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Who is Responsible for Your Child’s Safety on a School Trip?

When our children go to school in the morning we leave them at the gate trusting that they are looked after, safe and sound under the protection and supervision of trained professionals. So why should we expect any less on a school trip?

Of course, we shouldn’t. When parents agree to their children travelling outside of school, whether on a trip in the UK or overseas, they do so in the belief that they are being cared for the same as when they are on school premises. In fact, many parents will likely view their child travelling overseas without them with trepidation, and would hope that the staff caring for them would take extra care to ensure that there is no cause for concern.

Statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reveal that an average of one pupil dies during activities on school trips every year – a figure that simply should not exist.

Slater and Gordon lawyers developed the law relating to school’s responsibilities recently in the case of Woodland v Essex County Council [2013] All ER (D) 252. Annie suffered a near-drowning incident during the course of a school swimming lesson held at the local swimming baths, which was part of the national curriculum. The lesson was conducted by contracted swimming teachers, some of whom were uninsured. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that in that situation the duty of a school or Local Education Authority to a pupil is a non-delegable duty, meaning Annie could succeed in recovering damages from the Council, enabling her to fulfil her potential and meet her future needs.

If your child attends a school trip overseas and there is an accident, could you take legal action? The answer is yes, but each case needs to be carefully analysed upon its own merits.

The tragic news of 12-year-old Jessica Lawson, killed during a recent school trip, has again tragically highlighted this issue. Jessica was one of 24 pupils from Wolfreton School in Hull who travelled to the Club Correze adventure centre in France for a five-day visit when she sustained fatal injuries during recreation time in a lake.

The question to come to any parent’s mind is likely, ‘How does this happen on a school trip?’

For children to be permitted to play near or in water – whether a swimming pool or lake – supervision for the safety of the children should be absolutely paramount, and something that parents should expect when keeping their children safe whilst away from home.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have extensive experience in pursuing claims for people injured in an accident on holiday and represented Annie Woodlands in the Woodlands.v. Essex County Council case.

If you or a member of your family was injured in a road traffic accident overseas, Slater and Gordon No Win, No Fee Solicitors can help you with your claim for compensation. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9046, from abroad on +44 20 7657 155, or contact us online.

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