs, staff will seek medical assistance as a first priority and contact the school or Principal to inform them of events. Parents will be contacted as soon as possible and informed of events, by staff on the outing, or the school office. School personnel will be sent to assist where necessary, especially where additional supervision is required. In some emergency situations, students on the trip may travel back to school unaccompanied by a staff member. If this happens, the consent of the bus driver should be sought. The Donahies Community School encourages all Parents/Guardians to arrange insurance cover at the beginning of each academic year. Specific activities are excluded from this policy and Parents/Guardians should familiarise themselves with the details of this policy. Day trips will not normally be covered by any other insurance policy. Additional insurance for longer trips will be organised by the school where considered appropriate. 13. Insurance and indemnity. School tours within the island of Ireland by pupils and teachers from community and comprehensive schools are normally covered by the state indemnity. The Board will adhere to the guidelines of the State Claims Agency In the case of school tours outside Ireland, the board of management will not rely on the state indemnity for insurance purposes. Appropriate travel insurance must be provided by the tour operator. Parents/Guardians are required to familiarise themselves with the details of such insurance. In considering applications/requests from teachers to bring students on outdoor activities type tour e.g. Transition year group orienteering, canoeing, hill walking etc. The board should ensure: Written applications giving full details of the proposed tour are submitted to the board of management.

7 The school receives a copy of the outdoor activity/pursuits centre Public Liability insurance certificate and notes any limitations stated in the policy. The school receives details of the professional qualifications/training of the outdoor activity/pursuits centre staff who will be leading/guiding the students in the specialist outdoor activities. 14. Uniform and dress code. Pupils will be required to wear the official school uniform on all trips unless otherwise decided in advance by school management. 15. Review and assessment. A post-trip report should be written to include: A review of the educational benefit to students A financial statement Achievements and highlights Any difficulties/problems encountered during the tour 16. Exchange trips. 1. The success of an exchange trip depends largely on good relationships and communications with the partner school. 2. School exchanges differ from other trips abroad in that students will spend most of their time with host families and are, therefore, not always under the direct supervision of school staff. 3. Students must be made aware of behavioral expectations agreed with the host family. The group leader should ensure the following: A good personal knowledge of the host school and its environs. Satisfactory pairing arrangements. The partner school should inform the host family of any special medical or dietary needs of their guests, age and gender. Matches should be appropriate. Parents, students and the host school should be clear about the arrangements for collecting and distributing students to families, and for transporting students throughout the exchange. The principal should retain a list of all the students involved and their family names, addresses and telephone numbers. Students living with host families should have easy access to their teachers, usually by telephone and should be provided with a means of communicating with the teacher leading the exchange. Parents should be made aware that their children will be living with host families and will not always be under direct teacher supervision. 4. The group leader should ensure that host families are vetted by the Host school. The group leader should, as a minimum requirement, seek assurances from the partner school as to host family suitability. 5. The exchange organizer should ensure that all necessary insurance arrangements are in place.

8 Implementation All stakeholders will monitor and implement this policy Full cooperation of all stakeholders is expected Parents/Guardians must encourage their child to uphold exemplary standards of behaviour on all tours. Success Criteria This policy is deemed successful as All stakeholders are satisfied with its effectiveness Tours are planned, organised and carried out effectively Unforeseen events are catered for and provisions made for dealing with them The trip/tour has returned all participating safely and it has been a worthwhile learning experience. Monitoring Informal discussions will take place with all parties The Principal/Deputy Principal will meet with the tour organiser after each tour to discuss the effectiveness of the policy Review The policy will be reviewed every two years or if the need arises, whichever comes first. Considered by staff Approved by the Board of Management

9 Appendix 1 Date: Event taking place: Dear Parents, A trip is being organised for pupils/class. The trip will take place on to, and will be for the duration of. The students will leave from at on the and will return to at approximately on. The costs of the trip will be. Please sign the attached form giving your child permission to go on the trip PERMISSION FORM I, parent/guardian of give my child permission to take part in the above outing on. Signed: (Parent/Guardian) Contact Number: * Pack a lunch or bring money for buying a lunch at a shop. * Bring Boots, Runners, Shorts, Socks, Shin guards, Tracksuit bottoms. *Bring rain gear when informed. *If your child has any medical ailments they should inform the tour leader and bring the necessary medical prescriptions with them for the duration of the trip.

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