Head of Establishment

The information in this section is relevant to those who are responsible to a Head of Service and who have immediate management responsibility for groups or individuals who are participating in off-site activities, e.g. Head teachers, Principal Officers, Manager of Centres, and Managers of Residential centres.

1.1 Introduction

Giving more children and young people access to outdoor learning and play opportunities provides invaluable life experiences which could not be achieved without ‘going out there’ more regularly and more frequently.

1.2 Incidents and Accidents

Accidents and mistakes may happen on visits – but fear of prosecution has been blown out of proportion leading to a fear of taking children and young people off site and outdoors.

1.3 Adopting this Framework

The framework has been developed to enable its widest possible adoption, integrating support for employers with planning and provision at local authority level and with management, delivery and practice at establishment level.

1.4 Supporting Materials

The framework is supported by tools, resources and accompanying examples of good practice for the planning and evaluation of different levels of outdoor experience and off-site visits, which are straightforward and user-friendly to apply.

2.1 Introduction

The ability and competence of front line staff to plan and manage a dynamic situation in a safe and appropriate way is the key contributor to safe and successful practice in the different levels of outdoor experience and off-site visits.

2.2 Employers Supporting Heads of Establishments

Employers have a clear duty to provide appropriate information, instruction and training to all their employees. Employers will monitor the effectiveness of their management and delivery of outdoor experiences and off-site visits.

2.3 Helping Heads of Establishment to Support Visit Leaders

The employer’s arrangements for planning, approval, monitoring, training and audit should support Heads of Establishment in assisting staff to lead outdoor experiences and off-site visits with increasing confidence and competence.

2.4 Identifying and Deploying Staff

The Head of Establishment, who approves each visit, should match the demands of the different levels of off-site visit to the competencies and experience of individual staff who may be interested in participating in off-site visits.

2.5 Support and Development for Visit Leaders

The employer’s arrangements for planning, approval, monitoring, training and audit should provide Visit Leaders with ready access to their employer’s policies and guidance. This includes direct access to technical advice on visits and additional field monitoring assistance by a senior member of the establishment in some cases.

2.7 Approval for Visits

Whilst the employer has health and safety responsibilities it would be normal practice to delegate approval of routine and simple day visits to the Head of Establishment.

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The content of this guidance is in line with advice from the Health and Safety Executive and has been developed in partnership with Education Scotland.