Please note: the ATL website is no longer being updated and will be taken down soon.

Visit the new NEU website

Health and safety
02 November 2016
It is vital to give adequate thought to the level of supervision and who will be undertaking supervision during the planning of a site visit.

Arranging supervisors

When planning a trip, think about the appropriate adult to pupil ratio. There are no legal requirements - supervision should be based on a reasonable judgment of the numbers and expertise of adult supervisors necessary, taking into account the:

  • nature and hazards of the trip
  • number, age, gender and aptitudes of the pupils
  • competence, authority and experience of the adults.

As an absolute minimum, ATL believes that at least two adults should accompany any group of up to 20 pupils. If a student is taken ill or another emergency arises, one adult can deal with it while the other looks after the rest of the party (suitably altering the activities to reflect the lower level of supervision). However, trips involving hazardous activities will normally require a much smaller ratio than for trips that do not.

ATL also recommends that at least one female adult and one male adult should accompany a mixed-sex group, and that at least one of the supervisors has completed a first aid course.

For trips to local sites and museums, government guidelines suggest a ratio of one adult adult to every:

  • six pupils in Years 1 - 3
  • 10-15 pupils in Years 4 - 6
  • 15-20 pupils in Year 7 and above.

ATL would advise you to consider carefully all possible risks (paying particular attention to the pupils who will be present) before agreeing to take a group off-site on your own.


Many educational establishments take parents and other adults who are not members of staff to help out on visits. The role of these volunteers should be made clear, they must be told who they are responsible to and whether (and if so, when) they can act alone without support from a member of staff. It should also be ensured that the insurance arrangements for the visit cover volunteers.

All volunteers are subject to checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Those involved in a 'regulated activity' must also register. 'Regulated activity' is defined as that involving contact with children or vulnerable adults once a month or more, or where an activity takes place for at least three days in any 30 day period or overnight (between 2.00am and 6.00am).

More information is available from the DBS website.

See also