Short trips, outings and excursions
Planning and preparation
· Outings have a purpose with specific learning and development outcomes.
· If staff are ‘borrowed’ from another area to maintain ratios on an outing they are fully briefed about the children they are accompanying.
· The excursion does not go ahead if concerns are raised about its viability at any point.
· Parents are informed of an outing and staff check that consent forms on children’s registration were signed.
· A minimum of two staff accompany children on outings. There is a ratio of 1:2 for babies in buggies, some disabled children, and children up to 3 years. Older children have a ratio of 1:4, depending on the risk assessment.
· Children are specifically allocated to each member of staff/volunteer; they are responsible for supervising their designated children for the duration of the excursion.
· Parents on outings are responsible for their own children only.
· Parents who have undergone vetting as volunteers may be included in the ratio.
· A mobile phone belonging to the setting, and small first aid kit is taken out.
· Staff make sure they have water, plastic cups, spare nappies/change of clothes and wet wipes for the children going out appropriate to the length of time they are out for.
· Sun cream is applied as needed and children are clothed appropriately
· Children wear badges or ‘high viz’ vests with the name and number of the setting.
· Staff have emergency contacts, medication and equipment needed for children.
· Risk assessment is completed prior to the outing and signed off by the setting manager and all staff taking part. Existing risk assessments are reviewed/amended as required.
· Children with specific needs have a separate risk assessment if necessary.
Outing venue (larger outings)
· Venues used regularly are ‘risk assessed’ and an initial pre-visit is made to look at the health and safety aspects. If pre-visits cannot be made, risk assessment is achieved by calling the venue and asking for their risk assessment.
· If coach hire is required for an outing, only reputable companies are used.
· The setting manager ensures that seat belts are provided on the coach and that booster seats and child safety seats are used as appropriate to the age of the children.
· The maximum seating capacity of the coach or minibus is not exceeded.
· Contracted drivers are not counted in ratios.
· Public transport should always be ratio of 1-2 (unless agreed with the setting manager).
Where transport is provided by the setting
· Records are kept including insurance details and a list of named drivers.
· Drivers using their own transport should have adequate insurance cover.
Forest School and Beach School sessions (not on site)
A separate risk assessment is conducted, and Forest/Beach School standard procedures are followed.
The sessions always have a level 3 trained forest school or beach school educator.
Farm and zoo visits
Staff are aware of the risks posed by infections such as E.coli being contracted from animals. They are also aware of toxic substances used on farms that could be hazardous to health. Staff are vigilant of the natural dangers presented by a farm or zoo visit and conduct a risk assessment prior to the visit.
§ The venue is contacted in advance of the visit to ensure no recent outbreaks of E.coli or other infections. If there has been an outbreak the visit will be reviewed and may be postponed.
§ Hands are washed and dried thoroughly after touching an animal.
§ Nothing is consumed whilst going round the farm. Food is eaten away from animals, after thoroughly washing hands.
§ Children are prevented from putting their faces against animals or hands in their own mouths.
§ If animal droppings are touched, hands are washed and dried immediately.
§ Shoes are cleaned and hands washed thoroughly as soon as possible on departure.
§ Staff or volunteers who are or may be pregnant, should avoid contact with pregnant ewes and may want to consult their own GP before the visit.
§ Farmers have a responsibility to ensure that hand washing and drying facilities are available and are suitably located, that picnic areas are separate and clean, and that all other health and safety laws are fully observed.
For further guidance, refer to the insurance provider.
Larger outings checklist
There is an identified lead person for the outing.
The outing has an educational purpose and has been agreed with the setting manager.
Risk assessments completed/updated and shared with every staff, student/volunteer accompanying the children.
Staff understand the potential risks when they are out with children and takes all reasonable measures to remove minimise risks.
Bouncy castles and similar attractions are not accessed by children on an excursion.
The designated lead educator is the last to leave the venue, or transport being used.
The designated lead conducts a ‘safety sweep’ before during and after the outing.
Daily Register and Outings Record (Alliance 2021)
Good Practice in Early Years Infection Control (Alliance 2009)
Introducing Forest School in the Early Years (Alliance 2022)
Not on my Watch! (Alliance 2018)
Preventing Accidents to Children on Farms (Health and Safety Executive 2013)