School trips policy

School Trips Policy

Name of Policy

Educational Visits Policy (Including EYFS)

Reviewed by

Jenny Cox and Sarah Brierley


August 2023

Date of next Review

August 2024

This policy applies to Junior School, Senior School and EYFS

Stepping in: we aim for every girl to feel known, supported, confident and able to shine at Wimbledon High.
Striding out: we aim for every girl to leave us prepared to shape the society in which she lives and works

The school believes that students’ education is enriched significantly by the opportunities trips and visits offer. We are environmentally aware of our carbon footprint and where an experience can be matched closer to home and/or where two  or more departments can join together to provide an opportunity these options are taken. Each party leader is asked to justify their trip and the venue they have chosen. In order to ensure that girls, parents and staff are fully informed about the arrangements for off-site activities, and to make every effort to ensure the safety of all personnel on such trips the following procedures are adopted. 

The school recognises the distinction between everyday, routine trips - such as theatre or museum outings - and more major trips which will require extra planning - such as World Challenge. The responsibility for overseeing the organisation of all trips and visits is delegated to the EVC in the Junior School and the EVC and Deputy EVC in the senior School. They are appropriately trained, keep records on Evolve of all off-site activities and to ensure that appropriate risk assessments and related tour operator forms are completed before a trip can take place.

All trips are organised following guidelines laid down in the Department for Education guidance on Health and Safety on Educational Visits, linked here, and GDST guidance. 

All party leaders use the online programme 'Evolve' and have access to administrative support. A link to Evolve can be found on firefly under quick links. The school ensures that the person managing the trip has support, status and competence for the role, understands the risks and is familiar with the activity. 

For residential trips, previous experience of leading a trip or supporting a trip is essential before taking the party leader role.

For all school visits there is a designated safeguarding officer on call and a member of SMT on call. Phone number 0208 971 0909.

Ratios for trips are as follows

Senior school Ratios

Day trip 1:20

TfL ratio is 1:10

Residential trip    1:10

A minimum of two staff is essential on any residential trip.

Junior School Ratios

Day & residential trips

Years 3 - 6     1:10  (for residential trips centre staff are in addition)

Year 1 - 2      1:8

Reception   1:6

Driving the school minibus

Only staff who have D1 and have passed the Midas test are permitted to drive the minibus.

Additional Trips and Visits Information

  1. All off-site activities require permission from the Head (Seniors) or the Head of Juniors (Juniors). In practice this is delegated to the Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) (Director of Co-curricular, Partnerships & Philanthropy (CPP)) in the senior school and the Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) in the Junior School.
  2. Every trip has a nominated Party Leader who takes responsibility for ensuring the trip is organised in line with this policy document. 
  3.  In liaison with the EVC, the party leader recruits and leads a team of Staff (and sometimes parents). Before, during and post trip, the party leader takes full responsibility for every aspect of the trip including communication with parents, ensuring payments are up to date and the completion of all GDST health and safety forms. There is administrative support to support this, however it is the party leader who leads this process. All Health and Safety and decision making in case of an emergency is the party leaders responsibility with emergency SMT support.  All staff on trip have WHS DBS and have completed HR vetting. All staff know who DSL is and how to contact them. Other adults/volunteers unless they have a WHS DBS are not left alone with any girl
  4. No-one is to take photos of the girls on a personnel phone, but rather use the school trip' phones which are deleted on the return of a school trip.
  5. Trips should be carefully planned with due regard to safety. Where trips are organised through a travel company which organises all the transport and accommodation, only recognised and reliable companies are used. Staff must ensure that the Trust’s Activity Providers & Tour Operators Declaration form is completed and the contract is cross check by GDST legal department and the EVC before any money is paid to the company. When the trip is organised 'in-house', careful guidelines are followed regarding modes of transport (e.g. only WHS recognised coach companies may be used) and chosen routes, especially where the pupils have to walk any distance.
  6. Consent for day trips is obtained annually. All residential and international day trips require the parents to complete the ‘Update Consent and Contact Form. Pupils may not travel on trips without the necessary Consent Form being completed.
  7. In order for SMT and school nurses to provide comprehensive support to staff with regard to student physical and mental well-being for residential trips, be mindful to cross check with the HoY (Senior School) and Form Teachers and or Assistant Head of Pastoral (Junior School) any causes for concern before payments are made. 
  8. Sixth Form trips to Central London are common. It is usual for the girls to make their way to and from the venue independently, meeting the staff at a stated time and location. In this case the letter to the parents must state these arrangements clearly and a response confirming permission is granted must be received. The girls are also provided with a mobile phone number (school phone number) of the party leader.
  9. Parents are always informed in writing of the arrangements for any trip their daughter is involved in (with the exception of regular Senior School PE fixtures – these can be found on the SOCS website and on firefly) and are always provided with an emergency school contact number for use whilst the trip is in progress.
  10. For overseas trips the Party Leader must always organise a parent launch meeting and a trip final sign off meeting with parents in addition to any paper communication. At this meeting, details about the trip are outlined and parents have the opportunity to ask questions. (See below for further advise on residential trips)
  11. The PE department informs parents of weekly after school fixtures via the SOCS website and via their daughters in the Senior School. Senior parents are informed separately of events which take the girls out of lessons via letter.
  12. Parents complete the Medical Information and Consent Form for all category A, low risk day trips. Residential trips (or day trips with any degree of risk involved) require trip-specific consent forms. These forms also include emergency contact numbers for parents (or parentally nominated alternates) during the trip. For the Junior School these forms can be found on TEAMS under Junior School Logistics/trips. Always consult the EVC if uncertain about the paperwork requirement.
  13. The Party Leader is responsible for checking the medical details, this can be reviewed on EVOLVE. All party leaders must organise a meeting with the nurses, HoY and Deputy Head Pastoral (Senior School) and nurses, form teachers /Assistant Head of Pastoral and Deputy Head/EVC (Junior School) at least four weeks before the departure of a residential trip.  Some girls require individual risk assessments which are produced by the nurses in conjunction with the parents, the Party Leader and the EVC.  A final sign off meeting with the EVC should be scheduled before departure.
  14. A qualified first aider should be on every trip and should take a first aid bag. 
  15. Staffing ratios are laid down by the school (see Risk Assessment document) and it is the Party Leader’s responsibility, in conjunction with the EVC, to ensure that these are adhered to.
  16. The Party leader always has an emergency contact phone number back at school for use if required during the trip. This will normally be the School receptionist during office hours; a Senior Member of staff takes over for out of school hours, for the Junior School this will usually be the Deputy Head who can be contacted by mobile and this is the contact number for the Senior Member of staff for the Senior School 0208 971 0909.  
  17. The Party Leader is responsible for preparing a risk assessment for the trip. This should be discussed with all staff travelling with the party and should be shared with any parents accompanying the trip on the day of the trip. Separate guidance and a pro-forma are available on EVOLVE and for the Junior School in TEAMS/Logistics/Trips. Training is provided for all staff.  
  18. Without a full DBS parents should are not left alone with a group of students.
  19. The Party Leader is responsible for ensuring high standards of pupil behaviour. Pupils are briefed before a trip and on frequent occasions during a trip. Senior school pupils and their parents sign a code of conduct.
  20. The GDST takes out comprehensive travel insurance which covers all the girls and staff on the majority of trips. 
  21. GDST Insurance does not cover Covid cancellations, therefore scrutiny of the terms and conditions by the party leader from a tour operator is essential.
  22. Where adventurous activities are concerned (e.g. World Challenge) there may be additional insurance policies taken out to cover the trip. Pre-existing conditions including both physical illnesses/conditions and mental conditions including: Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Any phobias and any mental or nervous disorder including anorexia are not automatically covered by GDST insurance. If you are aware that a pupil has a pre-existing condition, it is important that the issue is raise with the insurance company, via Natasha Williams at Trust Office, as far in advance as possible. It may be necessary for the parents to get a letter from the pupil’s GP/consultant/medical specialist confirming it is safe for them to go on the trip and take part in all the activities, or it may be necessary for the parents to take out their own insurance
  23. Packed lunches - there is an 'opt in' system for student and staff packed lunches, that is written into the day trip letter template. This is to reduce wastage.
  24. Certain school trips, in particular team-building and or activity residentials, will have an automatic phone ban which we would ask parents to respect unless there are extenuating safeguarding circumstances that have been arranged with the Pastoral Leadership Team.
  25. During residential trips we ask parents to not communicate with their daughters via mobile devices. In case of emergency, parents should follow the trip procedures and contact the Trip Leader via Senior Management at school. We ask parents to reinforce to their children to speak to the Trip Leader in the first instance, as they act as in loco parentis, if they have any concerns during the duration of the trip.

Exchange Visits

Exchange visits are a valuable addition to the trips and visits programme as they give an immersive and unique experience to students. WHS wholeheartedly supports these experiences. Staff should follow regular trips and visits policies and procedures for the international leg of the programme, including completing the compliance forms found in Evolve, to show due diligence where countries do not follow DBS equivalent checks.

For the UK leg of the visit, DBS checks and GDST safeguarding forms are mandatory for all members of the hosting household over the age of 16 . The party leader should liaise with the trips and visits administrator to have these completed at least 3 weeks before the visiting party arrives.

A 'sign off' meeting should be arranged with the EVC or deputy EVC at least three weeks before the arrival of guests, to cross check that all safeguarding paperwork is correct.


The following guidelines and advice are useful tips to follow when organising a residential trip.

For further details please refer to the GDST ‘Hub’. 

Parents Meeting

All staff supporting a school trip will be expected to attend all parent meetings and staff briefing meetings. For residential trips this is an essential part of the organisation as parents feel reassured they can talk to the staff looking after their daughters whilst they’re away. This will also provide invaluable support for the party leader and give important information regarding the itinerary.

Pastoral responsibilities

All members of staff on a residential trip have a duty of care to look after the students in ‘loco parentis’. This includes travel to and from venues where the students should be supervised by all travelling members of staff.

The party leader should split the students into sub-groups and assign a member of staff to each group. This gives the girls a first point of contact and is useful for spreading out the tasks such as collection of passports, staff acting as a ‘bank’, head counts etc etc.

Staff should familiarise themselves with the students in their group before departure and should be prepared to step in to support other groups when necessary.

Contingency Funds

Even with the best planning, residential trips do present unexpected costs from time to time. It is therefore acceptable to add a 10% surplus to the cost quoted by the tour company to the students balance. Any surplus left at the end of the trip should be returned to the parents. 

Permitted Expenses

The GDST will reimburse employees for reasonable expenses wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in connection with its business. These include events, external meetings, school visits and training. For every purchase an itemised receipt should be collected and returned to finance at the end of the trip.  

Meals and Refreshments

Under normal circumstances, accommodation, breakfast, lunch and evening meal should be paid for out of the contingency fund by the party leader if they are not part and parcel of the trip package. 

Meals and refreshments will be reimbursed on actual cost up to the maximum limits given in Appendix A. It is acknowledged that costs vary in different countries and cities therefore on the unusual occasion where £25 is an unrealistic value, a common sense approach should be taken by the party leader to ensure reasonable sustenance is provided and within the trip contingency budget.

The cost of an alcoholic beverage (e.g. a glass of wine) is permitted within these limits. Tipping for food will only be reimbursed where it can be evidenced (e.g. where a service charge has been added to a bill). In countries where tipping is customary for services such as to a coach driver or ski instructor, these should be logged in the finance record book and countersigned by a second member of staff on the trip. 

No claim can be made for lunch, except in the following circumstances:

  • Staff working over four hours at weekends, for example PE staff at sporting events;
  • Staff on school trips away from the school for over six hours.
  • Staff on residential trips where lunch is not provided by the accommodation or activity. 


Incidentals such as teas, coffees, newspapers and snacks are not reimbursable unless the employee is on a journey of significant length (e.g. in excess of two hours above the employee’s usual journey time into work).

Subsistence Limits (all prices include VAT)

Greater London


Accommodation (including breakfast)*



Accommodation (room only)*



Overnight stay – breakfast, if not included in the cost of room



Breakfast – pre 6am start of journey



Overnight stay – dinner



School trips – more than 6 hours (per day)



Weekend working – more than 4 hours



Staff & Alcohol

Trip leaders should discuss alcohol with EVC’s before the trip to establish what consumption is permitted, and what can be claimed back through expenses paid by trip funds. 

Some countries and certain organisations also prohibit the possession and consumption of alcohol, whether by minors or adults.

It should be noted that it is a potential disciplinary offence for a teacher to be at work (as they are when accompanying a school trip) when affected by drink (even if not ‘drunk’ in the everyday sense of the word) or indeed by other substances which may affect their judgement and behaviour (other than those medically prescribed and of which the school is aware) as being in such a state potentially puts pupils and colleagues at risk and may also undermine discipline and good order and perhaps bring the school into disrepute.

Staff who choose to drink alcohol whilst on school trips should remember;

  • The core responsibility of staff, who are in loco parentis, must take priority over all other considerations.
  • Staff must be able to respond in any emergency or unforeseen circumstances, for example during the evening, or where more than one teacher is needed.
  • The example which pupils take from the behaviour of staff
  • The nature and age range of the pupils and the context of the trip
  • Any particular factors, such as the presence of guests, younger children, etc
  • The possible effect on the school or the GDST’s reputation, including how this may be perceived by others.                                                                                                          
  • In practical terms, where there are several members of staff accompanying a trip, it might be acceptable for staff to have a small glass of wine at dinner, providing another member of staff acts as the ‘designated driver’, and remains ‘tee-total’, but who this will be depends on factors such as who has first aid qualifications, who can drive the available vehicles, etc.

  • Students & Alcohol
  • All pupils of Wimbledon High School are expected to abide by the law of the land at all times. They should also be aware that whilst either on a school trip, they are representatives of the school and thus should behave as ambassadors. We expect them to uphold the reputation of the school at all times. Any pupil in possession of an illegal substance will face exclusion. (See behaviour policy)

Telephone calls and Data Roaming

Staff who need to make or receive frequent business calls when out of the office or outside normal working hours will be provided with a school mobile telephone. This should be used for business calls, such as calls to an airline to trace a lost bag or calls to the emergency backup for advice/support and occasional short personal calls (e.g. calling home when staying away overnight) only. Students should not have access to staff personal numbers and parents should not have access to the trip mobile number. In case of an emergency parents should contact the emergency back up number 0208 971 0909 for the Senior School and the Deputy Head's mobile for the Junior School.

Data roaming can be expensive therefore phones on school trips abroad, where data roaming is not included in the school contract should switch data roaming off. This should only be switched on when the use of the internet is necessary and a WiFi network is not available  


Under normal circumstances, all staff will travel with the party to the airport or train station ready for the onward journey. However, where this travel is impractical due to medical conditions, disability, injury and/or carriage of equipment/luggage, time of the day/night, a taxis maybe used if the trip contingency can cover this cost. 


The same level of professionalism should be adopted on a residential trip as in day to day school life. Punctuality is essential for the smooth running of a trip from both students and staff.

Roles and responsibilities for staff should be clearly defined before the day of departure via a staff briefing which should be carried out in a meeting led by the party leader.

All staff on the trip should have an input into the risk assessment after the initial draft has been drawn up by the party leader and then sign the document.

JAC & SB August 2023