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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Teachers trained for trip hazards
Teacher helping pupil with safety
Concerns over pupil safety have increased in recent years
Trainee teachers are to be taught about the dangers of school trips, in an effort to reduce the number of fatal accidents.

Cases such as those of teenagers Hannah Black and Rochelle Cauvet, who drowned while on a river walk in the Yorkshire Dales, have prompted calls for greater attention to the risks of outdoor activities.

The pilot scheme, run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), aims to make teachers aware of hazards that children may not be able to gauge for themselves.

About 400 student teachers at the University of Central England (UCE) in Birmingham will take part in the programme from September.

'Got to be safe'

At least one child has died on a school trip each year over the last decade and there have been 7,000 near misses in the last three years, according to the NASUWT teachers' union.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, welcomed the move, saying: "There's nothing wrong with taking out school trips but they've got to be safe."

Revised guidelines, including the need for each LEA to appoint an outdoor education adviser to monitor school visits, were published by the government last year following a spate of deaths.

Juliet Brown, Rospa's head of education, who will teach the course, said: "This came about after I contacted some of the establishments asked them what they did about risk management and nobody could tell. It's an inherent problem.

"It is important that teachers understand about risk in school as well.

"This may involve managing a child with diabetes, looking after children in the playground or taking pupils on educational visits."

Roger Woods, dean of the faculty of education at the UCE, said: "We want teachers to teach safety and teach safely.

"They have a legal duty to carry out risk assessments and so must be competent to do this.

"They can then pass that knowledge on to their pupils to make them safer throughout their lives."

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