Unions have Criticised the guidelines Michael Gove and the government have implemented to make school trips easier to organise. The Department of Education's safety guidelines have published new guidelines reducing the paperwork from 150 pages to around 8 pages. By simplifying the procedure for teachers they hope to encourage Educational Visits and Learning outside the classroom.
Updated information posted on April 25 2012 on the Department of Education's websites says "The Government is determined to reduce burdens on schools. We want to simplify health and safety requirements and explain them better. The Government is making it easier for schools to take pupils on trips, removing paperwork and taking steps to reduce teachers? fears of legal action. Teachers should be confident that they know best how to look after pupils and keep them safe."
This document summarises the existing health and safety law relevant to schools and explains how it affects local authorities, governing bodies, headteachers and other school staff. It covers activities that take place on or off school premises, including school trips.
This advice document replaces a number of guidance documents on health, safety and security in schools, including Health and Safety: Responsibilities and Powers (2001) and Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits (HASPEV 1998). You should also read a new document from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) School trips and outdoor learning activities: Tackling the health and safety myths.
Paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 require Independent Schools to take into account the guidance in Health and Safety; Responsibilities and Powers (2001) and Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits (HASPEV 1998). This advice replaces that guidance for the purposes of the 2010 Regulations.
The document will be reviewed in Summer 2012.
The advice in this document is based on the law as it stands. The Government are reviewing health and safety laws to simplify them further.
Who is this advice for?
headteachers and other school staff.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) though are opposed to this as they fear it would lead to more accidents. Amanda Brown of the NUT said "what we wouldn't want to see is a reduction in guidance which would lead to more accidents. What we want are guidelines that are clear and long enough so that people feel secure".