The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is encouraging teachers to embrace outdoor activities after discovering that more accidents take place in schools than on trips.
Injuries from leisure activities show that children are far more likely to get hurt playing football or rugby at school than going on a school hiking trip, for instance.
The findings are revealed in a new RoSPA guide: Planning and Leading Visits and Adventurous Activities - Guidance for Schools and Colleges.
Statistics also show that accidental deaths are very rare on school trips - with one child dying each year, on average, in the UK. These figures are set against the 7-10million days of activity that the government estimates take place outside UK classrooms annually.
The guide, which is targeted at head teachers, school staff, governors, trustees, parents and other interested groups, aims to put safety concerns into perspective and to offer no nonsense, practical advice to those who work with five to 18 year olds and who intend to oversee activities outside the school - whether they are sporting activities, cultural activities, field trips, or outdoor adventures.
The publication includes sections on: the legal context; school policies; planning; utdoor and adventurous activities, and trips abroad.
David Rushton, RoSPA's head of education and leisure, said: “We believe that children and young people benefit so much from visiting new places and being challenged to try out new and exciting activities. It helps them to learn about safety and risk through experience.
“Yet there is a perception among some people that the risks and 'red tape' outweigh the benefits. This is simply not the case.
“The focus for schools and colleges should be on how real risks are to be managed – and not on trivial, hypothetical risks, or on burdensome paperwork.”
HSE Chair Judith Hackett has previously attacked bureaucrats for misusing Health and Safety to stop perfectly reasonable activities from taking place.
For free advice, call RoSPA's schools and colleges helpline on 0121 248 2235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
RoSPA provides a wide range of training for schools and colleges. These include courses on: carrying out risk assessments, driving minibuses and running school trips.
For further information, visit www.rospa.com/schoolandcollegesafety/.
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