Statement of Intent
This policy provides clarity around the following:
- Purpose and scope of field trips
- Health and safety
- Field Trip Financing
Procedural information can be found at the end of the policy in the appendices.
Aim of Policy
This policy exists in order to provide clarity around the approval, planning and safe execution of field trips organized and run by the FIS.
Application of Policy
This policy applies to all staff involved in planning, organizing, leading and/or chaperoning FIS field trips. All FIS staff need to be familiar with its contents.
The policy applies to all field trips organized by the FIS. Some sections of this policy do not apply to walking trips during a lesson; this is specified in the relevant sections.
There are no known exclusions or special situations in which this policy does not apply.
Related policies, procedures, forms, guidelines, and other resources
This policy has been developed in alignment with the FIS mission, vision, statement of international-mindedness and definition of high-quality learning, as well as the CIS Code of Ethics and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The policy aligns with the standards and practices of the taught programmes of the IB and IPC, and of the CIS and NEASC accreditation agencies.
After several versions, the Field Trip Policy was updated in Semester 2, 2021/22 by a committee consisting of the Head of School, Business Manager, Head of Secondary and Head of Academic Affairs, with input from the Head of Wellbeing and experienced trip leaders in the school. Two of the above mentioned are Safeguarding Leads. A further update is planned for SY 22-23 in order to update the purpose and scope of field trips..
- This policy will be available to staff via the FIS Intranet and parents via the FIS parent portal and the FIS website.
- History: Updated June 2022
- Policy approved date: July 2022
- Effective: August 2022
- Supersedes: Previous version of Field Trip Policy
- Reviewed every: 3 years
- Next review date: Semester 1, SY 22/23 for updating purpose and scope of field trips, followed by regular review in SY 25/26
- Approved by: SLT
field trip, health, safety, safeguarding, trip, risk assessment, chaperone
1. Purpose and scope of field trips
Field trips will be taken to supplement a specific unit of study or extra-curricular activity, to enhance personal and social development, and/or to expose the child to international cultures and languages. These may be day trips to a local site or may be extended trips involving overnight stay(s) depending on the grade level / maturity level of the students.
1.1. Categories of field trips
For organizational purposes, field trips can be categorized under one of the following:
|Category of field trip||Definition||Examples|
|1. Walking trip during a lesson||Trip where the teacher takes students off campus, on foot, returning by the end of the lesson.||Walk in the forest next to the FIS
Visit to nearby Aldi to look at prices
|2. Day trip during school hours||Day trip beginning and ending within school hours.||Science trip to botanical gardens, Erlangen
EY trip to Playmobil Land
|3. Extended day trip||Day trip beginning and/or ending before or after school hours.||Music trip to watch the Nuernberger Symphoniker in concert
Grade level trip to the Deutsches Museum in Munich
|4. Overnight trip within Germany||Trip within Germany including at least one night away.||Grade level trip to Schliersee (Camp Adventure)
Grade level trip to Bayreuth
|5. Overnight trip abroad||Trip to a different country including at least one night away. Only applies to the Secondary school.||Grade level ski trip
DP Spanish / Visual Art trip to Madrid
1.2. Field trip approval and organization
All field trips must be approved by the Head of Section, who will consult with the Head of School / Business Manager as necessary. Field trips will be approved based on their curricular/pastoral suitability and financial feasibility. Overnight field trips must be proposed, budgeted and approved in the prior school year. If this procedure is not followed, then it is unlikely that they can take place.
Once the field trip has been approved, the teacher in charge is responsible for the planning and leadership of the trip. All relevant procedures must be followed, in particular:
- The field trip application form, including projected costings, must be submitted to the respective Administrative Assistant.
- An Administrative Assistant will usually take care of the necessary bookings and help the teacher with the organization of the trip.
- All relevant staff (i.e. other teachers, Cafeteria staff, nurse, etc.) have to be notified at least two weeks prior to the trip in order to take all necessary steps of action for the trip and at school. The trip leader is responsible for notifying the respective people, with the assistance of the administrative assistant if necessary.
For more information, please see Appendix 1 (Procedures).
2. Health and safety
On all field trips, safeguarding students is the most important priority. The following steps are taken on all FIS field trips in order to safeguard students:
- For all trips in Category 2-5, a written risk assessment is carried out and best practice regarding student-chaperone ratios are adhered to. For more information about the risk assessment, see section 2.5.
- All chaperones comply with the FIS safeguarding policy at all times, with particular emphasis on Protective Practices for staff.
- The FIS commits to work only with third-party organizations who facilitate activities with students, who carry out thorough vetting of their staff, including criminal background checks and safeguarding training.
- Where possible, the FIS seeks accommodation that does not include homestays as part of its field trips.
- During a field trip, there may be cases where Secondary students are not fully supervised during free time away from their accommodation (e.g. walking around town). In this case, students will always be in groups of at least three. The area where students are allowed to go, as well as the time period, must be limited and defined by the trip leader. Details are to be outlined as part of the written risk assessment.
- Chaperones should not place themselves into a situation where they are alone with a student outside of the view/earshot of others. (e.g. not in a room without a clear view of the outside)
- On overnight trips, chaperones should only check students’ rooms together with another chaperone.
- On overnight trips, chaperones are assigned separate rooms from students.
- If a safeguarding concern arises during the trip, the chaperone should immediately contact a Safeguarding Lead to ask for advice on next steps.
According to Bavarian school law (KWMBl. S. 204) , all trips should have at least two FIS staff members, including at least one teacher, accompanying to cover an emergency situation. As of Grade 5, at least one male and one female staff member should be on overnight trips if the trip involves both male and female students.
The FIS follows best practice in terms of chaperone to student ratios, depending on the number and age of students. The final adult chaperone/student ratio will be determined by the Head of Section.
The following will be considered as guidelines in decision-making:
- EY3 – EY4: 1 adult: 2 students
- EY5: 1 adult: 4 students
- Grades 1-3: 1 adult: 6 students
- Grades 4-5: 1 adult: 10 students
- Grades 6-12: 1 adult: 12 students (or 1:10 for extended day trips and overnight trips)
Trip leaders should consider a contingency plan in case a chaperone is unable to attend the trip at short notice, e.g. stand-by chaperone.
When planning a trip, the language skills of chaperones should also be taken into account (e.g. at least one chaperone is comfortable in the local language), in order to ensure that arrangements run smoothly and emergencies can be dealt with.
This section does not apply to walking trips during a lesson (Category 1 trips).
2.3. Medical Information
Parents complete a medical information form when their child is admitted to the school and are asked to update the school as and when details change. When parents are informed about school trips, they should be reminded in the parent information letter to update the school for any additional medical information.
If students with medical needs are attending the field trip, the trip leader should liaise with the school nurse to ensure that all students’ medical needs (e.g. asthma, diabetes, anaphylaxis) are known and that chaperones are competent to handle them.
For overnight trips students, the trip leader should collect students’ health insurance cards for the duration of the trip.
2.4. First Aid
Staff chaperones must be familiar with the school’s Emergency Procedures Manual, especially the section on Student/Staff Injury. A first aid kit, obtained from the school nurse in advance, must be taken on the trip and returned at the end of the trip. Depending on the nature of the trip, the Head of Section may request that a certified first aider act as a chaperone.
For walking trips during a lesson (Category 1 trip), a first aid kit does not need to be obtained.
2.5. Risk assessment and mitigation
For walking trips during a lesson (Category 1 trip), teachers must exercise caution when off campus, e.g. when crossing roads.
For all other field trips (Categories 2-5), the trip leader must carry out a written risk assessment as part of the organization of the field trip. Where the trip (or a very similar one) has been run before, the risk assessment may be adapted from a previous version. The risks considered will depend on the nature of the field trip. The risk assessment form is to be submitted to the Head of Section as soon as possible after the field trip has been approved. The Head of Section may ask for certain parts of the risk assessment ro be completed before approval.
For more information, please see Appendix 3 (risk assessment form).
Insurance for Students
The students are insured against accidents during field trips via the statutory school accident insurance. This also applies for field trips abroad.
When students are traveling abroad, guardians or adult students should be advised to clarify their insurance status with their statutory or private health insurance and, where appropriate, they should take out a separate travel health insurance.
Insurance for Employees
During field trips school employees are insured against accidents via the statutory accident insurance. This also applies to field trips abroad.
Insurance for other Chaperones
Other chaperones who accompany the field trip on request of the school administration, are insured against accidents via the statutory accident insurance.
Additional Travel Insurance
In consultation with the Business Manager, any additional insurance needs need to be assessed. This applies mainly to trips where higher-risk activities, such as diving, will be undertaken. The trip leader is expected to investigate this as part of the risk assessment. If in doubt as to whether a field trip may require additional insurance, please contact the Business Manager.
2.7. Return from trips
In the event that day trips return to school shortly before the end of the school day, students will be supervised by the chaperones until the end of the school day unless written permission has been given for them to leave by themselves (G9 and older only).
Procedures for students going home after an extended day trip need to be communicated in writing to the parents/guardians as part of the parent information letter.
Students may only be picked up from overnight trips by someone other than their own parent/ guardian if parents/guardians have informed the school in writing about this in advance.
The trip leader will wait for students to be picked up after a field trip so that they are not left unsupervised. In case of a delay in the students being picked up, the trip leader will contact students’ parents.
Students may only go home directly from the field trip (e.g. if the field trip is in Bamberg and they live in Bamberg) if written permission has been provided to the school in advance.
3. Field Trip Financing
The Field Trip budget is part of the yearly financial budget of the FIS. The FIS tuition provides a certain amount per student per year as well as funds for the Grades 5 -12 annual grade level overnight trips. If the cost of a field trip exceeds this included part of the costs and for voluntary / subject-specific field trips not involving the whole grade level, the FIS reserves the right to charge a part of or the full costs to the parents. Therefore, the Business Office should be provided with a list of the proposed field trips, especially the proposed overnight trips, for the following year by Spring Break of the previous year at the latest.
The trip leader must assess the total cost of each trip (including costs for students, teachers and chaperones) and this may include a preparatory visit. An Administrative Assistant can support teachers with estimating and researching costs. A completed field trip application form has to be attached to the above-mentioned list of proposed field trips.
In the case of field trips abroad / involving significant travel, clear evidence must be provided that a more local, cost effective field trip is not a suitable and viable alternative.
Preferably, all bookings for a field trip are done by an Administrative Assistant prior to the field trip. Original invoices/receipts for all expenses during the field trips must be kept. Using the field trip application form, an accurate record of expenditure, substantiated with original receipts, must be submitted for each trip to the Business Office within 2 weeks after the conclusion of the trip.
If parents are required to contribute financially to field trips, the Business Office has to be provided with a list of participating students and the respective amount for charging. Invoices will then be sent to parents and incoming payments will be followed up by the Senior Accountant.
Staff members may claim reimbursement for travel and other expenses, which are incurred on field trips according to the Travel Policy. The use of staff members’ personal vehicles on field trips is not allowed.
Preparatory visits for field trips are encouraged. The cost of a preparatory visit should be limited to the amount spent by the staff member and should be added to the cost of the field trip.
On admission to the school, parents are asked to give permission for their child(ren) to attend field trips taking place during the course of a normal school day. This permission is then valid for the duration of the child(ren)’s enrolment at the FIS.
Written permission for extended day trips and overnight trips is sought separately from parents/carers.
4.1. Walking trips during a lesson (Category 1 trips)
No special permission is required to take students on a walking trip during a lesson. The class teacher needs to sign the students out at Reception and inform the Head of Section that they are leaving campus.
4.2. Day Trips (Category 2 trips)
The permission given by parents during the admissions process is valid for day field trips within the course of a normal school day. Therefore, in general permission does not need to be sought again for individual day field trips, but parents should be informed about the trip. If written permission has not been given by parents/guardians by the day of the trip (as part of the general Field Trip Permission Form provided to parents upon enrolment or as a one-off permission), attempts will be made to contact the parents for verbal permission. If the parents cannot be reached, the child will remain at school. Every effort will be made to place the child in another class; however, where this is not possible or appropriate the child will have adequate supervision until parents can be reached or until the end of the school day.
Verbal permission will be accepted as permission for the child to participate in a day field trip. Written permission from the parents still must be given to the school as soon as possible.
4.3. Extended Day Trips (Category 3 trips)
If written permission has not been given by parents/guardians by the day of the trip, attempts will be made to contact the parents for verbal permission.
If the parents cannot be reached, the child will not participate in the field trip. Every effort will be made to place the child in another class; however, where this is not possible or appropriate the child will have adequate supervision until parents can be reached. If there is a reason to believe the parents intend to pick up the child later than closing of the school day, the emergency contact will be notified to come collect the child.
Verbal permission will be accepted as permission for the child to participate in any extended field trip. Written permission from the parents still must be given to the school as soon as possible to confirm the verbal permission.
4.4. Overnight Trips (Category 4 and 5 trips)
As a rule, permission for attending overnight trips should be sought and given well in advance, in order to make the necessary arrangements for the trip. If written permission has not been given by parents/guardians by one week before departure, attempts will be made to contact the parents for permission. Any verbal permission given should be followed by written permission (email is accepted). If written permission has not been given by the time of departure, the child will not go on the trip. The child will remain at school until a parent or emergency contact is able to take the child home.
5.1 Trips Overview
A letter regarding overnight trips planned for the school year will be sent to parents from the Heads of Section early in the school year. This is to explain intended trips and to give a cost estimate. Any changes and/or additions will be communicated to the parents at the earliest possible time.
5.2 Trip Information
For all Category 2-5 trips, an information letter to parents is required. It should include all necessary trip information. An Administrative Assistant will support the teacher with writing the letter if necessary. For a template, please see Appendix 4.
After the Head of Section has approved the trip, the letter will be sent to parents in a timely manner.
The following information will be given for a day trip or extended day trip:
- itinerary, including sites to be seen*
- reason for the trip
- departure and arrival dates, places, times*
- transportation details*
- which class(es) and chaperones are going*
- contact details including the school mobile number
- cost to the student, if applicable
- request for medical or dietary information, not already held by the school
- behavior expectations and resulting consequences
- any procedures for on return to the school, such as pick up before or after the end of the school day / students leaving campus early
For overnight trips the following additional information will be provided:
- accommodation addresses and phone numbers*
- packing list (clothing requirements, etc.)
- travel documentation required, if applicable
The (school) office must have on file pertinent information (*) from the above lists before a field trip begins.
For overnight trips, it may be necessary in addition to host a parent information event to provide further information about the trip.
This section does not apply to walking trips during a lesson (Category 1 trips).
Student participation in field trips as an educational and social experience, unless otherwise stated, is highly encouraged. Parents not wishing their children to take part in a class field trip are asked to discuss the matter with the class teacher, trip leader, or the Head of Section.
Students from EY3 to Grade 8 who are not participating in an official class field trip will not attend school during that time as no other classroom arrangements will be provided. The days students do not attend the school for this reason will count as “unexcused absence”.
Students in Grades 9 – 12 who are not participating in an official school-sponsored field trip are required to attend school and will be assigned to an alternative class/study hall.
It is the intention of the FIS that all students will be participants in class field trips. However, inclusion on any Field Trip is considered a privilege, not a right. In extraordinary cases the staff may recommend the exclusion of a student from a particular field trip.
The Head of School will be consulted, and written notification will be given to the parents and recorded via SchoolBase. The student will be notified through a conference and will be given clear rationale for the exclusion.
6.2. Expectations on field trips
All FIS policies are applicable on Field Trips as well as the school’s behavior expectations. In cases of misbehavior, students can be sent home at parents’ expense. Behavior expectations and resulting consequences must be made clear to all participants and their parents prior to the trip, usually in the parent information letter.
6.3. Lost and stolen items
The school will not reimburse parents for lost or stolen items during the trip. Students are discouraged from bringing any kind of valuables to the trip unless they are asked to do so.
A Standard-by-Standard guide to gathering evidence, CIS International Accreditation, 2021
Evaluation Framework [2019 version updated], CIS International Accreditation, 2019
Appendix 1: Procedures
Proposing a field trip
Please note that trips that have taken place in the past need to be applied for each time, though information can be repeated from the previous application.
- Complete Field Trip Application Form.
- Check the school calendar(s) in order to avoid any conflicts (other trips, events, assessments, etc.)
- Obtain support and signature from relevant curricular/pastoral /ASA leader.
- Seek support from Administrative Assistant if necessary regarding costs.
- Email Field Trip Application Form to Head of Section.
- Overnight trips: latest by Spring break of the previous school year.
- Day/Extended day trips: as soon as possible, and latest four weeks in advance of the proposed trip.
- Head of Section liaises with Head of School/Business Manager as necessary, referring to trips overview.
- Head of Section communicates approval / non-approval with rationale.
- Overnight trips: latest by the end of the school year prior to the trip.
- Day/Extended day trips: within two weeks.
Organizing a field trip
The trip leader should take care of the following; an administrative assistant can support if necessary.
As soon as possible after the trip is approved
- Complete Risk Assessment Form and email it to the Head of Section.
- Liaise with Administrative Assistant to make arrangements for travel, accommodation, tickets, etc.
In advance of the trip
- Ensure that the school office has the necessary information about the trip (see Trip Information).
- Prepare and send an information letter to parents via SchoolBase, at least:
- Day/Extended day trips (category 2/3): two weeks in advance
- Overnight trips: two months in advance
- For day trips (category 2), check which students haven’t got permission. For students without permission, follow up to try and get written permission
- For category 3-5 trips, collect permission slips (with help from administrative assistant)
- If necessary, host a parent information meeting (usually just for overnight trips).
- Inform teachers, cafeteria staff, etc. about the trip, at least:
- Day/Extended day trips: two weeks in advance
- Overnight trips: two months in advance
In exceptional circumstances (e.g. school community days where student sign-up is involved), a shorter time frame for informing parents/staff may be permitted.
For grade-level organized trips where the trip leader is not the organizer (e.g. Camp Adventure trips), the Head of Section or a designee may complete some of the above organization e.g. parent information letter.
In the days before the trip
- Collect First Aid kit(s) from the school nurse or the Front Office in FIS I.
- Collect the school mobile phone from the Front Office in FIS II.
- Obtain student medical information from the school nurse
- Liaise with the Administrative Assistant regarding arrangements (double checking)
- Check that all students have permission to attend the trip
- Ensure all chaperones are familiar with the risk assessment, field trip policy etc.
On the day of the trip
- For overnight trips, collect students’ medical insurance cards