School trips, visits and activities

Find out about the duties and responsibilities that schools have for running educational visits, including policies, consent and inclusion.

Outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities have a vital part to play in meeting the demands of a rich and compelling curriculum, and in achieving the goal of preparing young people for life beyond school.

Effective schools have always used educational visits, residential experiences and activity in the local area of the school and school grounds as an integral part of their whole-school approach.


Every school should have an educational visits policy which details how they operate locally under their employer’s policy. Please contact your child’s school for further details.


A school must always get written consent for nursery age children. For children over nursery age, written consent is not needed for most trips, as they’re part of the curriculum. However, it’s good practice to tell parents about them.

Written consent is usually only needed for trips that:

  • need a higher level of risk assessment
  • are outside normal school hours

Schools should still inform parents about these trips and give them the opportunity to withdraw their child.

Medical information

Schools will use medical information already provided to the school for most local, normal routine visits. Additional medical information will be requested for residential and visits containing adventurous activities. 

Charging and remissions

The Education Act 1996 sets out the law on charging for school activities in England. The Department for Education provides guidance to headteachers and governing bodies as to the requirements of a charging and remissions policy, voluntary contributions and what can or cannot be charged for.

Inclusion and special educational needs and disabilities

Activities should be available to all, irrespective of special educational or medical needs or protected characteristics. The Equality Act states that a school must not discriminate against a young person because of one or more of the protected characteristics. There is a duty to make reasonable adjustments. Schools must have due regard to equality considerations whenever significant decisions are being made or policies developed. Consideration must be given to the equality implications from the start of the planning process, not as an afterthought.

Related websites

Further information

You can contact our education development adviser for learning beyond the classroom for more information.

Contact us.