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How not to introduce kids to mountains

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In reply to Toerag:

Holy shit! That's incredible..

 scotthldr 18 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

Beyond belief😡. HSE and law courts aren’t much better, £30k fine pathetic. If you endanger someone on a building site you face going to jail, endangering 13 kid's… slap on the wrist.

10
 AukWalk 18 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

What on earth were they thinking! Got off very lightly with that fine, and so lucky none of the party were seriously hurt or worse.

Incredible that things like that still happen in the 2020s. 

 Jenny C 18 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

The words Lyme Bay spring to mind.

1
 GrahamD 18 Feb 2022
In reply to scotthldr:

Consequences will go way beyond "slap on the wrist", though.  For a start I can imagine the opportunities for kids at that school getting to go on any decent field trips will be severely curtailed.

Personally, I don't think big fines would help anyone here (who, ultimately,  would end up paying the cost of them ?).  Much more important IMO would be a review of guidelines and procedures to ensure proper criteria are met for these trips but, importantly, without taking the simple option of "no more school field trips".

 wintertree 18 Feb 2022
In reply to AukWalk:

> Incredible that things like that still happen in the 2020s. 

Single sex, primary aged independent boarding school in an urban area with significant issues in recent years culminating in an "inadequate" inspection, happy to teach well beyond capacity, curriculum issues and no internet presence.

Worth skimming the whole thing but it suggests part 8 of their recent inspection report [1] has not been addressed "PART 8: Quality of leadership in and management of schools"

The school is barely in the 1920s I suspect.  Incredibly that such schools continue to exist in the 2020s.

[1]  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845285/The_Gateshead_Cheder_Primary_School_Notice_24.07.19.pdf 

Post edited at 12:15
 AukWalk 18 Feb 2022
In reply to wintertree:

Oh dear.

I did see that one on Google but thought it wasn't the right one because it's listed as a primary school, but the boys on the trip were year 10.  It seems they are in fact registered to take children from  3-16 though, although in fact only go up to 14:

https://www.locrating.com/schools-The-Gateshead-Cheder-Primary-School-0urn136000.aspx

https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Establishments/Establishment/Details/136000

Interestingly it only opened in 2009. Not that it's necessarily relevant, but sounds like it's a fundamentalist religious school too which might go a little way in explaining its apparent attitudes. 

Post edited at 12:55
1
 Dave Hewitt 18 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

Similarities with this incident:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3855259.stm

Not sure that normal rules on hill outings apply to such schools.

In reply to wintertree:

You didn't note that it's an Orthodox Jewish school. Much of the Ofsted report basically says they are failing to prepare children for life in modern Britain, as well as failing to provide an proper education. It's interesting although maybe not surprising that parents strongly support the school despite its failing. I guess if you are from Haredi family in somewhere like Gateshead, the things that Ofsted point to as failures might well been seen as positives. 

The education at Jewish schools can be superb, but I think it was Jewish high school for girls in Manchester that got some of the best grades in the country and was ofsted outstanding but got knocked down to inadequate because in a later inspection it was found they failed in the legally mandated citizenship provision and failed to prepare students for life in modern Britain.

1
 Bojo 18 Feb 2022
In reply to AukWalk:

 

> Interestingly it only opened in 2009. Not that it's necessarily relevant, but sounds like it's a fundamentalist religious school

Apparently Orthodox Jewish. I have to say I once saw a party of them on the Glyders - admittedly in better weather conditions. The were all clad in the garb of Orthodox Jews:

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstock.adobe.com%2Fimages%2F3-jewish-hasidic-boys-in-traditional-clothes-walk-in-the-park-in-uman-ukraine%2F216676089&psig=AOvVaw3vCazKn_T23yF_HOapvNwz&ust=1645276378218000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAgQjRxqFwoTCIjYkNeqifYCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

3
 JOC1 18 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

It's not the first time school trips have led to consequences like this that could have been prevented.  What seems surprising is that there doesn't seem to be any laws or even 'Guidance' issued by Gov/HSE (perhaps there are and I'm just not aware of them) that schools could use as some sort of check list when organising something like this.  After all lots of guidance exists to cover aspects of other industries surely it must be possible to write something to help with outward bounds style activities.

In reply to Toerag:

I think the same school have also been involved in previous incidents involving MRT, and treated the whole thing as a bit of a laugh.

Edit: I might be doing them a disservice. It was Gateshead Talmudical College involved in previous incidents:

https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/mountain-rescue-for-yeshivah-boys-again-1.10785

Post edited at 13:50
2
 Tringa 18 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

Fortunately such occurrences are rare, but the potential consequences don't bear thinking about.

I think the attached HSE report should be sent to all schools.

The following is particularly interesting  -

"The adults leading the trip had no formal qualifications in mountain leadership or any experience of mountain environments in winter conditions. The party had a map but relied on a smartphone app as a compass."

I might be misunderstanding the comment that the adults did not have any experience in mountain environment in winter conditions. Really, just winter conditions? Some of the group wearing school shoes and trousers, only an app for a compass, disregarded the weather report, and ignored the advice of others on the hill - sounds as if they had no experience at all.

Luckily and with MRT help there were no causalities.

Dave

 Dave Hewitt 18 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

I was once in Kintail for a few days and there was a posh school group (non-religious I think) around. I met them twice - very obvious where they were as they had a couple of swanky minibuses. By the tail-end of the week the kids looked miserable and clearly wanted to be in the cafes in Kyle or somewhere rather than up yet another set of hills. At least one had been injured. Was pretty clear that the teachers were using the kids as a cheap means to make progress with their Munro rounds.

7
 wintertree 18 Feb 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> You didn't note that it's an Orthodox Jewish school

It was clearly a religious school but I deliberately did not look in to what religion it is; that should have no bearing on things IMO.

> Much of the Ofsted report basically says they are failing to prepare children for life in modern Britain, as well as failing to provide an proper education.

Sure; but the failing I cited was over management, and that resonates far more with the MRT incident.   The others did not have much relevance (although arguably going in to the hills with a spirit of self sufficiency falls under some of the "failing to prepare" cultural side)

Most other failings are a clear mismatch between the ethos and intent of the school and the regulations it's intended to operate under; I am sure this is not regarded as a failing by the parents - as you say; but that is a different discussion and not appropriate for this thread.

It seems likely the the management failing is not simply due to the other failings you note, but also the issue of running significantly above agreed capacity, and those failing seem to have manifested in this incident.

5
 Neil Pratt 18 Feb 2022
In reply to TobyA:

>  I guess if you are from Haredi family in somewhere like Gateshead, the things that Ofsted point to as failures might well been seen as positives. 

I suspect that will only be the case up until the point where they get some of their kids killed - events like the Cairngorm disaster in the 70s are mercifully rare, but that group was better equipped, better led and still resulted in multiple deaths. It's only by luck that there were no fatalities here.

In reply to JOC1:

> What seems surprising is that there doesn't seem to be any laws or even 'Guidance' issued by Gov/HSE (perhaps there are and I'm just not aware of them) that schools could use as some sort of check list when organising something like this.

There's plenty of guidance for those who want to look for it.

There's the OEAP*

https://oeapng.info/about-national-guidance/

There's EVOLVE.

There's simple bloody common sense, or even the most basic hillwalking experience.

It seems that this school don't want outside advice.

* most of whose advice would fall into the 'bloody simple common sense' and 'basic hillwalking experience' categories; it's well considered, practical advice.

Post edited at 22:25
In reply to wintertree:

> It was clearly a religious school but I deliberately did not look in to what religion it is; that should have no bearing on things IMO.

The particular flavour of religion, maybe not.

But the strictly adherent nature of the religion does have bearing, in that the strict adherence means eschewing sensible footwear and clothing, in favour or that prescribed by the religion. And the attitude that they do not need to take outside advice.

1
 Dave Hewitt 18 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> But the strictly adherent nature of the religion does have bearing, in that the strict adherence means eschewing sensible footwear and clothing, in favour or that prescribed by the religion. And the attitude that they do not need to take outside advice.

I think that's right - hardline-ism crosses religious boundaries and can be a problem wherever it crops up. I've a recollection that the 2004 Meall a' Bhuachaille incident included the women in the group not being entirely happy about being rescued by men.

In reply to Toerag:

Am surprised (actually, bloody astonished) by this. These days schools are all about safeguarding and health and safety, above all else.

In reply to The worst job I ever had:

> These days schools are all about safeguarding and health and safety, above all else.

All well-managed schools. Independent schools with failing OFSTED reports not so much, apparently...

In reply to Toerag:

I don't see the point of fining a school £30k: taking money from a school is not going to make anything better.  It's not like fining a private company.  If the sanction is a fine it should be the teacher/head teacher that gets it not the school.

They should give the kid that ran away from this group and got down by themselves an award for common sense.

3
 scotthldr 19 Feb 2022
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Especially a private Jewish backed school that aren’t going to be short of a few pound. Imo the Teacher, assistant, head teacher and anyone else involved should all be handed suspended jail sentences, only then will it send out a strong deterrent to others.

This sort of thing happens more often than reported, whether it be schools, youth groups and various cadet organisations and it’s not only confined to the mountains, but all extra curriculum activities where inadequate risk assessments and training are apparent or non existent all together. This group where caught out and luckily none were injured or killed, the next lot might not be so lucky.

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In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> I think that's right - hardline-ism crosses religious boundaries and can be a problem wherever it crops up. I've a recollection that the 2004 Meall a' Bhuachaille incident included the women in the group not being entirely happy about being rescued by men.

There is an account if the incident in John Allen's "Cairngorm John." It's a while since I read it but from memory the mountain rescue team were annoyed at being called out. Conditions weren't that bad, only misty. It was in summer . Clear path down from top of hill. Teachers in charge refused to follow phone instructions and walk down. - Insisted that mountain rescuers come up and escort them down. Once safely down and indoors one of the girls gave the mountain rescue team deputy leader a row for taking so long. (Guess the response.) Overall not as serious as Helvellyn incident. 

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I don't see the point of fining a school £30k: taking money from a school is not going to make anything better.  It's not like fining a private company.  If the sanction is a fine it should be the teacher/head teacher that gets it not the school.

I was thinking exactly this, Schools are drastically under funded as it is. 

 bouldery bits 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Dax H:

> I was thinking exactly this, Schools are drastically under funded as it is. 

Don't worry, they'll just take it from the computing budget that no one is using. 

OP: Thanks for sharing this incident. As someone who runs outdoor activities for Primary schools this is a useful bit of reading. 

Post edited at 08:11
In reply to scotthldr:

> Especially a private Jewish backed school that aren’t going to be short of a few pound. Imo the Teacher, assistant, head teacher and anyone else involved should all be handed suspended jail sentences, only then will it send out a strong deterrent to others.

But it also will make such institutions so risk averse that  schools will become nothing more than sitting quietly in classrooms. 

> This sort of thing happens more often than reported, whether it be schools, youth groups and various cadet organisations and it’s not only confined to the mountains, but all extra curriculum activities where inadequate risk assessments and training are apparent or non existent all together. This group where caught out and luckily none were injured or killed, the next lot might not be so lucky.

Yep, for everyone where things go wrong and we hear about it there are probably 20 trips that are totally unprepared but get away with it through blind luck. 

1
 Andy Hardy 19 Feb 2022
In reply to scotthldr:> Especially a private Jewish backed school that aren’t going to be short of a few pound. .

I'm not sure if you're aware, but not every Jew is minted, and not every private school is another Eton.

3
In reply to Andy Hardy:

The Gateshead Cheder has an annual.turnover of around £1.4m for 280 pupils or around £4.5k per pupil.

They run it out of a converted tower block (lack of outdoor space for PE has been a criticism in the past). 

https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=1130433&subid=0

 Moacs 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

> Hopefully some heads will be rolling for this:-

That's really some quite impressive, top notch stupidity. Not just any old fnck up, a full on abdication of any semblance of common sense. 

Glad no one hurt

 Dave Hewitt 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> I'm not sure if you're aware, but not every Jew is minted, and not every private school is another Eton.

The school in the Helvellyn incident appears to have access to substantial private funding, though:

https://www.charityextra.com/gc

Does anyone know if they're allowed to pay the £30k fine via fundraising of this sort? If so, it's barely a fine at all.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> It's not like fining a private company

It's an independent school.

It is a private company.

https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/06935713

Post edited at 10:45
 Jamie Wakeham 19 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

...and yet, somehow, also a charity.

The moment I saw the headline I knew it would be an independent.

1
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Does anyone know if they're allowed to pay the £30k fine via fundraising of this sort? If so, it's barely a fine at all.

Does it matter? They could pay it from the food budget then use the charity money to pay for the food. 

 Martin Hore 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

I should declare an interest. I was Chair of the Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP) in the mid-1990's when the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations were passed into law, a response to the Lyme Bay tragedy, and other earlier tragedies such as the Cairngorm disaster.  At that time OEAP primarily comprised advisers working for local education authorities.  Wearing that hat I, and other colleagues, advised government on the wording of the Regulations. 

More recently, as Captain Paranoia has pointed out, OEAP, working again with government, has published and regularly updated, National Guidance for schools undertaking all educational visits. This has largely superceded the guidance which used to be issued by local education authorities, and reflects the substantial shift towards academy schools, which are outwith LEA control.

In relation to adventure activities,  both sets of guidance are clear . A key health and safety requirement is to take qualified technical advice. The Licensing Regulations define the appropriate qualifications of technical advisers. For this activity the quoted technical adviser qualification is "MIC or BMG Carnet holder" (the Regulations were last updated in 2004 and may not reflect current titles). The appropriate qualification is also defined for the leader on the ground. Unsurprisingly, the stated qualification is ML Winter. A technical adviser may advise a lesser qualification in specific circumstances (for example where the terrain is familiar and the technical adviser has undertaken a personal assessment of the leader) but surely no MIC or Guide would have signed off on this activity with this (lack of) leadership. 

The problem here was obvious to those of us who advised government back in the 90's. The Regulations did not cover schools running activities for their own pupils. We argued against this, but the government of the day (Tory) was for "light touch" regulation. Lyme Bay was the fault of an outdoor activity centre, so it was only activity centres that were seen to require regulation.

At that time, most schools were managed by local education authorities who by and large could be relied upon to ensure similar standards applied in their schools. But independent schools were always outside of this framework. The more enlightened independent schools sought advice from "their" LEA - I advised several in Suffolk - but this example is clearly not a more enlightened independent school. I've been retired for 10 years, but my understanding is that the majority of academy trusts do take appropriate advice today for their schools, often from members of OEAP, and follow the OEAP National Guidance. But there is no requirement for independent or academy schools to do so, other than the general framework of Health and Safety Law, which, as in this case, will largely only operate retrospectively.

One possible solution would be for OfSTED to pay more attention in its inspections to educational visits and off-site activities. A positive outcome of this would be to raise the profile of the value of these activities in a young person's education. And it would also give OfSTED the opportunity to inspect health and safety provisions in this area, including, critically, the school's recognition of the need to take qualified technical advice before undertaking adventure activities.

If any current OEAP members read this, please feel free to correct anything in the above which is in need of updating.

Martin

Edited to correct "1090's" to "1990's" in the first para!!!

Post edited at 12:00
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 Andy Hardy 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

It was the phrase "Jewish backed" that I found, let's say, trope adjacent.

 wercat 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Dax H:

I fail to see how these individual teachers in the OP case are any less culpable than the poor teacher who was jailed in the early 2000s when a school trip went wrong above the Greenside Youth hostel.

 bouldery bits 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore:

My experience of OFSTED inspectors is that they don't need yet another area to make judgements upon in which they also have no expertise. 

Post edited at 12:30
In reply to bouldery bits:

Sounds like the OFSTED inspectors who inspected this school had it pretty much nailed...

 RobAJones 19 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Sounds like the OFSTED inspectors who inspected this school had it pretty much nailed...

In a report written after the event!

Doesn't seem to be much concern about the Welfare, health and safety of pupils in the report written a couple of months beforehand.

1
In reply to RobAJones:

> In a report written after the event!

No. The failing OFSTED report was in 2019 (24 July 2019).

The event in question took place in 2020.

2019 is not after 2020.

Post edited at 13:55
 RobAJones 19 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

I was referring to the one written in Jan 2020 after a new head had been appointed?

During this inspection I was able to evaluate the current safeguarding policy. This policy is made available to parents and meets current guidance issued by the Secretary of State. 

These standards are met.

Compared to the  one written in December 2020

Senior leaders have taken advice from external agencies and introduced new procedures and processes to improve the health and safety of pupils while they take part in educational visits.

Post edited at 14:06
 Martin Hore 19 Feb 2022
In reply to wercat:

> I fail to see how these individual teachers in the OP case are any less culpable than the poor teacher who was jailed in the early 2000s when a school trip went wrong above the Greenside Youth hostel.

If I remember correctly, and have the right case in mind, this was a fatal ghyll scrambling incident. Several factors contributed to the decision to hand down a custodial sentence. There was a catalogue of mistakes on the hill, but the "poor teacher" would not I think have been jailed for these, particularly if he, himself, lacked the experience to know what to do. A large measure of fault would have been held to rest with his employer who had allowed him to lead pupils on this activity. 

Two factors stick in my mind. First, the leader in this case passed an experienced instructor coming down from the site of the accident who told him that in his view it was not safe to undertake the activity in the conditions on the day. The leader heading up said his team would be OK because "they had a rope". In fact they were not carrying a rope, but the leader proceeded with the activity regardless. 

But much the worse offence was that the teacher concerned had claimed when asked by his headteacher that he possessed a mountain leader qualification which he did not in fact possess. In the court's eyes, this deliberate deception effectively passed the burden of blame from the employer to the teacher concerned. 

Sorry if this is not the incident you referred to. At the time, I had the job of reassuring Suffolk teachers who were leading adventurous activities with appropriate qualifications that they would not find themselves in the same position (ie in prison) if something went wrong.

Martin

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I don't see the point of fining a school £30k: taking money from a school is not going to make anything better.  It's not like fining a private company.  If the sanction is a fine it should be the teacher/head teacher that gets it not the school.

It is a private school, so it is very much like fining a private company.

If this happened in a state school, I would expect fairly severe sanctions against against the staff and the leadership.

 Martin Hore 19 Feb 2022
In reply to bouldery bits:

> My experience of OFSTED inspectors is that they don't need yet another area to make judgements upon in which they also have no expertise. 

It doesn't require specialist expertise to ask a school that undertakes teacher-led activities in scope of the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations for the names and qualifications of their technical advisers, and evidence that the relevant technical adviser has signed off this type of activity. The school in question would have been unable to provide either. 

Martin

In reply to Toerag:

Can anything ever be done about the hundreds of call outs to people lost and depending on others to sort out their shit show

10
 RobAJones 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore:

I assumed it was the same incident and my memory is similar to yours

> But much the worse offence was that the teacher concerned had claimed when asked by his headteacher that he possessed a mountain leader qualification which he did not in fact possess. In the court's eyes, this deliberate deception effectively passed the burden of blame from the employer to the teacher concerned. 

My memory was that he had done the training but not completed the assessment. Not sure, but I thought there was an issue around him having run similar trips before and then a new headteacher assuming he was qualified. Even if he had his summer ML I thought the conclusion of the inquiry was that it wouldn't qualify him to let kids swim in plunge pools anyway? The other factor that sticks in my mind was that the child who died was much younger than the other children and was on the trip because his mum was a teaching assistant on the trip. In fact, I think his mum was present at the incident, allowed him to enter the plunge pool and then dived in to try and save him. A horrific incident and obviously mistakes were made, but at the time I remember thinking a custodial sentence seemed harsh. 

 Dave Hewitt 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> It was the phrase "Jewish backed" that I found, let's say, trope adjacent.

It wasn't me who said that, and I can't imagine ever using that phrase.

Insofar as I have general concerns about all this - beyond individual and thankfully pretty isolated examples of stupidity such as the Helvellyn thing - it's that independent schools and other institutions/organisations do sometimes seem to regard themselves as not subject or only partially subject to various regulations and restrictions that apply to other parts of society. In terms of religious schools, I'm not bothered which religion it is, rather that the hard-line and very traditionalist end of most religions seems prone to running into issues of this sort.

In a wider sense, this all perhaps links with the question of diversity (or lack of it) on the hill, something that gets discussed on here from time to time. Heaven knows I'm all for more hill diversity - I'm not long back from four hours on the sunny/snowy Ochils where, unless I was mistaken, every one of the upwards of 50 people seen was white, an entirely unsurprising state of affairs on the Scottish hills in 2022. Quite how that might be changed is something for another discussion, but in the current situation a religious group getting into trouble on the hill might lead to a few non-standard complications. Does anyone with MRT connections know if team members are required or at least requested to go through some kind of diversity training?

3
In reply to wintertree:

I'm not sure why Ofsted are inspecting this school at all, and not the Independent Schools Inspectorate. Looks like a strange set up.

 RobAJones 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Steve Wetton:

> I'm not sure why Ofsted are inspecting this school at all, and not the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

About 50% of independent schools are inspected by each, depending on whether they are Associated or not. 

>Looks like a strange set up.

Certainly, but quite common. 

 jonny taylor 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> Does anyone with MRT connections know if team members are required or at least requested to go through some kind of diversity training?

No. What problem would you be looking to solve, exactly?

In reply to Steve Wetton:

This might answer your question. First google hit for the obvious search string.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ofsteds-inspections-of-non-association-independent-schools

 iccle_bully 19 Feb 2022
In reply to RobAJones:

> I was referring to the one written in Jan 2020 after a new head had been appointed?

> During this inspection I was able to evaluate the current safeguarding policy. This policy is made available to parents and meets current guidance issued by the Secretary of State. 

> These standards are met.

> Compared to the  one written in December 2020

> Senior leaders have taken advice from external agencies and introduced new procedures and processes to improve the health and safety of pupils while they take part in educational visits.

Not wanting to be pedantic but then this is UKC - health and safety policy and safeguarding policy are two different documents based in two different sets of legislation and guidance. 

 Dave Hewitt 19 Feb 2022
In reply to jonny taylor:

> > Does anyone with MRT connections know if team members are required or at least requested to go through some kind of diversity training?

> No. What problem would you be looking to solve, exactly?

I was mainly thinking of a situation where a religious group (of whatever size) from a largely isolated/self-contained community gets into trouble and the ensuing rescue has the potential to include cultural awkwardnesses and misunderstandings. I'm not sure how often this kind of thing has occurred - the only example I know of where it seems to have been a factor was the 2004 Meall a' Buachaille thing - but it could happen more often. If say there was somehow a marked increase in the number of Muslim women on the hill - which would be a good thing in my book - then a rescue by a mostly male non-Muslim MRT with no real grounding in cultural differences could lead to complications. I'm not saying that MRTs should get diversity training, just that in lots of other sectors it is either offered or required and it might well prove useful from time to time - plus if it was publicised then it might help to encourage a wider diversity of folk out on to the hill.

(Actually, I can think of a specific example: every August there are quite a lot of Orthodox Jews wandering around on the Ochils - they have a conference at Stirling Uni and they like to get out and about. I love seeing them - they're completely unlike anything else encountered on the hill all year, as they're in the black hats/coats, dark dresses, no concession to regular hill gear at all, and the blokes push oldfashioned prams into some unlikely situations. Thus far there's never been an accident as far as I'm aware, but if there was then it would be a case of an almost entirely self-contained group having to interact with the local rescue team. The same applies of course if they have a car crash on the way to the hill and the ambulance people turn up - but they will almost certainly have had diversity training, and it might help in such a situation.)

2
 RobAJones 19 Feb 2022
In reply to iccle_bully:

> Not wanting to be pedantic but then this is UKC - health and safety policy and safeguarding policy are two different documents based in two different sets of legislation and guidance. 

A fair point, but safeguarding appears in the Welfare, Health and Safety part of the inspection report and no concerns were raised about health and safety in it. I'd argue that for a parent the report written only a month or so before the incident gave the impression there was no longer a concern I these areas. 

 jonny taylor 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

Ah I see, thanks. I was interpreting "diversity training" slightly differently to what you meant.

A significant fraction of training is scenario-based, and is inevitably prioritised according to likelihood of encountering something (as well as severity, consequences of error etc). So, a team where your described situation was a likely occurrence might construct a training scenario around that situation. Beyond that, I'd suggest that teams would draw on the general principles of consent, and adaptability to unfamiliar situations (including in terms of human factors, which are often incorporated into scenarios in some form or another). Teams also draw constantly on the individual knowledge, skills and life experiences of individual volunteer team members.

Post edited at 20:17
In reply to Toerag:

I've encountered orthodox Jewish parties on the hill. All perfectly pleasant English lads, just totally inappropriate clothing and footwear. The leaders/teachers have a perfectly laudable wish to get their charges outside for some fresh air and fun. It's just that they don't have the slightest clue what the job involves. Each school should have a trained educational  visits coordinator who  checks proper risk assessment has been done. This isn't about paperwork but understanding what's involved and what could go wrong.  Those teachers shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a mountain with a party of kids and if a school keeps doing stuff like that it should be shut down before some kids get killed. 

Not just mountains. Imagine leading a bunch of children along the foreshore without knowing there's such a thing as tides.

Religious orthodoxy is all very well but it doesn't go with adventurous pursuits. That's all I'm saying. 

In reply to The New NickB:

> It is a private school, so it is very much like fining a private company.

I didn't know that, it's not stated in the linked article.

It's important not to put all private schools in the same category, there's a massive difference between hyper-expensive boarding schools, the day schools which primarily serve middle class people struggling to pay fees because they think education is important and 'niche' religious schools with non-mainstream views and small rolls.

> If this happened in a state school, I would expect fairly severe sanctions against against the staff and the leadership.

My daughters went to private school.  The school had organised winter climbing trips for S5 and S6.  They went to Glencoe with a teacher who was a qualified climbing instructor and a professional guiding company.  They had a comprehensive kit list and ice axes/crampons etc supplied by the guiding company and it was only a small group of kids who had an interest in mountaineering who went.

7
 Welsh Kate 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

I have written into a training scenario something pretty close to your hypothetical situation with a female Muslim casualty, when I was acting as cas for another team. I 'refused' to be treated by male casualty carers with no females present and they had to wait for a female team member to arrive before I 'consented' to having any clothing removed (I think I had a broken leg).

We have a couple of accident black-spots in our patch which have become popular amongst British people of Middle-Eastern and South Asian ethnic origin, we've treated casualties from a range of relgious and cultural backgrounds - and haven't actually experienced the situation I set in the scenario. But we could in the future - and we are generally pretty aware of cultural sensitivities and safeguarding issues.

Post edited at 21:28
 Dave Hewitt 19 Feb 2022
In reply to jonny taylor:

> A significant fraction of training is scenario-based, and is inevitably prioritised according to likelihood of encountering something (as well as severity, consequences of error etc). So, a team where your described situation was a likely occurrence might construct a training scenario around that situation. Beyond that, I'd suggest that teams would draw on the general principles of consent, and adaptability to unfamiliar situations (including in terms of human factors, which are often incorporated into scenarios in some form or another).

Thanks - that sounds good/sensible.

> Teams also draw constantly on the individual knowledge, skills and life experiences of individual volunteer team members.

That reminds me of a specific and quite unusual example. My better half teaches Japanese for a living and several of her family members are or used to be in one of the Cumbrian MRTs. A good few years ago she suddenly got a phonecall from her mother, asking her to speak to a complete stranger. It was a Japanese bloke who had been rescued and communication was an issue - but my better half's mother was staffing the rescue base and realised there was an easy solution. I think the Japanese chap appreciated - and was quite impressed by - being able to explain his situation to someone in his native language and who then could report back to the team in English.

I also vaguely know about another Japanese incident in the Lakes, which my better half would have loved to have witnessed. A few years ago several Japanese women somehow got themselves to Esk Hause dragging trolley suitcases. Goodness knows how they managed this, but it was a classic example of the intrepid and very determined Japanese women thing - I think the word for it is genki. Anyway, a rescue team got involved and it all got sorted out and was probably quite entertaining compared to a normal rescue - but some knowledge of Japanese manners (politeness, bowing etc) might well have been useful there.

In reply to Martin Hore:

Many local authorities use Evolve to plan and obtain approval for trips. I work in Herefordshire and all our outdoor adventurous activities,  whether centre run or staff led, require LA approval through Evolve before they can proceed.  My outdoor qualifications are always checked before any trip. I don't what percentage of academies or private schools have a similar system in place though. 

In reply to Pete Pozman:

> This isn't about paperwork but understanding what's involved and what could go wrong. 

Exactly. That's how proper risk assessments are done.

1
 Dave Hewitt 19 Feb 2022
In reply to Welsh Kate:

> I have written into a training scenario something pretty close to your hypothetical situation with a female Muslim casualty, when I was acting as cas for another team. I 'refused' to be treated by male casualty carers with no females present and they had to wait for a female team member to arrive before I 'consented' to having any clothing removed (I think I had a broken leg).

That's great, exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about - it's really good you were able to do that. An associated issue could well be a man (father/husband/whatever) of the injured female casualty being unhappy about male MRT involvement, in addition to the cas herself being unhappy about it.

1
In reply to scotthldr:

Don't know why you have received so many dislikes. A £30k fine is like only giving a 12 month ban to someone driving 6 times over the limit because they didn't kill anyone. 

 neilh 20 Feb 2022
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Well there is a turn up for the books….!

So will the new Scotland continue with private schools for the Edinburgh elite?

Must admit TIE that is a juicy comment… nice one.

2
 Martin Hore 20 Feb 2022
In reply to RobAJones:

Thanks Rob

> at the time I remember thinking a custodial sentence seemed harsh. 

My recollection is that the court found there was a deliberate attempt on the part of the teacher, who knew he was not qualified, to deceive his employer regarding his leader qualifications. This, rather than confusion as to the difference between "trained" and "assessed" (as in "I'm a trained mountain leader"). At the time I thought that the custodial sentence, though very worrying for teachers leading adventure activities with children, was probably just about justified in this particular circumstance. 

> the child who died was much younger than the other children and was on the trip because his mum was a teaching assistant on the trip.

Yes, I remember that bit now. I've just looked out the full HSE report  here  https://www.hse.gov.uk/aala/glenridding-beck-investigation.pdf.  It does highlight the issues faced by schools in allowing children of staff to attend visits they would not normally be considered old enough to attend, and the conflict of loyalties that can arise for the staff member required to supervise their own child at the same time as performing a role as a leader on the visit. This was something I regularly needed to advise schools on during my time at Suffolk CC. The same conflict of loyalty could apply to married couples or partners both attending the visit  - often so that the requisite male or female leader was present, and often where one of the partners was not themselves a qualified teacher or teaching assistant. I used to recommend that a couple attending a visit with one or more of their own children should count in the staffing ratios as "one leader of either gender". (One of many illustrations of how difficult it was to write guidance in this area that allowed for the existence of single sex couples....). 

Martin

 Martin Hore 20 Feb 2022
In reply to blackmountainbiker:

> Many local authorities use Evolve to plan and obtain approval for trips. 

Yes, EVOLVE was starting to be introduced in my last years as an LA adviser, though we didn't introduce it then in Suffolk.  I don't think software of this sort obviates reading and following appropriate guidance, but it does act as a good aide-memoire and should ensure that important steps are not missed.

Martin

Post edited at 12:07
 RobAJones 20 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore:

> My recollection is that the court found there was a deliberate attempt on the part of the teacher, who knew he was not qualified, to deceive his employer regarding his leader qualifications.

I was definitely guilty at the time of only following the case via press and union reports, but I don't remember them making that point. If that was the reason for the custodial sentence rather than

Mr Justice Morland told Manchester crown court that a video of the rampaging beck at Glenridding, on Ullswater, left no doubt that the tragic death of Max Palmer had been caused by "unbelievably negligent and foolhardy" behaviour on Ellis's part. 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/sep/24/schooltrips.schools

 it makes more sense to me. 

Not sure it would have changed my decision at the time to stop leading those types of trips and only help on those lead by others.

 Martin Hore 20 Feb 2022
In reply to RobAJones:

Thanks Rob

I expect there were several contributory factors that led the judge to decide on a custodial sentence, but if a little "rampaging" by young people on their first night on a residential is grounds for a verdict of "unbelievably negligent and foolhardy behaviour" on the part of the teacher in charge then many, including myself as a young teacher 40+ years ago, are guilty. 

Your own decision illustrates the challenge those of us advising schools faced after that verdict when trying to re-assure teachers that they could continue to lead school visits without fear of the same happening to them. My approach was always to say "in the unlikely event of an unfortunate accident, you would not find yourself in that situation, because you would have conducted a proper risk assessment, followed relevant guidance, and acted within your competence, as evidenced where appropriate by the NGB qualifications you hold".  I would never have said "and make sure your pupils never misbehave themselves on the first night of a residential".

Martin

In reply to neilh:

> So will the new Scotland continue with private schools for the Edinburgh elite?

They'd be crazy not to,  20% of school children in Edinburgh go to private school.  What would happen to council tax if the council had to take that on?

I live in the centre of town, the council schools near me are pretty sh*t. I could have moved to a suburb and spent my money on a mortgage instead of school fees but I like it here.

4
 neilh 20 Feb 2022
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Puts you in a new light though……..lol

2
 RobAJones 20 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore:

Thanks for indulging me, I taught nearby at the time and also knew quite a few staff in North Lancashire 

> I expect there were several contributory factors that led the judge to decide on a custodial sentence

I've managed to find the report that was supposed to reassure me, but didn't 

chrome-extension://bpmcpldpdmajfigpchkicefoigmkfalc/views/app.html

At the time I think it was this that concerned me most

If they do something, with the best of intentions, to the best of their ability, then they are 'bombproof' - even if it turns out that they got it wrong, or made the wrong choice. As long as they can show that what they did was not unreasonable, then that is all they need to do.

I wasn't really worried about an incident as extreme as this one and me being jailed, but as someone who had run a Scout Troop in the days when you could do anything provided it wasn't illegal, immoral or hang gliding my "unreasonable" was certainly different to many parents 

>but if a little "rampaging" by young people on their first night on a residential is grounds for a verdict of "unbelievably negligent and foolhardy behaviour" on the part of the teacher in charge then many, including myself as a young teacher 40+ years ago, are guilty. 

Ha, a van, earplugs and not being in charge are now my way of avoiding sleepless nights. I still remember being woken by three Y11 girls at 2am. on a ski trip, to be told they had climbed out of their bedroom window to go clubbing, they had left one girl there on her own and she hadn't returned. There was a blizzard outside, fortunately a young German lad had given her his jacket and was walking her back to the hotel.

> Your own decision illustrates the challenge those of us advising schools faced after that verdict when trying to re-assure teachers that they could continue to lead school visits without fear of the same happening to them.

I think the concern wasn't that teachers would be jailed, but they wouldn't be backed after more minor incidents and this might affect their career. It seemed to signify a change in approach, possibly as a result of parental expectations/pressure. More recently all United Learning teachers have signed a contract stating that they won't drink at all on school trips, it was in the small print and many have been surprised when I have pointed it out. I could manage a DoE weekend without a beer, but a trip to France without the odd glass of red ?  Hopefully I'm wrong but I'm inclined to think they would have thrown me under the bus if something had gone wrong and I'd had a glass or two.

In reply to neilh:

> Puts you in a new light though……..lol

It's not my problem you've got a prejudice against private schools and want to lump them all into the same category. 

6
 kevin stephens 20 Feb 2022
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> It's my problem I’ve got a prejudice against the English and want to lump them all into the same category. 

FIFY

3
In reply to RobAJones:

> . I could manage a DoE weekend without a beer, but a trip to France without the odd glass of red ?  Hopefully I'm wrong but I'm inclined to think they would have thrown me under the bus if something had gone wrong and I'd had a glass or two.

Scout leaders normally manage this by having a designated 'sober leader' rota whereby sufficient leaders stay sober to deal with problems.

In reply to Martin Hore:

> Thanks Rob

> I expect there were several contributory factors that led the judge to decide on a custodial sentence, but if a little "rampaging" by young people on their first night on a residential is grounds for a verdict of "unbelievably negligent and foolhardy behaviour" on the part of the teacher in charge then many, including myself as a young teacher 40+ years ago, are guilty. 

I think you mis-read the post -the beck was rampaging, not the students.

 Martin Hore 21 Feb 2022
In reply to RobAJones:

Well, this takes me back to my OE adviser days in a big way. So many points in your post that bring back memories of the discussions I had with heads, teachers and visit leaders back in the day. Unfortunately I can't open your link which would be interesting reading.

A constant dichotomy is that whereas staff on school visits should really regard themselves as "at work" they are in the majority of cases voluntarily giving up their own time to give pupils these valuable opportunities. 

The definition of "reasonable" was always problematic. We generally advised that "reasonable" in relation to supervision was "what a reasonably prudent parent would do in the same circumstances". Not necessarily very helpful, I admit. It obviously varies greatly with the age of the children. But it might be in conflict with your observation that "my unreasonable was certainly different to many parents". 

In relation to your ski trip anecdote, I would probably have responded as follows: If your risk assessment had identified these girls, based on your knowledge of their behaviour in school, as likely to act as they did, then you may have been expected to put in place stricter supervision, or not have included these girls on the visit. If, on the other hand, it was completely out of character, then an assumption that they would obey the rules of the visit, and not leave the accommodation without permission, was probably justified. 

Alcohol consumption by leaders, and by pupils, always gave rise to healthy debate. When I first started teaching in the 1970's it was not uncommon for school staff to go to the pub for a quick drink at lunchtime. But I'm pretty sure that would never be condoned today (even though it might still be part of the culture in Downing Street!). Following the line that visit leaders should consider themselves "at work" then I have some sympathy with the United Learning Trust's position as you describe in your post.

However, I used to advise that it was important to have a staff rota on residential visits which identified which staff were on duty at any time and ensured that there were always sufficient duty staff to deal with expected supervision requirements, including one staff member of each gender overnight. Duty staff should not drink and should be fully sober while on duty, exactly as would be expected in school.  Staff off duty need not be subject to quite the same restrictions, but should be able to be called upon to assist in an emergency. If they did drink it should not be more than would permit them to do that - keeping under the drink-drive limit would be appropriate - so the "odd glass of red" would not be out of the question. 

It's a generalisation, and grossly unfair to some excellent teachers, but in my time there was a feeling that ski trips did give rise to more issues than, say, D of E expeditions. D of E leaders tended to regard themselves as "at work" without question. They would take their own walking or mountaineering holidays at different times and away from pupils. Whereas there was a tendency for some staff accompanying ski trips to see the trip as "their" ski holiday, as well as the pupils' ski holiday. Probably only a minority of staff on a minority of school ski trips,  but the impression was there. Hopefully, that's changed since my time. 

I've found it interesting to re-visit all this, ten years into my retirement, but what I've suggested above should certainly not be regarded as authoritative advice today. And if any school or employer decides to impose stricter rules than the National or other guidance that's in place today, then they are of course entitled to do so, hopefully after appropriate consultation, and their staff will be expected to conform.

Martin

 Martin Hore 21 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

> I think you mis-read the post -the beck was rampaging, not the students.

Yes, I did. Apologies

Martin

Andy Gamisou 21 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore:

> When I first started teaching in the 1970's it was not uncommon for school staff to go to the pub for a quick drink at lunchtime

In the late 70s some of us in the upper sixth used to meet up with a few of them in the local on a Friday lunchtime!

In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> In the late 70s some of us in the upper sixth used to meet up with a few of them in the local on a Friday lunchtime!


In upper sixth in '95 we had a 'maths field trip' to the funfair then a pub. One of the teachers gave students a lift home after about 5 pints :-O.

Post edited at 16:09
1
 mrjonathanr 21 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> strict adherence means eschewing sensible footwear and clothing, in favour or that prescribed by the religion.

Is that so? Orthodox Jews are not permitted to wear footwear and clothing which is suitable for mountain activities?

Please can you provide a link to evidence for this? Thanks.

Post edited at 18:10
1
 RobAJones 21 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

> Scout leaders normally manage this by having a designated 'sober leader' rota whereby sufficient leaders stay sober to deal with problems.

Yep, IME it's still normal practice for most Schools and DoE goups I work with, my point was that it's not a option now for in a minority of schools and I can see that expectation becoming more widespread. Even so, a rota only seems OK if everyone is equally qualified/experienced, not often the case with the groups I work with, so the person the buck stops with doesn't drinks unless there is someone else with the same/better qualifications/experience.  

 RobAJones 21 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

> In upper sixth in '95 we had a 'maths field trip' to the funfair then a pub. One of the teachers gave students a lift home after about 5 pints :-O.

Venture Scouts '86 stopped in Paris for a day of culture on the way back from the Pyrenees. Instructions were to be back at minibus by 6. Two were late, we set off anyway and they had to make their own way home. 

In reply to mrjonathanr:

> Orthodox Jews are not permitted to wear footwear and clothing which is suitable for mountain activities?

I made no mention of any particular flavour of religion. My post wasn't about this particular incident, but about the potential relevance of sects of religions that have strict views, responding to wintertree's comment about religion not being relevant.

1
 RobAJones 21 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore:

> Alcohol consumption by leaders, and by pupils, always gave rise to healthy debate. When I first started teaching in the 1970's it was not uncommon for school staff to go to the pub for a quick drink at lunchtime. But I'm pretty sure that would never be condoned today

Not sure, I think the trend to shorten lunchtime has had more of an effect. I could name schools where a trip to the pub on Friday is fairly common, but they still have well over an hour for lunch.

> However, I used to advise that it was important to have a staff rota on residential visits which identified which staff were on duty at any time and ensured that there were always sufficient duty staff to deal with expected supervision requirements

As in my reply to Toerag I'd still be worried about the relative experience/qualifications. Another member of staff was present at the Glenridding incident. The leader rather than the boys mother would still have been responsible  f she had been left to supervise on her own?

> It's a generalisation, and grossly unfair to some excellent teachers, but in my time there was a feeling that ski trips did give rise to more issues than, say, D of E expeditions. D of E leaders tended to regard themselves as "at work" without question.

I wonder if this is partly due to the change in regulation. When I ran them ski trips were like DoE practises in the sense that during the day you took a group with you and instructed them during the day, now essentially they have to be put into ski school

 mrjonathanr 21 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> The particular flavour of religion, maybe not.

> But the strictly adherent nature of the religion does have bearing, in that the strict adherence means eschewing sensible footwear and clothing, in favour or that prescribed by the religion. And the attitude that they do not need to take outside advice.

Okay, but the words you used above clearly do mean if *the* religion has bearing, you are including the religion in this case, Orthodox Judaism.

You stated ''that the strict adherence means eschewing sensible footwear''.

I am not aware that this is true for any sect of Judaism, clearly from your reply you aren't either.

I am glad you acknowledged that.

1
 wintertree 21 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I made no mention of any particular flavour of religion. My post wasn't about this particular incident, but about the potential relevance of sects of religions that have strict views, responding to wintertree's comment about religion not being relevant.

Nit-picking, but I did not say religion was not relevant, but that I did not look up the religion of the particular school as I did not think that (i.e. the specific religion) was relevant.

I meant to reply to your reply to me but forgot.  You said:

> The particular flavour of religion, maybe not.

> But the strictly adherent nature of the religion does have bearing, in that the strict adherence means eschewing sensible footwear and clothing, in favour or that prescribed by the religion. And the attitude that they do not need to take outside advice.

It's a good point - there are more strict corners too many different regions, and characteristics like a preference for traditional methods and clothing and for eschewing outside interactions are shared across them.

I can see how an independent school catering to a group like this from any religion is going to be harder to engage in terms of safety on "adventure" trips etc.  Lots of really good reading on that on this thread.

Not relating to this incident but to several very similar ones:

"This is a symptom of a society which believes that secular rules do not apply to them; indeed, they are beneath them. If it's not in the Torah, it's a waste of time."

https://www.thejc.com/comment/opinion/strict-believers-are-beyond-belief-1.58859

 Bingers 21 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

When I took over running our school's adventurous activities camp in the Lake District in the early 2000s, I introduced a novel idea that we should keep a member of staff sober in the evening in case somebody needed to drive the minibus to take a child to hospital.  It was thought of as perhaps a good idea, but not one that attracted many volunteers.

The idea of keeping a Venture Scout Leader sober in the 1980s and 1990s was completely out of the question.

Times (for most at least) have changed.

In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

Thanks for that Jewish Chronicle article. It seems to conclude that a number of similar problems have arisen due to strict adherence.

 JOC1 22 Feb 2022
In reply to Bingers:

Not only yourself, but there are many references on this thread to the concept that those supervising students on particularly residential holidays/educational trips (and let's encompass all holidays here and lets assume the supervision of students of all ages, but particularly under 18's) would find it difficult to do without having an alcoholic drink or three.  Perhaps I am lone voice here, but I find it a slightly damming indictment on the supervising staff involved in these trips to present the notion that they (generally - not the ones involved in the OP incident) couldn't manage a trip of a few days without needing to imbibe alcohol and stay sober enough to deal with emergency situations should they arise.  I am not teetotal and am happy to have a alcoholic drink if out with friends, but I certainly don't consume alcohol every day or feel the 'need' to do so.  In fact I probably haven't have alcohol in a drink for about the last 6 weeks.  I don't imagine I am a lone voice and certainly think that if supervising staff between themselves can't undertake to remain sober enough between themselves to take care of their charges for a short break, maybe they shouldn't be sent on the job in the first place.  There must be staff out there that, like myself, can choose to take or leave alcohol and don't feel under pressure to consume it just because other people are doing so.  Such staff would be far better suited to the task than staff members who it seems to be assumed dive down the pub at every opportunity to get sloshed.  FWIW I am sure this is not the case and maybe we ought to give a bit more credit to the sense of those staff that go on such trips, particularly in today's risk averse society?

6
 Tringa 22 Feb 2022
In reply to JOC1:

As someone who many years ago was involved in quite a few school trips away, the staff are on duty pretty much 24/7.

The trips managed this by either not drinking, or having enough staff to allow nights off for some while others were on duty. My personal view is you need a minimum of two on duty at all times.

Dave 

In reply to JOC1:

Not sure if you noticed Bingera' closing remark "times have changed". Most of the comments about drinking on this thread seem to be historical references.

School DofE staff are usually volunteers. Leaders aren't exactly beating volunteers away with a shitty stick.

 RobAJones 22 Feb 2022
In reply to JOC1:

> would find it difficult to do without having an alcoholic drink or three. 

I don't think anyone is suggesting that there shouldn't be at least a couple of completely sober leaders at all times. I'm saying they also need to be the more qualified/experienced.  I also don't think anyone is suggesting getting completely drunk is appropriate either.

>Perhaps I am lone voice here, but I find it a slightly damming indictment on the supervising staff involved in these trips to present the notion that they (generally - not the ones involved in the OP incident) couldn't manage a trip of a few days without needing to imbibe alcohol and stay sober enough to deal with emergency situations should they arise.

You  are not alone, my previous employer agrees with you. 

>I don't imagine I am a lone voice and certainly think that if supervising staff between themselves can't undertake to remain sober enough between themselves to take care of their charges for a short break, maybe they shouldn't be sent on the job in the first place. 

If they are being paid, I agree 100%, but my experience is with volunteers. My concern would be a blanket ban would reduce the opportunities for young people due to fewer volunteers.

>There must be staff out there that, like myself, can choose to take or leave alcohol and don't feel under pressure to consume it just because other people are doing so.  Such staff would be far better suited to the task than staff members who it seems to be assumed dive down the pub at every opportunity to get sloshed. 

A recent DoE weekend, with a previous school, had about 50 kids. The adult supervision consisted of me and  the organiser who were similarly qualified, six experienced members of the teaching staff and another six members of staff in their first few years. The experienced members of staff (as usual)  didn't stop over night due to family commitments. Perhaps, after the kids were in their tents for the night, rather than enjoying talking to some new teachers while they had a couple of drinks, we should have said they weren't allowed, would this have put them off coming again, not sure. IMO it's also an illustration of where rules can be counterproductive. Had it been my old school, if they had wanted a drink, we would have relieved them of any responsibility and sent them to a different site  until the following morning. 

>FWIW I am sure this is not the case and maybe we ought to give a bit more credit to the sense of those staff that go on such trips, particularly in today's risk averse society?

Social drinking, when the kids are in bed/sleeping bags is, IME is still pretty common, an personally I don't have a problem with it. I understand the call for a blanket ban. Perhaps like you say I am partly a result of the culture I've grown up in and there are now people who are now far better suited to the task.  

Post edited at 10:00
 Martin Hore 22 Feb 2022
In reply to JOC1:

I wonder if you can name me another occupation where you can be asked to work beyond your contract, on duties that require you to be on call 24/7, not paid for any of that time, and denied any time during that period to socialise at your own discretion. If your suggestion is that only staff willing to volunteer on that basis should be considered suitable to assist on residential visits then there would be far fewer of these valuable opportunities for young people.

It would be great if we were prepared to fund state education sufficiently generously so that all children were entitled to residential opportunities led entirely by staff paid on contract for 24/7 duties. But we don't live in that world.

None of which detracts from what I thought was a reasonably safe and sensible approach to alcohol on residential school visits which I outlined earlier.

Martin

2
In reply to Toerag:

I'm massively against the encroachment of unnecessary "safety" restrictions, cotton wool nurturing of children and the scarcity of real adventure for kids these days that isn't totally decaffeinated, but FFS!!!    "Despite the winter conditions many of the school children did not have suitable equipment, a number of them were wearing school shoes and school trousers; and others were wearing trainers.." Whoever was supervising that must never be allowed to supervise a trip again without direct oversight from someone who's actually competent. An astonishing lapse of common sense

 RobAJones 22 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore

> None of which detracts from what I thought was a reasonably safe and sensible approach to alcohol on residential school visits which I outlined earlier.

You think it was reasonable and sensible, so do I, I'm guessing so would nearly all people of our age and experience of leading trips. That view certainly isn't universal now. Consequently I have done what I think I needed to in order to insulate myself from the judgement of people with significantly different views. I can only see this progressing in one direction and that isn't back to the culture in the 70's and 80's. It probably is progress, but I can't help feeling I was lucky to grow up in that era. 

Post edited at 11:35
In reply to captain paranoia:

> School DofE staff are usually volunteers.

I should probably clarify that:

unpaid volunteers.

 tallsteve 22 Feb 2022
In reply to Toerag:

Sadly the real impact of this fine is that schools all over the country will be reviewing outdoor activities and deciding they're "too risky".  Insurance companies will almost certainly be adding clauses to school insurance to effectively exclude these activities.  The actions of a couple of numpties will massively affect the future generations of kids who could have been lead by sensible leaders. 

More children lose than gain often from these types of events and fines.

 Tringa 22 Feb 2022
In reply to CantClimbTom:

> I'm massively against the encroachment of unnecessary "safety" restrictions, cotton wool nurturing of children and the scarcity of real adventure for kids these days that isn't totally decaffeinated, but FFS!!!    "Despite the winter conditions many of the school children did not have suitable equipment, a number of them were wearing school shoes and school trousers; and others were wearing trainers.." Whoever was supervising that must never be allowed to supervise a trip again without direct oversight from someone who's actually competent. An astonishing lapse of common sense

I agree, but unfortunately when things go wrong on the hill many of those who criticise will not have any experience of hill walking and therefore their view might/will be different to those who have and come to the conclusion someone messed up.

While sometimes, as in the case of the Gateshead school, someone really did mess up, but sometimes accidents do happen. Unfortunately, society seems much more litigious now so that chance of children being surrounded by 'cotton wool', increases.

I hope the supervising teacher from the Gateshead school will learn from the experience, realise what a disaster it could have been and either never lead such an activity again or learn how to do it properly.

Dave

In reply to Tringa:

>I hope the supervising teacher from the Gateshead school will learn from the experience, realise what a disaster it could have been and either never lead such an activity again or learn how to do it properly.

The Jewish Chronicle article linked above suggests that that is unlikely.

 JOC1 22 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin Hore:

Just because you asked for an example and not to necessarily make any of sort of 'point'.

There are a number of 24/7 ships crewed by staff that work shift systems, whereby all staff can still be required to turn out in emergency situations even when they are not on-shift.  Some such ships are 'dry' for just such reasons.  I've worked on such vessels in a previous existence.

 RobAJones 22 Feb 2022
In reply to JOC1:

>  Some such ships are 'dry' for just such reasons.  

Similar to oil riggs? I think the two weeks on two weeks off principle, could act as quite an incentive for teachers running DoE 

 Tringa 22 Feb 2022
In reply to mbh:

Yes, the Jewish Chronicle article is pretty damning - God preserve us, and more importantly those entrusted into the care of others, from people who think their belief in always better than knowledge.

Dave

 Martin Hore 22 Feb 2022
In reply to JOC1:

> There are a number of 24/7 ships crewed by staff that work shift systems, whereby all staff can still be required to turn out in emergency situations even when they are not on-shift.  Some such ships are 'dry' for just such reasons.  I've worked on such vessels in a previous existence.

I'd be surprised if crew are expected to be 24/7 on call without remuneration for any of that period. I expect, but don't know, that they receive additional allowances for 24/7 duties, or additional time off in lieu. It's common for teachers staffing residentials, for example D of E leaders, to work weekends 24/7 on call with no remuneration at all. Not suggesting though that teachers have as risky a job of course.

Martin

1
 Martin W 23 Feb 2022
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> ...the only example I know of where it seems to have been a factor was the 2004 Meall a' Buachaille thing...

In the chapter about the incident in Cairngorm John, John Allen writes very clearly at the end of the chapter:

The school involved was what is known as a faith school.  The Principal wrote in apology for the events of the day and the bad attitudes displayed.  Many practitioners of the faith, who were not in any way involved, also wrote.  I will say here that neither I nor any other rescuer places any responsibility at all on the faith involved.

There is no mention in John's account of any member of the party - which was all-female - not being entirely happy about being rescued by men, unless you count the teacher's refusal to shake hands with him on arrival at the bothy.  From his account of her evasiveness and procrastination she seems to have been completely out of her depth, scared of being blamed for the incident, or somehow annoyed at not having got the helicopter ride she tried to insist on when she first raised the alarm (she had actually called the RAF first, before eventually being persuaded to contact  mountain rescue).  Very possibly a rather toxic combination of all three.

From reading John's account in full - and putting the teacher's own behaviour aside - the "bad attitudes" referenced in the above excerpt seem to have arisen from an inexperienced or ineffective teacher* being left in sole charge of an over-large group of over-excited/cocky/slightly panicked adolescent girls.  The "What kept you?" remark was made by one of the girls as the party arrived at the bothy having made their way off the hill unassisted (as John had advised they would be able to).  By John's account she, and the rest of the party, treated the dressing down she got in response to that remark as a big joke.  In adults such behaviour would probably be described as entitled and disrespectful, but those teenagers probably still had a bit of growing up to do, and unfortunately the "responsible" adult supposedly in charge of them appears to have been anything but.

None of which is to undermine the validity of the point being discussed in the thread about diversity awareness as a requisite of MRT training, as suggested by many and highlighted by Welsh Kate's specific example.

* There was a teacher like that at my school for a while, but she didn't stay very long.  Teenagers 'en masse' seem to be able to sense weakness and vulnerability in supposed authority figures, and can exploit and attack it mercilessly - even when they are generally well-behaved for every other teacher in the school.

 Dave Hewitt 23 Feb 2022
In reply to Martin W:

> There is no mention in John's account of any member of the party - which was all-female - not being entirely happy about being rescued by men, unless you count the teacher's refusal to shake hands with him on arrival at the bothy.  From his account of her evasiveness and procrastination she seems to have been completely out of her depth, scared of being blamed for the incident, or somehow annoyed at not having got the helicopter ride she tried to insist on when she first raised the alarm (she had actually called the RAF first, before eventually being persuaded to contact mountain rescue).  Very possibly a rather toxic combination of all three.

Thanks - probably the word I should have used was not being entirely *comfortable* about being rescued by men (rather than happy). The group in question - as with the more recent Helvellyn rescue - appears to have been isolationist rather than integrated in terms of the wider world, with there suddenly - due to the on-hill emergency - needing to be more direct female-male interaction than would be the case in what passed for normal life for such a group. As discussed upthread, there are other groups where this could also be the case - most obviously religious ones but there are also plenty of wider "belief" groups where a rescue might prove to be awkward/unpleasant in communication/interaction terms, with casualties having the potential to be "less than polite" as John Allen put it in what sounded like carefully chosen words re the 2004 situation.

This kind of stuff is always going to happen from time to time, and there's no real fix - it's just a case of hoping that any particular situations don't lead to fatalities or calamitous injuries. The onus is surely always on the people being rescued to behave better in terms of pre-rescue decision-making and also politeness when the MRT turns up, but the sort of MRT prep described by Welsh Kate does seem to be important too, both out of courtesy/understanding and also as a means of easing any anxieties during the actual rescue.

In reply to JOC1:

I have supervised and run countless residential trips over the past 20 years and have always been totally sober. As a person responsible for other people's children, I am on duty 24 hours a day for the entirety of the trip and am prepared to be woken up in the night to deal with any incident which occurs. Fortunately, my policy of 'get the children totally knackered every day' results in fairly peaceful nights. That said, residential visits are knackering for the supervising staff and you always have to bite your tongue when parents, at the end of the trip, ask  you if 'you had a nice holiday.'

 JOC1 26 Feb 2022
In reply to blackmountainbiker:

Exactly my point and if you can do so I imagine so can many others.  You are a credit to the cause and completely validate my observation that it seems a little unfortunate to suggest that most/all supervising staff would end up down the pub if they could when I am sure many wouldn't.  I take my hat off to your 20 odd years of sobriety whilst looking after young people and to all others that take their role as seriously

In reply to JOC1:

> my observation that it seems a little unfortunate to suggest that most/all supervising staff would end up down the pub if they could

I think the only one suggesting that is you.

Maybe, in your wide experience of supervision, you have experienced most supervising staff going to the pub. My experience is different.

 JOC1 27 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

Well that's what it appeared to me when I read through the thread.  The conversation had started to include more and more references to staff ending up down the pub, sometimes with the older kids and that was actually miles from the issue in the OP.  I just felt that such references were quite unfair on all the staff that take their roles more seriously than that.

 RobAJones 27 Feb 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Maybe, in your wide experience of supervision, you have experienced most supervising staff going to the pub. My experience is different.

I can only  think of on instance in the last 5 years. School DoE group arrived Friday evening at a campsite just outside Keswick. All the staff promptly headed off into Keswick to return around midnight. We did have words but that was more about them leaving the kids completely unsupervised, which had resulted in disruption for the other campers. 


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