October 3, 2008

‘Hassle’ Stops Teachers Organising Outings

SOME schools are still put off taking pupils on trips because of health and safety and workload concerns, an Ofsted report has found.

The report into the benefits of learning outside the classroom found that school trips increased pupils' achievement, enjoyment and involvement in a subject.

But while many are overcoming barriers such as health and safety, financial or workload issues, others say they are discouraged by them.

It also said that primary schools are increasingly relying on outside commercial organisations to arrange residential school trips because of concerns about health and safety and the high workload for staff, especially in small schools.

The report was compiled using information from visits to 27 schools whose curriculum provision had been classed as outstanding or improving, from 13 specialist organisations and discussions with five local authorities.

On the issue of workload, the report found that some teachers are put off by the "hassle" of organising trips.

Today's report comes as ministers announced new plans to cut red tape surrounding school trips.

Schools secretary Ed Balls launched the pounds 4.5m Out And About package aimed at giving schools clearer information to organise activities for pupils.

Ofsted Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert said: "The positive impact of learning outside the classroom is widely recognised, but unfortunately it is sometimes seen as an extra or a treat, rather than as an integral part of the curriculum.

"Many schools will find the examples highlighted in the report extremely useful."

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