2. Effective Practice in Managing Outdoor Learning Safely

2.1 Introduction

The ability and competence of front line staff to plan and manage a dynamic situation in a safe and appropriate way is the key contributor to safe and successful practice in the different levels of outdoor experience and off-site visits.

2.2 Employers Supporting Heads of Establishments

Employers have a clear duty to provide appropriate information, instruction and training to all their employees. Employers will monitor the effectiveness of their management and delivery of outdoor experiences and off-site visits.

2.3 Helping Heads of Establishment to Support Visit Leaders

The employer’s arrangements for planning, approval, monitoring, training and audit should support Heads of Establishment in assisting staff to lead outdoor experiences and off-site visits with increasing confidence and competence.

2.4 Identifying and Deploying Staff

The Head of Establishment, who approves each visit, should match the demands of the different levels of off-site visit to the competencies and experience of individual staff who may be interested in participating in off-site visits.

2.5 Support and Development for Visit Leaders

The employer’s arrangements for planning, approval, monitoring, training and audit should provide Visit Leaders with ready access to their employer’s policies and guidance. This includes direct access to technical advice on visits and additional field monitoring assistance by a senior member of the establishment in some cases.

2.6 Access to Technical Advice

Employers must have access to technical advice on visit and activity safety matters. The adviser needs to have diverse experience of the range of outdoor activity and visit provision. They should be of sufficient authority to ensure that they can develop and take forward strategy, advice and guidance across all sectors and services.

2.7 Approval for Visits

Whilst the employer has health and safety responsibilities it would be normal practice to delegate approval of routine and simple day visits to the Head of Establishment.

2.8 Planning for Emergencies

Employers must prepare and communicate emergency procedures for all off-site visits. Emergency procedures are an essential part of planning a visit.


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The content of this guidance is in line with advice from the Health and Safety Executive and has been developed in partnership with Education Scotland.