Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Effective Educational Visits


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 24 September 2003 - 06:05 AM

Effective Educational Visits

This seminar looks at ways in which educational visits can be made as effective as possible. In light of recent threads about running visits I hope this seminar can refocus on the positives that be gained from taking students to historic sites, and offer practical ways in which the onerous jobs of risk assessment etc. can be overcome.

A few starting comments then, these are by no means exhastive as I'd like other people to contribute their thoughts on the logistics of running a visit.

Why run Educational Visits?

In my own school its fair to say that most students have little, if any, experience of the world outside the locality. For me to bring things to life and put things into perspective I need to build in ways of making this experience real. In most cases this has to be done via photographs, video etc. but whenever I'm allowed and its practical the students are taken to the site and shown it. In many contexts this is the only way that they will have any real comprehension of how people lived in the past.

How should a visit be planned?

Planning is essential. For localised visits, which I am concentrating on in this initial post, I'd suggest a minimum of one preparatory visit. This should be used to identify tasks that students are to do on the visit and is vital in terms of identifying any potential risks involved in the visit. Different schools will have different procedures for the organisation of the visit. In my own experience I am required to do the following, which has worked well:

Produce a full costing of the transport and entrance fees. From this I have to calculate the minimum amount of 'voluntary contribution' that is needed to make the visit viable.

Complete a risk assessment and explain this to the designated member of Senior management.

Inform parents several months in advance of the visit wherever possible. This allows lots of time for chasing up money, remember that any cancellations within the month prior to a visit will normally incur a cost.

Remember to make sure that students meal arrangements are sorted out well in advance, tell the kitchen how many students will be out and ensure that they have had several opportunities to order a school meal for the day - especially when they are eligible for Free School Meals.

The day of the visit

Don't forget the sick bag! As a department it is good practice to develop a checklist of things that need to be taken on every visit. Typically this will include things such as First Aid Kits, Clip boards, spare pens, pencils etc. The nature of your visits will determine what else needs to be on the list: mine for example includes rubbish bags, a digital camera, a mobile phone per staff member, phone chargers 'just in case' and student evaluation forms.

Provide group lists to every member of staff and require tham to register students at frequent and stated intervals. This might seem childish for older students but I consider it vital as the visits are often in areas outside their normal experience and they are totally unfamiliar with the surroundings.

Health and Safety

There a re a number of very good online resources that relate to health and safety whilst on educational visits. All staff going on any visit must be aware of the relevant sections of:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/h_s_ev/

Other useful sources of information include:

http://www.teacherne...a1-288415dccdd3

http://www.norfolkes...asp?uniqid=1495

http://www.leeds.ac....x.htm?field.htm

CornWall County Council has uploaded one of its risk assessment training .ppt files which clearly illustrates the way in whch risks can be assessed and overcome prior to a visit. This file can be downloaded from:

http://www.eec-home....ce/Offsite1.ppt (Please bear in mind that your own LEA may have different regulations).


For risk assessments it is always worth asking the site if they have prepared one. many sites do this as a matter of course, particulalry those who are aimed at schools. (As Lesley Ann found out last week, this is certainly the case at Eden Camp). Local Authorities also sometimes have risk assessments completed for sites in the area, again it is worth asking as this will reduce the workload.

Other general points

Good visits are part and parcel of the teaching process. Work leads up to the visit and tasks following the field work are based on their experiences there.

The points above are far from exhaustive, please add your own comments for any of the areas I have initially noted.

Areas that I would like to see covered in this seminar include:

- How do you ensure that there is a good balance between enjoyment and hard work on visits?

- In what circumstances should a student NOT be taken on an educational visit?

- How should departments preapre for overseas visits?

#2 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 25 September 2003 - 04:33 PM

One of the most important aspects of planning an effective educational visit is picking an interesting site.

What sites do members recommend?

One that I'll happily recommend is: Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire. One of the best preserved Castles I've ever been to. I use it for my Local history coursework.

#3 Dave Wallbanks

Dave Wallbanks

    Super Member

  • Admin
  • 1,446 posts

Posted 25 September 2003 - 08:33 PM

Here in the north I go every year to look at a medieval castle, hadrians's Wall and Beamish Museum. These are high priority events aimed at raising the stakes for history in the school curriculum and they're NEVER just history visits as I'll be onvolving an entire year group and as many other departments on cross curricular activities as possible so that we get history used as an integral part of other subjects' work too! This year we're being artists and creative writers up on the Roman wall and then maybe using this work as part of the Write a Roman Story competition.
Visits are essential in developing historical knowledge and understanding but my concern is getting it all up and running and then ensuring they're successful and stress free events.
I'd love to run foreign visits and get bombarded regularly by loads of post from companies that organise these but I feel costs are prohibitive and can I justify taking small groups off timetable for such long periods of time? What's your experience?
Dave
There is a light and it never goes out.
Go pray in my church!
http://www.nufc.com

#4 Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew

    Stephen

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,071 posts

Posted 25 September 2003 - 10:54 PM

In Year 7 we carry out our Local Study in the unit of work we do on the Medieval Church. We take all of our Year 7s (170) to a local church in one day.

This is a major planning exercise in which we split the year group into four groups and use one coach for the whole day running backwards and forwards as a shuttle. Each of the four groups is out of school for around two hours, or which 1h20mins is at the church site.

We did it for the first time last year, and I can honestly say that it was one of the most valuable and successful days we have held. Many children in Harlow do not ever go anywhere except to shopping centres, airports or hotels with beaches if they are lucky. For them to go to a village that is just three miles from the town, but is in a bit of beautifal Essex countryside and visit a church that dates back over 1000 years was a wonderful site.

We did all the H&S stuff and briefed all required. We chose this church because it is down the end of a country lane with no traffic and the students could get on the coach in the school and off only 50 yards from the church in total safety.

We prepared a large booklet for them to complete with the help of a teacher leader as they went around the church, both inside and out. We always give much more work than can possibly be completed in the time available so that they cannot possibly have time to wander off due to lack of activity. They are told that the work in their booklet will be their evidence for their work back in class.

The students were buzzing for days afterwards and it definitely improved both our relationships with many of them, as well as their level of understanding of the medieval church, the local ares's history, and their study of the Tudors that they do to finish Year 7. The visual references they were able to make were supreme. We took along a set of strong teachers including the Head of Year 7 for the day, and this reflected our desire to avoid any possible problems with discipline.

Educational visits are a huge plus for all students as well as us as teachers. Of course there are legitimate concerns and fears, but if the right site is chosen with safety as much of a concern as the historical value of the site, then it can still be a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#5 Carole Faithorn

Carole Faithorn

    Carole

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,279 posts

Posted 25 September 2003 - 11:22 PM

.... and this is it in a nutshell, isn't it?

Thorough planning for a visit to a site that has direct relevance to the work the children are doing in the classroom. One where there is plenty for them to do and a good team of accompanying teachers.

Teachers' reluctance to take their pupils out of school is understandable especially in the light of the recent court case, but the value for youngsters with limited horizons is immeasurable.

#6 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 26 September 2003 - 06:14 AM

I'd love to run foreign visits and get bombarded regularly by loads of post from companies that organise these but I feel costs are prohibitive and can I justify taking small groups off timetable for such long periods of time? What's your experience?
Dave

I've always been suprised at how many of my students can afford to go on overseas visits. Given the social and economic deprivation in the locality its amazing for the school to be able to run 4 or 5 overseas visits every year. Basically the costs need to be spread for it to be manageable. Most companies expect payments in installments, one on booking, one after a month or so and a final payment just before you set off. If you provisionally book your visit a few terms in advance you've then got plenty of time to save up etc. For example, in the October half term holiday a visit (not the History Dept) is going to Paris. This was advertised in school from February with a deadline for a non refundable deposit being set for the middle of March. Further payments are scheduled on roughly a monthly basis. Most parents can afford it if its broken down like that.

All but one of my overseas visits have been in holidays. The staffing implications have been too problematic for us to be able to take students out of class for prolonged periods of time. I suppose this really comes down to the discrecion of the head / SMT. Convincing them that the cost out weighs the positives for the group of students going will be hard though, especially once the contractual changes relating to cover come into place - days out will become very expensive then.

#7 Guest_andy_walker_*

Guest_andy_walker_*
  • Guests

Posted 26 September 2003 - 08:56 AM

At DTC we have had long history of running successful foreign trips. Our latest venture is recorded in all its glory here
They are great fun and provide students with a really rich context in which to learn. Every year we have run a Berlin trip our GCSE results have been higher than other years, and perhaps more importantly the students have had a fantastic opportunity to mature and develop new social skills. Our history foreign trips are not holidays however and I have issues with those school trips which are. We also run local trips to Rochester and Eynsford and a yera 9 trip to the Somme Battlefields.

Unfortuntately because of the uncertain legal situation for teachers, the lack of support from school, and the considerable extra workload, I am coming to the view that last years visits may be our last :(

#8 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 26 September 2003 - 10:53 AM

Unfortuntately because of the uncertain legal situation for teachers, the lack of support from school, and the considerable extra workload, I am coming to the view that last years visits may be our last :(

Nationally it does appear that many educational visits are being culled for these very reasons. The amount of time involved in ensuring the safety of visits can appear to be totally disproportional to the actual risks involved. It would be nice to see the DfES establish a source of exemplar plans for visits to places such as Berlin, The Battlefields etc. so that the burden of planning for H&S is reduced for teachers. As far as I'm aware there is no centralised place where reviews of educational visits and sites can be found, nor is there a central depositry of risk assessments for popular sites. Should these be available for all, planning visits would not only be safer, but would be less cumbersome than is currently the case.

If visits do go the way of the do-do's, history teaching will have suffered a catastrophic blow.

#9 Guest_andy_walker_*

Guest_andy_walker_*
  • Guests

Posted 26 September 2003 - 09:44 PM

If visits do go the way of the do-do's, history teaching will have suffered a catastrophic blow.

I couldn't agree more!
However residential visits, even without the threat of prison should I make a mistake, cut into my holidays, exhaust me and increase my workload in terms of preparation, collecting money, dealing with travel firms etc.... not to mention the very business of trying to deal with teenagers let off the leash for the first time in a foreign country.

If I am going to continue to take on this workload I need the support and protection of school and governors

Edited by andy_walker, 27 September 2003 - 07:44 AM.


#10 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 27 September 2003 - 08:40 AM


If visits do go the way of the do-do's, history teaching will have suffered a catastrophic blow.

I couldn't agree more!
However residential visits, even without the threat of prison should I make a mistake, cut into my holidays, exhaust me and increase my workload in terms of preparation, collecting money, dealing with travel firms etc.... not to mention the very business of trying to deal with teenagers let off the leash for the first time in a foreign country.

If I am going to continue to take on this workload I need the support and protection of school and governors

There's not a lot we as individual teachers can do to stop visits cutting into holidays, that's very much up to the management of individual schools to deal with - the admin and workload involved in planning the visit can be reduced though. These aren't tried and tested methods, more a case of me thinking out loud:

Teachers do the sales pitch in lessons / assemblies.

Admin staff adapt a standard visits letter to suit the needs of the visit that your dept intends to run. These are reproduced and passed back to the dept - assuming you want to distribute them in lessons.

Students wanting to go on the visit return a deposit to a designated member of admin staff. They record the payment and issue a payment recording card along with a timetable of payment due dates.

Admin staff distribute forms such as passport forms, E111 etc with the payment booklet. These are returned to admin along with the next payment. Admin staff then do the paperwork and pass it the dept for a quick check, approval and the autographs of the group leaders.

Once a department has identified a site, agreed on preferred dates and the company that they want to use - is there actually any need for the teacher to do any of the admin? Booking it can be done by admin, letters can be done by admin, the forms can be done by admin. All the teachers NEED to do is sell the idea, manage the students on the visit and prepare the schedule of work etc.

Given the new cntract, perhaps it will become the case that these things will become part and parcel of admin responsibilities - though I doubt that this will happen overnight.

#11 Dave Wallbanks

Dave Wallbanks

    Super Member

  • Admin
  • 1,446 posts

Posted 27 September 2003 - 10:03 PM

Suggestions!
1) The teacher meets a rep and tells them everything they want. The rep goes away, does all the planning, meets teacher again, discusses and yea or nay. Then the rep comes back having put all paperwork into place, including risk assessments etc and has the job of selling the visit to pupils. This is run as a company visit and therefore liable to laws of company liability and insurance etc. This takes the emphasis away form the teacher and lets them plan their lives.
2) The teachers go on the visit as assistants to the company's agents running the trip, supervising discipline, but following the group and joining in, again making the emphasis upon good organisation of companies whereas at the minute they're organised by us who at best are good at organising but at worse are overrun with other things so we do sometimes forget the vegetarian packed lunch for the girl with a peanut allergy etc.
3) Teachers are indemnified against all eventualities and wherever possible a senior teacher accompanies the visit (mine go with a head of year minimum) to help out.
4) The government and dfee or is it dfes? Puts together a number of organising bodies for visits (e.g. English Heritage might take over all co-ordination for my visit to Hadrian's Wall in November) and actively promotes such visits, helping to pay for them and rewarding staff for their work.
I know some of these are running in places BUT think we need help if we're to keep these vital events going.
There is a light and it never goes out.
Go pray in my church!
http://www.nufc.com

#12 Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,547 posts

Posted 01 October 2003 - 01:31 PM

Risk assessments available online:

Black Country Living Museum

There is a risk assessment for The Science Museum available here though it is aimed at younger students.

Eden Camp - for some reason this link didn't work in IE, the page can be found by going to the Eden Camp homepage, selecting 'education' and scrolling to the foot of the page where you will find a link to the risk assessment.

Wycombe Museum

The Royal armouries have downloads that contain some information that can go into a risk assessment - and they do have contact details saying that they'd be wlling to help out if needed. Their guide to running a visit can be downloaded from this page.

Ok, not really a place that we're likely to take students to but I thought it worth includingLondon Zoo




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users