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School Tours/Trips & Extracurricular Sporting Activities (2016)

RCS School Tours & Extra-Curricular Activities Policy 2016

Scope of our Policy

This policy applies to all members of the staff of Ramsgrange Community School who take students off campus. It is applicable to the students participating in the activity[1] (trip/tour or outing/sporting event) and to their parents/guardians.

The Code of Behaviour of Ramsgrange Community School applies to all students of Ramsgrange Community School and relates to all school activities both during and outside of normal school hours; it applies both on and off the campus and anywhere students are clearly identified or identifiable as students of Ramsgrange Community School.

The Code of Behaviour also applies to all outings and to tours, whether or not they involve an overnight stay.

  • Before a student is accepted for an activity, his/her previous behaviour may be taken into consideration.
  • Parents/guardians will be notified, in advance, of all activities and both parents and student should sign the appropriate consent form. In this way parents, students and teachers enter into a partnership promoting good and appropriate behaviour at all times.

Rationale for having tours/outings and the need for a relevant policy

  • Ramsgrange Community School exists to provide an effective education service to all its students and is committed to the education, in the broadest sense of the word, of all students who attend the school.
  • Ramsgrange Community School provides an academic education which also recognises that exposure to a variety of experiences and cultures is part of an holistic education.
  • The curriculum content of some subjects requires field studies/tours/outings/recreational activities, which take place off campus.
  • Tours assist in developing social skills bonding between students, as well as providing teachers with an opportunity to get to know students in a non-classroom environment and to build links with the local community and other nationalities.
  • There should be a balanced programme of outings and tours for the school year that does not prove too costly to parents and does not overburden the school timetable.
  • All educational tours must be consistent with the rationale as specified by the Department of Education and Skills in Circular Letter M 20/04. All reasonable efforts will be made to satisfy all of the criteria contained in this circular.
  • To assist staff[2] in the planning of tours and outings, so that they are aware of all necessary procedures that must be observed to provide for the health and safety of staff and students. It also ensures that tours and outings take place efficiently and smoothly and that the standard of supervision is firmly within guidelines and standards.
  • To clarify expectations of behaviour for all tours and to outline the conditions whereby a student may be refused permission to be included on a trip.
  • To involve all members of the school community in ratifying this policy on tours/outings in order to promote partnership, ownership and implementation of the policy.

Objectives

  • That the health, safety and welfare of our students is safeguarded by ensuring that reasonable care has been taken when considering the nature of the trip chosen, the level of supervision provided, the venue, the means of transportation, the demands on the physical ability of the students, having regard to their age and capacity, and the dangers to which they may be exposed.
  • That students gain maximum educational benefit and enjoyment from all trips/outings. For example, school trips/outings should broaden each pupil’s cultural and intellectual experience; foster independence/ maturity/ team building; enhance student’s social skills; improve language acquisition skills; create positive memories of school; promote greater understanding between different cultures; encourage travel/ studying abroad; promote involvement of all students; improve communication skills.
  • Finally that, staff are aware that the degree of care required of them should be that of a “careful parent”, which would vary with the circumstances and the age of the student.

Content of policy:

  1. Day Tours within Ireland (including Northern Ireland)
  2. Overnight tours, inside or outside the Republic of Ireland
  3. General Guidelines for the Extra/Co-Curricular sporting activities.
  4. Appendices

Please note that all appendices are available on computer/website for completion and downloading. They will not be distributed to parents and students as part of the policy.

Appendix 1: Tour Proposal Form[3]

Appendix 2: “Parental Permission Letter and Form

Appendix 3: To Do” Checklist for Tours and Outings

Appendix 4: Bus Requisition Form

Hiring a Bus.

Tours/Trips or excursions will necessitate the hiring of a bus.  Standard Transport Requisitions and ordering procedures apply.  The Tour Leader should ask the following questions of all Bus Companies;

  1. The drivers name and whether or not he/she possesses a Driver Certificate in Professional Competence[4]. (This is not required if non-commercial).
  2. Whether or not the coach/minibus has safety belts installed. If not this bus company cannot be hired for the trip.
  3. Will all children be informed of the importance of wearing safety belts by the driver?
  4. It is the Bus Company’s responsibility, with the assistance of the Tour Leader, to monitor the wearing of safety belts.

In the following pages the different regulations for different types of excursion are outlined:

  1. School Tours and overnight trips, inside or outside the Republic of Ireland
  2. Day Trips within Ireland (including Northern Ireland)
  3. Sporting Trips / Activities.

2

 

 

School Tours and overnight trips, inside or outside the Republic of Ireland.

 a)    Members of staff, who wish to take students on an overseas trip, must submit their request for approval to the Principal, by completing the Educational Outing Form in Appendix 1. Included in the proposal, should be the educational or other benefits that the students will derive from the trip.

b)   The number of students participating varies depending on the nature of the trip and the staff/student ratio will be appropriate to the age group and as recommended by the travel agency (if involved).

c)    Sufficient teachers, assistants and care workers must accompany students at all times.  Students with special needs must be accompanied by the appropriate Care Assistant. Students with “complex medical needs” as determined by the school, may be required to be accompanied by a Parent/ Guardian. The cost of the tour and procedures, including Garda Vetting, are the responsibility of the accompanying, appropriate adult.

d)   The initial letter to parents should contain a draft itinerary and deadline for registering and payment of non-refundable deposit. Parents must be made aware that the organiser reserves the right to make minor changes to the itinerary.

e)    If a passport is required, a photocopy of the student’s passport must be included with the deposit. All passports must be valid for at least six months following the trip.

f)     Visas may be necessary for the destination and some countries require them to be processed together. There may be an additional cost to secure a visa. Parents should be informed that students with non-EU passports may need visas for EU countries.

g)    Students must organise and have their E111 or European Health Insurance Card for travel to countries in the EU.

h)   It is important to impress upon parents that the onus is on them to ensure that their son/daughter has all necessary up-to-date documentation well in advance of the trip.

i)     Parents should be informed in good time if there are any mandatory or recommended inoculations for the destination. It is important that parents realise that the onus is on them to make arrangements for their son/daughter to receive all necessary inoculations.

j)     Students must attend all information meetings and co-operate with all requests pertaining to the trip.

k)   Following receipt of the deposit, parents will receive the Permission Letter and Form all sections of which must be completed and the form returned to the organiser by specified date. Details of accommodation, travel arrangements, any special local conditions, personal items that the student needs to bring, guidelines for spending money and money for extras such as meals and excursions will also be sent to parents.

l)     Mobile phone communication between teachers/supervisors and students on the trip may be necessary. A list should be made of participants’ mobile phone numbers (as given on the Permission Form) and students should have the mobile phone number of the trip leader – to be carried with them at all times while on the trip. A mobile phone is available from the School, as staff members are not required to give their personal mobile phone numbers to students.

m)  The trip organiser should have two emergency contact numbers; usually this will be the Principal and the Deputy Principal.

n)    If necessary two members of staff should carry out inspection of rooms or personal property (bags, suitcases etc.) with the student present. This will only be done for good reasons based on reasonable grounds, such as concern for physical safety, suspected possession or use of a banned substance or other concerns.

  1.  If a search is deemed necessary, the student should be asked to empty his/her own pockets, suitcase / bags or to search the clothing that he/she is wearing.
  2. If a student is found to be in serious breach of any of the rules in the School Code of Behaviour, the staff in charge must contact the Principal immediately.
  • o)     An Accident/Incident Report Form must be completed for all accidents or incidents which have occurred. Examples of reportable incidents include: persistent lateness at the rendezvous point; not staying with the group; rudeness to teachers; and serious breach of school rules, particularly in relation to alleged or proven alcohol or substance abuse.

School Tours: Roles and Responsibilities:

Board of Management

  1. To ensure that the policy is developed and evaluated.
  2. To approve the policy
  3. To ensure that all aspects of the policy are adhered to prior to and during the tour.

Principal/ Deputy Principal

  1. To establish structures and procedures for the implementation of the policy
  2. To monitor and support the implementation of the policy
  3. To promote and foster school tours.

Tour Leader/Director

  1. It is recommended that one teacher be nominated as the Tour Leader/Director of the tour who will be expected to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with agreed standards.
  2. When the tour is sanctioned by the Principal/ Board of Management the school tour organiser will inform the pupils and parents concerned. When numbers are confirmed she/ he will invite staff members to join the team.

Tour Team organisation and planning

  1. Tour Team and Reserve List: A Tour Team, led by the Tour Leader/Director should be put in place as soon as possible. A reserve list is advisable in case a member of the team should subsequently be unable to travel.
  2. Organising Roles: The Tour Leader/Director should meet the full Tour Team at the outset so as to discuss individual duties and nominate a Deputy Tour Leader. Ideally all members of the Tour Team should be involved in organising the tour, taking up duties in one of the following areas. (a) Tour Finances – the Tour Leader or Deputy Leader (b) Group Passport – the Tour Leader or Deputy Leader – for reasons of privacy some students may obtain their own passports. (c) E111 forms and insurance – any member of the Tour Team (d) The Tour Itinerary – cultural passes, internal tours – any member of the Tour Team (e) General needs – medical kit, home contact numbers, medical services’ contacts in area to be toured etc. – any member of Tour Team.
  3. Planning Tour Supervision: Prior to leaving each teacher should be assigned a small number of students and be known to the students as their Group Leader. If possible these groups should remain unchanged throughout the tour.
  4. Planning Tour Supervision Rota: The Tour Leader should place teachers on a Supervision Rota for use in the various types of overnight accommodation used or provide contact details to the Host Family.

Professional Responsibilities of the Tour Team

Here is the agreed statement of the professional responsibilities and duties of staff for the duration of the tour as outlined below…

Mindful of the DES guidelines regarding Child Protection (3.1.1 and 3.1.2) the following must be observed:

  1. Teachers will act in a responsible manner (including the consumption of alcohol) having regard to the fact that they are in the company of and responsible for the care of students. Teachers will maintain the same standards of care as apply in a school situation.
  2. It is important that the rules agreed by teachers and parents and signed by students are enforced by all teachers while away with student, especially with regard to the consumption of alcohol by students.
  3. The organising teacher must ensure that adequate travel and school insurance is in place.
  4. Teachers must inform the Principal of his/her intention and proposed itinerary before informing pupils, other staff members or parents.
  5. The proposed itinerary, dates of departure and return, age-group of students (year) and estimated cost of the trip should be discussed with the Principal.
  6. Written permission from the Board of Management at least 2 months in advance must be sought.
  7. Parents should be consulted 2 months prior to departure for foreign trips. Any overnight trip will require one months’ notice.
  8. Provide information re: cost of trip, pocket money and any additional costs which may arise.
  9. Discuss discipline code with students and parents.
  10. Organise insurance/ passport/ E111/ Point of contact
  11. School trips that are not deemed to have an educational benefit must take place within school holiday period as per DES circular.
  12. Inform teachers of the purpose of the trip to promote cross curricular learning in the class before and after the class.
  13. Written reporting back to Principal and Board of Management. Arrangements should be made for a summary report from the School tour leader to the Principal and the Board of Management outlining: the achievements of the tour, a financial statement, any difficulties or problems which arose during the course of the tour.

Parents

  1. Sign consent form giving permission to their son/daughter to go on the tour.
  2. Parents should be made aware of
  • The purpose of the trip.
  • The itinerary and duration of the trip.
  • The costs involved and method of payment.
  • The rules of behaviour to be observed.
  • Information regarding insurance and indemnity.
  • The documentation required.
  1. Attend Scheduled meeting and sign Rules and Procedures Form supporting the rules that are in place.
  2. Inform the Tour Leader of any medical condition(s) of which the leader should be aware of to ensure the health and safety of all students while in the teachers’ care. Parents should be made aware of their duty to inform the Tour leader of any relevant Health or Safety issues which might affect their children.
  3. Organise all relevant documentation for their child.
  4. The signed permission of parents must be an essential pre-requisite for the participation of their children in any school tour.

3

 Day Trips within Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

  1. Day trips may take place during the school day and/or may extend beyond normal school hours.
  2. Day trips must have the approval of the Principal/Deputy Principal.
  3. Members of staff who wish to take students on a day trip must put their request in writing to the Principal/Deputy Principal by completing the Trip Proposal Form in Appendix 1. Included in the proposal should be the educational or other benefits that the students will derive from the trip.
  4. Once the Principal/Deputy Principal has approved a trip, the organiser should:
    1. In order to inform parents/guardians, forward brief details of the trip to the Deputy Principal and prepare a letter home to be co-signed by the Principal and Trip Organiser.
    2. Organise the relevant bus/transport.
    3. Collect student contribution to the cost of the activity.
    4. The staff member should include it in the monthly calendar and /or on the staff notice board.
    5. Place a list of students participating in the trip on the Staff notice Board and copy to the secretarial staff
    6. On all day trips there must be an appropriate ratio between the number of students and the number of adults traveling. This ratio will vary depending on the nature of the trip and the age of the students traveling. Students in First Year will require most supervision. On a private coach there should be at least one member of staff in addition to the driver.
    7. Sufficient adults, assistants and care workers must accompany students at all times.  Students with special needs must be accompanied by the appropriate Care Assistant.
    8. Day trips may involve a financial cost to the student. For example, a fee may be charged to cover the cost of transportation to/from sporting events which students are required to pay in advance.
    9. The School will always have the mobile/contact numbers of the Coach Company or staff involved in case of delays or any other occurrences.
    10. For trips that extend beyond normal school hours, it is the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure that arrangements are in place for their son/daughter’s journey to/from the School. The organiser of the trip must be informed in advance of these arrangements.
    11. Students will return to the school. Exceptions will be made on an individual basis where a note/contact has been obtained from parents / guardians in advance of alternative travel arrangements.
    12. An Accident/Incident Report Form must be completed for all accidents or incidents which have occurred. Examples of reportable incidents include: persistent lateness at the rendezvous point; not staying with the group; rudeness to teachers; and serious breach of school rules, particularly in relation to alleged or proven alcohol or substance abuse.

4

Sporting Trips / Activities

  1. Each Coach is responsible for taking a properly equipped first-aid kit to his/her match.
  2. At the start of each academic year each Coach should ask students to complete a brief form outlining their medical history.  This will be signed by parents/guardians. This should be kept securely and shredded at the end of each year by the Coach.  If a Coach has concerns about any condition raised in this form they should contact parents.
  3. If a minor accident occurs the Coach will treat it on the spot and report the incident to parents/guardians through the Student Journal or by phone call. [5]
  4. In the event of a serious accident;
    1. The Coach will ring a Doctor/Ambulance/or other mode of transport directly.
    2. If a child is to be taken to A and E the driver should be over 21 and have a full licence for 3 years at least.
    3. In these cases there should be more than the driver and the injured student in the car. This can be done is by;

i.    Delegating responsibility for the remaining group to the accompanying Parent/SNA/PLC Students while the Coach (the designated person) stays with the injured party.

ii.    Two other students, or an adult, accompany the Coach and the injured student to the A&E or doctors surgery.

  1. The Coach will contact the Principal/Deputy Principal with the details of the incident in order that this information can be relayed to parents/guardians. This information should include;

i.    The nature of the injury.

ii.    Details of where the injured student is being brought and how.

iii.    Details of who is delegated the role of leader in accompanying/supervising the main group to their destination.

  1. Any accident deemed to be of a serious nature is recorded on an accident report form, a copy of which is submitted to the Principal. The Coach will apprise students of the necessary safety equipment for each respective sport.
  2. The Coach organises transport to and from all matches, using a recognised coach company. In the case of local venues, parents may be asked to provide transport. Coaches/Parents will never accompany a student alone in a car without the express permission of the child’s parents/guardians.
  3. When an away match is organised during school hours, the number of adults traveling must be dependent upon the staffing requirements of the activities in school. Generally one teacher will travel with a team. The needs of the students in school must receive priority when organising such matches and wherever possible one teacher and an accompanying adult will travel with teams.
  4. At least one male supervisor will accompany all boys’ teams and at least one female supervisor will accompany all girls’ teams. In mixed-sex events both male and female supervisors will accompany teams where possible.
    1. The ‘recommendation’ for activities involving supervising 13 to 18 year olds is what is called the two adult rule. ( ratio: 1 adult for 10 older students) This recommendation is based on ‘More is Better’ but it is not possible to achieve this all of the time.
    2. Trips/Activities with a high level of risk attached, such as sporting activities, will require TWO teachers – curriculum permitting.
    3. The school will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that adequate supervision is available while being cognisant that appropriate arrangements should be made for the conduct of those teachers’ classes in their absence in accordance with Circular PPT 01/03.  Ramsgrange Community School will on all occasions take into account the effect that the absence of accompanying teachers will have on the normal work in the school and number of teachers absent should be kept to the minimum level required.
    4. Students with special needs must be accompanied by the appropriate Care Assistant or their parent/guardian.
    5. SNA/PLC students over 18 years and parents can supervise students once cleared by the Garda vetting process and they are trained in our Child Protection policies. Two PLC students are recommended always for tasks/activities commensurate with their age.
    6. When parents and PLC Students over 18 years of age are involved in our supervisory duties we will bring this to the notice of our BOM.
  1. An Accident/Incident Report Form must be completed for all accidents or incidents which have occurred. Examples of reportable incidents include: persistent lateness at the rendezvous point; not staying with the group; rudeness to teachers; and serious breach of school rules, particularly in relation to alleged or proven alcohol or substance abuse.

Professional Responsibilities of the Staff

Staff must exercise an appropriate duty of care to all students. Our Child Protection Guidelines are central to this approach.

Summary of Appropriate levels of supervision

Samples

Type of activity

Risk level

No. of Staff

Notice required

Sporting Activity High 2 Teachers  per team Minimum 1 week
Careers Low 1 Teacher per bus Minimum 2 weeks
European Trips/overnight Moderate 2 Teachers Minimum 4 weeks
Educational Trips

Concerts/Plays

Field Study

Tours (Ireland)

 

Low

Moderate

Low

 

1 teacher per bus

2 teachers per class

2 teachers per bus

 

Minimum 2 weeks

Minimum 4 weeks

Minimum 4 weeks

 

NB: It is impossible to create policy for all school related activities.  Once a tour/trip is organised the level of risk should be assessed by the Tour Director/Organiser and resources discussed with the Principal or Deputy Principal.

 Review and Evaluation of the Policy

The policy will be reviewed after three years and amendments will be proposed to the Board if necessary.

 


 

5

 

Expected Student Behaviour and possible sanctions.

Students Behaviour

  1. Students must obey the Code of Behaviour on school trips:
  • Pupils must adhere to the school rules at all times.
  • Respect for all staff members and other students at all times.
  • Obey staff members at all times.
  • Respect others at all times e.g. drivers, guides, cabin crew, fellow travellers, others students, host families, those sharing transport and those sharing accommodation.
  • Students must not wander off or break away from the party without permission.
  • The use or abuse of tobacco, alcohol, drugs or any other illegal substance is forbidden.
  • Pupils must adhere to the Tour dress code as set down by the Tour Leader.
  • Pupils will participate fully in the activities of the tour.
  • Pupils will behave appropriately during leisure time if pupils are not under the direct supervision of teachers.
  • Pupils must follow the rules of the hotel, hostel or other type of accommodation where they are staying.
  • Pupils are responsible for leaving seats on all forms of transport in a tidy condition.
  • Pupils are responsible for leaving their accommodation tidy.
  • Pupils must have respect for and comply with local customs and laws, particularly when travelling abroad.
  • Pupils are responsible for their own belongings including relevant documentation.
  1. When a student is accepted to participate in a school tour he/she is obliged to comply with the Tour Rules and to sign a copy of the rules pledging compliance.
  2. Students must be made aware that there are sanctions for misbehaviour on a school tour.

Sanctions for Misbehaviour

Minor Misbehaviour: Should a student be guilty of minor misbehaviour, the incident should be dealt with in a swift and firm manner and a verbal warning may be all that is needed. The Tour Leader may however feel that specific sanctions are required such as:

  • The student missing a half-day’s activities (not however an activity related to health and safety).
  • The student missing out on a specific activity e.g. bowling.
  • The student missing an evening activity e.g. disco.

If a sanction is being imposed it must be made clear to the student why it is being imposed. A student prevented from attending an activity must be supervised by a teaching member of the Tour Team for the duration of the activity. Further sanctions may be imposed when the student returns to school e.g. the student may be banned from involvement in future tours.

Serious Misbehaviour: Where a student is guilty of ‘serious misbehaviour’ the Tour Leader may decide to phone the student’s parents/guardians to provide them with details of the incident/s.

  1. In on-going and extreme cases of dangerous and/or gross misbehaviour a student may be sent home (paid for by their parents/guardian)

In the event of this happening, the parents/guardians will be informed and if necessary a teacher will travel home with the offending student. The Tour Leader will decide which teacher accompanies the student home.

  1. In the case of a serious/criminal incident (shop lifting, a violent attack etc.) the parents/guardians will be informed immediately and the matter will be handed over to the local police authorities.

Examples of ‘serious misbehaviour’ include:

  1. Use/possession of alcohol.
  2. Use/possession of illegal substances (drugs etc.)
  3. Use/possession of cigarettes.
  4. Misuse of legal substances (lighter fluid, tippex etc.)
  5. Disruptive behaviour on coach, plane, boat or in the hotel/hostel.
  6. Lack of respect for accommodation rules.
  7. Lack of respect for Tour Team or any other supervising adults.
  8. Theft or criminal damage to property of others.

The list is not exhaustive.

 


[1] Activity in this document refers to any trip/tour/outing/sporting event.

[2] Definition of staff – Any person who is employed by Ramsgrange Community School.

[3] From Department of Education and Science, Circular Letter M 20/04

[4] RSA Road Safety Guidelines for Sporting Organisations.

[5] See attached first aid guidelines where necessary.

**full policy and all appendices available from ramsgrange@eircom.net