School trips, educational visits and activities

School trips or educational visits can include visits to museums, field study outings and even longer stays abroad.

Each school should have its own written policy relating to charges for educational activities. Schools must provide, free of charge, any activities which take place out of school hours but relate to the national curriculum or form part of a public exam syllabus. Schools may ask parents for voluntary contributions towards the cost of an activity that takes place during school hours. However, the contribution must be genuinely voluntary and pupils of those parents who do not contribute must not be discriminated against.

Some visits may include potentially hazardous activities, such as water sports or rock climbing, but, whatever the nature of the visit, they are all carried out with the highest regard for health and safety. All schools also have a designated educational visits co-ordinator who has received training in planning educational trips.

All schools and children and young people's service establishments are required to have a written policy for off-site visits and activities and we have issued a code of practice and safety guidelines to ensure that visits are safe and provide a valuable experience.

Medical conditions

If your child has a medical condition or other special need, you will be asked to complete a consent form giving your permission for emergency medical treatment and giving details of any regular medication your child is required to take. You should contact your school for further information.

How we will contact you in the event of an emergency

The school or youth group and the group leader for the visit will hold names, addresses and contact numbers for everyone on the visit so they will be able to contact you quickly if necessary. In addition, headteachers and group leaders can contact the local education authority via a 24-hour emergency number if they need urgent assistance.

Information provided prior to your child's educational visit

As a minimum you should receive written information on the following:

  • the nature of the visit and destination;
  • the aim and purpose of the visit;
  • dates, times and venue for departure and return;
  • method of travel;
  • the size of the group and the names of accompanying adults;
  • the itinerary of the visit, including details of "free" time;
  • the cost of the visit;
  • details of the activities in which pupils will be expected or be able to participate;
  • guidance concerning appropriate clothing and footwear;
  • guidance concerning the rules and procedures to be followed by pupils;
  • details of insurance cover;
  • consent forms in relation to the visit/activity;
  • in the case of a residential visit, an address and telephone number for you to contact in an emergency; and
  • the name of a contact person at school who will be in touch with the group.

In addition, residential visits and trips abroad will often require more detailed information to parents and this should be followed up with a parents' meeting to discuss details with the visit leader.

Assistance with residential visits

 You can apply for financial assistance for residential visits here (pdf / 275 KB).

Further information

You can contact our education development adviser for learning beyond the classroom by emailing or by calling 01609 798864.

Related websites

Guidance on health and safety of pupils on educational visits