School Tour Policy - Scoil Mhuire

Ballyroan Road
Co Laois
057 87 31051
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Scoil Mhuire Abbeyleix
School Tour/Excursions Policy
This policy was drawn up by the staff of Scoil Mhuire and circulated to the Board of Management & the Parents Association for observations and feedback.  Taking into account the age and interests of the children and the curriculum being covered, school tours will be arranged by the school to present the children with a new environment in which they can observe, investigate and relate their findings to their own environment.  Tours will be arranged at the discretion of the class teacher.
The need for this policy arises due to children being exposed to a wide variety of different experiences while on school outings and the necessity to have a framework for good practice in place to cover all eventualities.
·         To ensure all practical possibilities are covered in reducing the exposure of children to risk on outings.
·         To provide an enjoyable educational experience for all children.
Policy Content
It has been the policy of the school over the years to organise both single class tours & tours with a similar age grouping for example, 1st & 2nd.
The tours are structured in such a way as to provide an educational aspect in addition to an entertainment & recreational value.
Class teachers must submit their request for approval to the Principal, by completing the Tour Proposal Form. (See Appendix 1) Included in the proposal, should be the educational or other benefits that the students will derive from the tour.  The request must be received two weeks before the tour date.  The tour shall not be deemed to have been authorised for advertising until the principal has formally approved the tour by signing the proposal form.
The class teacher is responsible for his/her class.  However, it is school policy to have a ratio of a minimum of one adult to 15 pupils. This becomes possible as Special Educational Needs teachers will travel with a mainstream class.   This ratio may vary depending on the age and needs within a class.  There will always be a minimum of 3 adults on each tour in the event that 1 adult should have to accompany an injured child to hospital in an ambulance.
It will be our policy to include all children in school tours.  Decisions on any exclusions will be by the Principal in consultation with the class teacher.  Children from Naomh Bríd and those in the mainstream with SEN will require SNA access, provisions for these children will be discussed with the parents beforehand if necessary.
The class teacher/organiser of the tour will ensure that:
·         Tenders are sought for all tours
·         A form of transport, appropriate to the distance and the numbers travelling will be chosen.
·         The bus company/suppliers and drivers accept the following conditions.
Conditions of hiring
·         All transport supplied will be suitable & well-maintained.
·         Each child should have their own seat with a working safety belt.
·         Teachers have the right to refuse any bus they find unsuitable for their outing.  If the bus proves unsuitable a              replacement will be supplied or the money refunded.
·         The driver will be used to dealing with children and have a thorough knowledge of and follow the itinerary and              timetable for the tour.
·         The driver is responsible for the safety of the children while they are travelling, but teachers have the right to              intervene if it is felt that the safety of the children is compromised.
·         The group will have access to the bus for the full day.
·         If the weather conditions are unfavourable the group will have the use of the bus for sheltering.
·         Consumption of food on the bus is not allowed.
·         Buses will be left as they were found.
Tour bag
Leaders will take a tour bag on all outings.  If there is more than one bus travelling, a tour bag will be required for each bus.  Class teachers will ensure a checklist (see appendix 2) is completed prior to the school tour.  Each tour bag will contain:
·         Fully stocked first aid kit with surgical gloves.
·         Medicines & care plans for any individual children with chronic health conditions, allergies, medical conditions,              inhaler, anapen, epilepsy medication etc.. (in line with our policy on the administration of medicine)
·         Refuse and illness bags, newspaper, kitchen roll, surgical gloves & wipes.
·         An umbrella
In addition to the tour bag, each class teacher should ensure that they have a mobile phone & a copy of the parents contact numbers.  All staff on tour should have contact numbers for each other & the school number stored in their phones.
Cost & spending money
The teachers will ensure that the cost of the tour is reasonable and represents value for money.  All children will be actively encouraged to save towards the cost of the tour.  If the class teacher is aware of any financial difficulties with a particular family, this should be brought to the attention of the Principal.
Children are only permitted to bring spending money if it is stated in their permission letter to parents.  If spending money is allowed, a maximum amount will be stated in the ‘tour permission letter.’  Under no circumstances will the class teacher and/or school take responsibility for any monies lost or stolen on tours.
Not more than two year groupings will travel together, unless venue and transport arrangements warrant otherwise.  Where more than one class travels, one teacher will accept the role of ‘leader’.  The teachers will be ‘au fait’ with the venue, with particular reference to educational opportunities afforded and services available (phone, toilets, emergency facilities)
Weather Conditions
Rain and head gear will be essential for all children.  A change of clothes may be necessary, depending on the venue.
Tours list
A list of suitable tours for all classes will be available.  Class teachers may choose a venue suitable for their own level or lower but not from levels above.  Teachers will ensure that venues are suitable for pupils with special needs.  If there are any queries of accessibility for individual children, the principal should be consulted.  (See appendix 3)
6th Class Tour
As this is the children’s final year in Scoil Mhuire it is acceptable that the 6th Class tour is a larger tour.  The children will be encouraged to use money from their Confirmation money to cover the cost of the tour.  This can be a one or two day trip but will not include an overnight stay.
Children can wear a tracksuit bottoms or shorts of their choice on the tour but must wear their Scoil Mhuire crested tracksuit top for ease of identification.  Children will not wear name badges as per child protection guidelines.
Informing Parents
Teachers will ensure that parents are given sufficient notice of the school tour.  The letter to parents should contain the following information:
·         Itinery and timetable
·         Deadline for accepting and payment of deposit
·         Cost
·         Information re: instalments over a period of time if any
·         Special clothing necessary and packed lunch
·         Permission slip to be signed by parent/guardian and returned to class teacher.  Verbal permission is not              sufficient, if a child has been absent, the school will make every effort to contact parents/guardians to ask them to sign permission slip.
·         School website address where a copy of the school tour policy can be read.
·         A line that states the organiser reserves the right to make minor changes to the itinerary.
·         A receipt can be given to parents for monies received on request.
Safety and Supervision
Teachers will be extra vigilant when taking children out of the school.  Special attention will be paid to:
·         Road safety
·         Behaviour on the bus
·         Risks posed by particular venues (eg, adventure playgrounds)
·         Any children deemed as flight risks
·         The minimum supervision ratio of 15:1 adult.
·         Roll call prior to leaving, after each segment of tour & when children return to the bus.
·         A record must be kept of all incidents
·         The principal must be informed of any such incidents upon return to school.
In the case of an accident, a teacher will accompany the injured child to hospital while the remaining teachers & SNAs shall remain with rest of the children.  All procedures under our Health & Safety and Critical Incident policies will be adhered to.  The following steps should be followed:
1.      Seek medical attention, call an ambulance if needed.
2.      Contact the injured child’s parents.
3.      Phone the school & report to the principal.
4.      Teacher should accompany the child in the ambulance to the hospital.
School rules for tours/excursions
Scoil Mhuire’s Code of Behaviour applies to all school related activities including school tours.
·         Children must obey their teachers/supervisors at all times.
·         Children must remain seated with buckled seatbelt while the bus is in motion.
·         Children are not allowed to eat or drink on the bus.
·         Children are not allowed to bring electronic devices with them.
·         Children should not bring money with them unless told otherwise by the class teacher.
·         Children must remain with their allocated groups and supervisors at all times.
·         Children will line up in their individual groups on disembarking from the bus.
·         Children will not attend a bathroom alone.
·         Chewing gum is discouraged on school tours.
Success Criteria
·         Positive experiences for all
·         Children having a safe enjoyable learning experience
·         Teacher & parent satisfaction
This policy was implemented after ratification on 24th March 2019
This policy will be monitored & reviewed on 24th March 2020
Tel: 057 87 31051
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