We are starting a new group at school, the group will be going to our allotment on a regular basis. I had been and looked at the allotment as a pre-visit, I had looked carefully at the surroundings so that I could complete a risk assessment. I had thought about writing a letter and sending it to parents to get their permission, I had considered that as we are planning to have a drink and a biscuit whilst we are there that the letter should contain allergy advice. The letters have gone out in plenty of time. I have remembered to book the minibus.
Pride comes before a fall!
Sunday morning seemed like as good a time as any to knock up the risk assessment. I then remembered that we had a new pack for off site visits. I also remembered that it is on my desk whilst I am at home, that’s ok, by the powers of electronic communication our offsite visit co-ordinator emailed me a new pack.
I unzipped it.
Form 1 – proposed visit, this must be done and approved by the coordinator and the head teacher before you do anything else – oops, letters have gone out; I know I have the head’s approval.
Form 2 – Detailed check list – well most of that’s common sense and all ok
Form 3 – Parent information and medical list – I thought I’d covered this in my letter but I can print these out and send them home too.
Form 4 – External providers form for all providers who do not hold a learning out of the classroom certificate – um…. not quite sure about this, perhaps the National Trust’s allotment volunteer can fill it in for me, perhaps he has a LOtC certificate…… will need more investigation.
Form 5 – LA notification and assessment for residential visits – that’s ok, I can miss this one out.
Form 6 – Event specific risk assessment – fine, I was expecting to do this one this morning.
Form 6a – Generic risk assessment 1 – I open it it’s for coach travel, perhaps I can adapt this for the school minibus?
Form 6b – Generic risk assessment 2 – I open it, it’s for minibus travel, ok scrap form 6a, this saves me adding the travel onto form 6.
Form 7a – Group leader’s evaluation – we’re going every week, will I have to do it every week or will I get away with just occasionally?
Form 7b – Pupil’s evaluation – there’s no hope of getting them to evaluate every week, we’re doing a diary whilst we’re at the allotment, could that do instead or do I use the evaluation sheet as the diary?
Accident and incident investigation form – fingers crossed I don’t need to fill this in, well if I’ve got all the other forms right we shouldn’t have any problems but filling in form 6 about not stabbing your foot with a fork doesn’t guarantee that it won’t happen.
Off-site list – official list of who has gone, phone numbers etc, to be left in the office. It’s quite a nice official piece of paper compared to the plain A4 that I normally hand in.
I appreciate that the forms come from the LA and that they do cover everything from a visit to the local church to a full residential including hazardous activities but it still seems like a lot of forms.
I know that we all want our children to be safe at all times, I know that learning outside of the classroom is far more exciting than being in the classroom, I can understand pre-visits and risk assessments to minimise the risks but it’s a lot of paperwork.
I will investigate whether the allotment has an LOtC certificate. I will put all of the learning objectives onto form 1. I can get all of the parents to fill in an extra medical form. I will fill in evaluation forms and get the children too at the end of term. I will definitely fill in form 6 and adapt form 6b as our risk assessments but it does feel as if what seemed at the time to be a good idea has left me drowning in paperwork!