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November 15, 2010

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Education – Give teachers support to make school an adventure

IOSH has called for better training and more support for teachers who are worried about the risks of organising school trips and adventure activities for pupils.

The call came after education secretary Michael Gove said that a ‘bubble-wrapped’ culture in the UK has seen teachers become too risk-averse.

“It’s a shame if Michael Gove is right, because learning should be exciting and fun,” said Richard Jones, policy and technical director at IOSH. “Adventurous activities are a great way for young people to develop and learn in a fun way, helping them to become rounded individuals who can solve problems and meet new challenges.

“Of course, such trips and activities need to be planned and managed properly, and there’s lots of free help and authoritative guidance available on doing exactly this.

“But IOSH strongly supports the benefits of learning outside the classroom and thinks that the solution to easing any teacher concerns about things going wrong is to give them better training, support and resources, so that they feel fully equipped to lead these types of activities.

“If we deprive our kids of these kinds of experiences growing up, we could have a next generation of workers who are not risk-savvy.”

IOSH has broadly welcomed Lord Young’s review of UK health and safety in the hope that it will tackle the root causes of today’s risk aversion, and the public confusion about what health and safety law actually is.

“We want all children to live life to the full, which will involve them taking some risks,” said Richard. “The application of common sense and some sensible health and safety measures will ensure that they can stay safe and have fun.”

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