Learning Outside the Classroom Policy

Thurton Church of England Primary School

Learning Outside the Classroom Policy 2014

We believe that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances. At Thurton Church of England Primary School, learning happens everywhere, from our story telling corner to our environmental area, but also outside of the school environment. We believe that the children need to understand that the world around them is not always like Thurton. Our curriculum is linked so that all subjects such as history, geography, RE, Philosophy and DT lessons come alive for our learners. We nurture our children’s social and emotional development, both within our PSHCE lessons, and with our variety of extended learning educational visits. Children have many experiences beyond the school, such as going on residentials which are activity and culturally based, visits to the theatre, visiting local attractions and taking part in our strong links with our high schools.


The school has formally adopted, through its Governing Body, the Norfolk County Council ‘Guidance for Educational Visits & School Journeys’. Further school procedures have been agreed with the Governing Body to ensure that this policy is adhered to.


Where ever possible, the staff incorporate learning outside the classroom into their daily curriculum. Across all classes the staff are supported and encouraged to take learning beyond the four internal walls. The learning environment has been developed including undercover areas for each class. In foundation stage and Key stage 1, activities are set up in the large outdoor areas to allow children to develop, become independent and take risks. These areas reflect what is within the classroom, including topic work and learning activities. The children have free flow into this area at all times. As children progress through the school, including key stage 2, the activities become more planned to ensure progress of the children’s learning. The school has developed the external learning environment with the children to ensure space to explore including:

  • literacy skills with external reading areas,
  • amphitheatre for drama
  • problem solving areas such as the school maze,
  • den making area,
  • growing spaces,
  • wildlife
  • activities on the hard surfaces including 100 square and clock
  • large mound to use for science experimentation and inspiration for writing
  • outside music equipment and
  • a reflective space for the children to contemplate.


Learning outside the classroom activities are recorded during formal observations and during learning walks.



Aims and purposes of Educational Visits


The school has a strong commitment to the added value of learning beyond the statutory school day and beyond the school premises by the use of carefully planned Educational visits.

This is part of the schools required role to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes spiritual, moral, cultural, intellectual and physical development and prepares young people for the opportunities and experiences of adult life.


Each year the school will arrange a number of activities that take place off the school site and/or out of school hours, which support the aims of the school[1]. The range of activities is outlined in the school prospectus along with the criteria by which pupils are able to access them and the methods by which parents will be notified and asked for their consent.


The Governing Body has given its approval to the following types of activities being arranged in support of the educational aims of the school:


Out of hours clubs (music, drama, art, science, sport, homework etc)

School teams away fixtures

Regular nearby visits (village hall, Loddon Library, shops, woodlands, Thurton Church, farms)

Day visits for particular year groups

Residential visits

Adventure Activities


Develop a planned and progressive programme of visits.


Class teachers will arrange at least one class trip to enrich the curriculum each academic year. Children in Years 3, 4, 5 & 6 will have the opportunity to take part in a residential each academic year. This will be to different residential centres providing differing opportunities for outdoor and adventurous activities.


Approval Procedure


The Headteacher has nominated an Educational Visits Co-ordinator (EVC) and the Governing Body has approved this appointment. This person will have attended the Local Authority (LA) EVC training course (and updates) and will be given sufficient time and resources to carry out the role. The Governing Body has delegated the consideration and approval of educational visits and other offsite activities to the Headteacher and has nominated an Educational Visits Governor to liaise, as necessary, on behalf of the governing body.


The Headteacher will keep the Governing Body aware of its Educational Visits events & programme via the normal Headteacher to Governors reporting process.


The school will comply with the LA’s guidelines for Educational Visits and Journeys.


Before a visit is advertised to parents, the Headteacher and the EVC must approve the initial plan. They will also approve the completed plan and risk assessments for the visit at a later date and update the NCC EVOLVE system.


Where external contractors are involved in organising all or part of the visit, the contract will be made with the school on behalf of the pupils. The LA Providers Contract form will be used. All payments for the visit will be made through the school’s accounts.




For regular out of hours clubs, parental permission is sought termly through the return of a consent slip choosing the activities. For school teams and nearby visits requiring transport, parents will be asked to sign a letter of consent for participation in these activities. Parents will be given the information for the activities that pupils are involved in and will be informed either by letter, phone call or through their son/daughter (as appropriate) if an activity has to be cancelled.


For any visit lasting a day or more or involving significant travel, or adventurous activity, parents will be asked to sign a letter which consents to their son/daughter taking part. The school has a standard model letter which should be used for this purpose.


As part of the parents’ consent they will be fully informed of the activities and arrangements for the visit. For all residential visits, parents will be invited to a briefing meeting where they can ask for clarification of any aspect of the itinerary and organisation of the visit.


The school has separate policies for ‘Charging and Remissions’[2] and ‘Equal opportunities’[3], which apply to all educational visits.




The school recognises the key role of accompanying staff in ensuring the highest standards of learning, challenge and safety on a school visit and within the learning outside the classroom environment. At all times at least two members of staff are Forest school trained and have an understanding of how to use the outdoor learning environment to extend learning from within the class.


Teachers and other staff are encouraged and supported to develop their abilities in organising and managing pupils’ learning in a variety of environments through induction and training.


When employing staff, there is an expectation that the new staff will use both the internal and external environment as a learning space. This is discussed at interview and through references an ability to develop learning beyond the classroom is asked.


Where it is appropriate the school will ensure that DBS screening is completed for volunteer adults assisting with LOTC within school, on educational activities and visits.


The school does not normally support additional people accompanying educational visits who are not pupils at the school or part of the agreed staff complement. This may include family members accompanying visits if the governing body is not satisfied that there is an educational benefit for the pupils.


The appointed Group Leader (usually a lead teacher) will be fully supported in the tasks required to arrange the visit. This will include, as necessary, making time or finances available to conduct an exploratory visit, briefing teachers and other staff, accessing training courses, reviewing and evaluating the visit or identifying time when the group leader and EVC might work in partnership to undertake planning and risk assessments.


Remissions Policy


Where non-chargeable education is provided during a residential visit, then the parents of pupils who are in receipt of the following state benefits for either the whole or part of the time spent on a visit shall receive complete remission of any charges that would otherwise be payable in respect of board and lodgings:

Income support

Family credit

Income based job seekers allowance

Disability working allowance


Where charges are made by the governing body for optional extras, parents may apply for a remission for the whole or part of the charges set out in the school’s remissions policy.


The School may ask for Voluntary Contributions. Parents should be made aware that the contribution is not compulsory, and that the children of parents who do not contribute may not be discriminated against. It is permissible to ask parents to contribute more than the minimum amount to subsidise those pupils whose parents have not contributed. In the last resort, the visit may have to be cancelled if there are not enough voluntary contributions and the shortfall cannot be made up. [HASPEV 98]


The expectations of Pupils and Parents


The school has a clear code of conduct for school visits based on the school’s ‘Behaviour Policy’. This code of conduct will be part of the condition of booking by the parents, and include the potential of withdrawal of a pupil prior to and during the visit if such conduct would have led to a fixed term exclusion from school. Once the parent/carer has signed indicating that their child will be attending a learning outside the classroom activity, then any deposits and costs will need to be paid and the collection of children at the times indicated on any correspondence is to be followed.

Emergency Procedures


The school will appoint a member of the Senior Leadership Team as the emergency school contact for each visit. All major incidents should immediately be related to this person, especially those involving injury or that might attract media attention.


The Group Leader will leave full details of all pupils and accompanying adults on the visit with the emergency school contact, including the home contact details of parents/guardians and next-of-kin, as appropriate.


The group Leader will take with them a copy of the NCC Emergency Procedure.


All incidents and accidents occurring on a visit will be reported back through the school systems.


The school will have emergency funding available to support the Group Leader in an emergency.




The Group Leader with the EVC will evaluate all visits. A short evaluation report will be made available for the Governing Body on request.


Risk Assessment


Internal risks will be determined on a daily basis, if risk assessments need to be completed they are and are kept centrally in an internal risk assessment file. The school has developed a range of risk assessments which are thorough and regularly checked by the health and safety governor and county based advisor.


For all external LOTC opportunities, the staff visit the venue and undertake a thorough risk assessment to ensure the children’s safety. These will include photographs and maps if necessary, e.g. London residential a daily book, transport and health separate risk assessments will be completed with maps to show where the toilets, what side of the road they will walk and where to cross the road. These are kept in a central external risk assessment file in the office.


The EVC will ensure that any risk assessments on the trip are dated as having been evaluated and/or modified as a result.


The Group Leader (with administrative assistance) is responsible for presenting a financial account for the visit, which will be audited as part of the school’s procedures.


Signed _________________________                     _____________ (Date)


Chair of Governors

This Policy will be updated in 2018.

[1] See Thurton CE Primary School Aims and Values

[2] Thurton Charging and Remissions Policy 20014

[3] Thurton Equal Opportunities and Racial Equality Policy