[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 18:06 GMT
Pupils 'entitled to school trips'
Team orienteering
School trips help to develop personal and social skills
All children in England should be entitled to high quality and safe school trips, the government says.

Schools Minister Andrew Adonis said children needed a wide range of educational experiences, including at least one residential trip.

He said teachers needed to be supported to organise safe school excursions.

The proposals follow publication of a Compensation Bill aimed at curbing unjustified negligence claims, which worry teachers organising trips.

The Bill would ensure that "the wider social value of activities are taken into account when courts consider negligence claims".

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, said on Thursday he wanted to end the compensation culture and the fear of being sued by claims companies "who take advantage of the public".

Confidence

Mr Adonis said the government was working closely with teaching unions so staff were treated fairly if a pupil was injured while on a school trip.

The proposals come in a new "manifesto for education outside the classroom", published for consultation on the Department for Education and Skills website.

The government will draw up a final version next spring.

School holiday trips

Its aims include encouraging schools to collaborate with each other and with organisations such as the National Trust to make the most of such visits.

School trips should also be available outside term time, it says.

The proposals say head teachers should recognise that professional development outside the classroom is an important contributor to strengthening teachers' overall practice.

And parents should be encouraged to support school's efforts to organise educational excursions.

Schools should consider art and drama in the outdoors, day visits to rivers, museums or places of worship and residential trips such as sports tours, foreign exchanges, or archaeological digs.

Mr Adonis said: "Education outside the classroom can help to enrich the curriculum and bring subjects to life.

"We know parents and teachers want to feel confident when pupils are taken from the classroom.

"We hope the manifesto will give schools that confidence to offer even more education outside the classroom."

Recognised standards of provision for educational visits would help schools choose, the proposals say.

'Extensive guidance'

A spokeswoman for the National Union of Teachers said that together with the Compensation Bill, the proposals would prove useful.

She said school trips provided an opportunity to develop personal, non-academic skills.

"But it is a little unclear how these proposals will be different from the extensive guidance teachers already have."

She said very specific recommendations would be helpful to teachers because small, local trips can be "beset with problems" for a teacher.

The National Trust said it welcomed the fact the government was recognising that children "cannot learn by computers and textbooks alone".

Its director of policy, Tony Burton, said: "Such visits have had an impact on many of our lives, be it shaping future careers, helping develop an interest in nature or culture, or improving awareness of the real world."

The other big classroom union, the NASUWT, advises its members not to take school trips. It was not available for comment on Friday.




SEE ALSO:
School apology as boy left behind
23 Jul 05 |  South East Wales


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific