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School Expeditions: Safety Procedures

Volume 477: debated on Tuesday 24 June 1986

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2.48 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the Land's End tragedy in 1985, advice is being given by the Department of Education and Science to schools to help improve safety procedures during school visits and expeditions.

My Lords, in March of this year the Department of Education and Science issued a bulletin (Safety in Education Bulletin No. 4) to local education authorities and to schools, containing general guidance to all involved with the organisation of outdoor pursuits and school expeditions. The bulletin supplemented previous departmental guidance on the subject and in particular drew on lessons arising from the Land's End tragedy.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that reply, and I congratulate his department on this extremely good bulletin. Will my noble friend please assure the House that expeditions and visits have not been restricted since this disaster last year? Will he also tell us whether all schools have received this bulletin?

My Lords, I am glad to say that I think that schools continue to produce a number of educational and outdoor expeditions. I understand that the numbers are not in fact falling off. Copies of the bulletin have been distributed widely through LEAs and other education bodies who are free to reprint the guidance to schools and colleges without copyright restriction. I cannot answer my noble friend as to whether every school in England and Wales has received a copy of it.

My Lords, does my noble kinsman agree that it would be most useful if the teachers and children in all schools had first aid classes, especially before undertaking expeditions?

My Lords, I think that that would be a good thing. In fact Her Majesty's inspectors and the department concentrate on getting the right advice out to schools to see that these awful accidents do not take place so that first aid is not necessary.