How to Create a School Trip Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause
harm to members of the group, so that you can consider whether sufficient measures have been taken to ensure the safe return home of everyone involved.

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Are you preparing for an upcoming school trip? If so, you’d be forgiven for putting off the task of conducting the risk assessment.

While it may not be the most exciting exercise, it’s a crucial step in planning a school trip. After all, as a teacher, the safety of your students during a school trip is your top priority.

So, how can do you make life easier for yourself when conducting a risk assessment?

In this guide, we'll break down the key components of a risk assessment and provide you with an easy-to-follow template to simplify the process of creating one for your trip.

In this guide

  1. What is a school trip risk assessment?
  2. Do I need a risk assessment?
  3. What should a risk assessment include?
  4. How to create a school trip risk assessment
  5. Additional ways to assess risk for your trip
  6. Considerations at different stages of your trip
  7. Read the full guide

What is a school trip risk assessment?

A school trip risk assessment is essentially the process of creating a complete list of potential hazards associated with the planned activity. For each of those hazards, you evaluate the risks associated and outline the control measures to minimise or eliminate the risks.

Why is it necessary? First and foremost, it’s the law. Guidelines from the UK government state that health and safety law requires schools to assess risks and establish appropriate control measures.

Beyond this, students are young and particularly vulnerable to hazards. Carrying out a risk assessment will help you to ensure the safety and well-being of students, as well as staff and any volunteers during school trips. By conducting a thorough risk assessment, you can demonstrate your school’s commitment to student safety and be better prepared to handle any emergencies that may arise.

Do I need a risk assessment?

Whether you need to conduct a full risk assessment will depend on the type of trip you are planning:

Routine trips

These might include recurring visits to a local sports centre, or place of worship, for example.

In these cases, the visits are generally covered by the school’s existing policies and procedures for everyday risks, such as slips and trips.

Government guidelines state that these trips can be considered lessons in a different classroom and only require minor planning beyond the educational aspect of the trip.

Trips that require risk assessment

When a trip isn’t covered by a school’s existing policy, it will require a risk assessment. This might include scenarios where:

  • The trip takes place a large distance from the school
  • The planned activity has associated risk, even if only minor
  • Any specialist skills or personnel are required (beyond the usual attendees, such as teachers)

With this in mind, the vast majority of school trips, including those offered by Next Generation Travel, will require a risk assessment to be completed.

What should a school trip risk assessment include?

Your risk assessment should include a summary of all the potential hazards associated with your planned trip. For each of these, you should then evaluate the associated risk and establish your strategies to minimise or eliminate the risk. It can also help to acknowledge the remaining risk with your proposed strategies.

Here’s a short summary of the key criteria your risk assessment should cover:

  • Hazards: Identify potential sources of harm or danger, such as busy roads, physical activities, or extreme weather conditions
  • Risks: Outline the specific risks associated with the hazard, such as physical injury or dehydration
  • Persons at risk: Establish who could be affected by the hazards, including students, staff, and volunteers
  • Control measures: Outline your strategies to minimise or eliminate the identified risks, such as providing safety gear or establishing clear rules and guidelines
  • Comments/actions: Based on your suggested control measures, summarise the actions or things to consider for each
  • Residual risk rating: Assess the remaining level of risk after implementing the control measures — it can help to establish a ranking system in advance
  • Approval: Ensure that your risk assessment is reviewed and approved by the appropriate authorities, such as senior leadership in your school

risk assessment control measures sample

Example school trip risk assessment template

The table below provides an example of a typical risk assessment. Feel free to use this as a starting point, which you can adapt to suit your needs. Click to download.

How to create a school trip risk assessment

We’ve already covered what your risk assessment should include, but it can still feel like a big job to complete one from scratch.

So, let’s break it down into a few key steps:

Step 1: Identify your potential hazards

Brainstorm all possible hazards associated with the trip, considering factors like the location, the planned activities, your mode of transportation, and the people attending the trip.

Step 2: Create a system to rank risks

Develop a standardised method for evaluating the likelihood and severity of each identified risk. This could be something as simple as “low”, “moderate”, and “high” — or a graded system from 1 to 5. With this system in mind, give each hazard a rating.

Step 3: Determine who might be affected

Consider all individuals who may be impacted by the identified hazards, including students, staff, volunteers, and members of the public. Do the hazards pose different risks for different individuals? Will each group require different strategies to mitigate the risk?

Step 4: Create preventative measures to mitigate risks

For each identified hazard, plan out strategies to minimise or eliminate the identified risks. This could be something as simple as ensuring appropriate clothing is worn, through to bringing in qualified instructors or first-aiders.

Step 4: Stress-test your plan with scenarios

Anticipate potential emergency situations and create contingency plans to address them effectively, such as designating emergency meeting points or establishing communication protocols. Running through these scenarios will help you to spot holes in your own plan and adjust for them accordingly.

Additional ways to approach risk assessment for school trips

In addition to the standard risk assessment process outlined above, there are several other approaches you can consider when planning a school trip. You can use these in combination with a generic risk assessment, as a way to assess potential risks in more detail.

Event-specific risk assessment: STAGED approach

The STAGED approach is a framework for assessing risks associated with specific events or activities during a school trip. In this approach, you consider the following criteria associated with your planned activity:

  • Staffing — who is attending? Do there need to be any individuals with special training?
  • Transport — how will you be getting to the event? Will that come with potential risks?
  • Activity — what does the event entail? Will that activity create potential risks?
  • Group — what is the composition of the group going to be? Does the size of the group have implications for risk, such as headcounts and the time it takes to carry out tasks en-masse?
  • Environment — what will the environment during the event be like? Will it be calm and casual, for example, or noisy and crowded? Will this create potential risks?
  • Distance — how far will you be travelling for the event? Does that pose any risk?

The aim here is to think in more detail about the typical things that are involved in trips centring around a specific activity or event. You can carry this exercise out ahead of your typical risk assessment, to help identify hazards.

Plan B risk assessment

Developing a Plan B risk assessment is all about anticipating potential disruptions, or unexpected changes to the original trip plan and planning your backup solution to ensure your pupils are safe and the trip can continue uninterrupted. For example, what will you do if your coach breaks down, or storms mean your planned ferry route isn’t running?

By expecting the unexpected, you’re able to plan in advance and avoid being caught off-guard.

Emergency procedures

In the event of an emergency, the last thing you want is to feel unprepared.

Establishing clear emergency procedures can go a long way in helping you to keep a clear head and manage any unexpected, potentially stressful situations during a trip. When planning emergency procedures, you might want to consider:

  • Who are the emergency contacts for pupils and volunteers on the trip? 
  • What is your communication protocol if something happens?
  • Do staff have the necessary training and resources to handle emergencies effectively?


Providing suitable insurance coverage is an important part of risk management planning for school trips. The type of insurance you need, such as travel insurance or medical insurance, will depend on the nature of your trip.

When you book a trip with Next Generation Travel, you will be automatically covered by our group travel insurance with Endsleigh Insurance.

What to consider within risk assessment by trip stage

When conducting a risk assessment for school trips, it's might also help to consider the different stages of the trip and the specific risks associated with each of those stages.

To provide some inspiration, here's a breakdown of some key things to think about in relation to each stage of your trip:

Pre-tour planning

During the pre-tour planning stage, the biggest focus will be that you have all the paperwork and information you need, including: 

  • Parental consent forms
  • Medical information about your students
  • A detailed itinerary of activities
  • Booking details and confirmation for activities, travel, and accommodation
  • Insurance policy details


When assessing risks related to transportation, you need to be sure that your group will be able to get to and from all intended activities without risks to safety or disruption of the trip.

Things to consider might include:

  • Mode of transport
  • Vehicle safety
  • Driver qualifications
  • Journey times
  • Potential road hazards
  • Potential delays, such as airport security
  • Customs and border control

Develop contingency plans for any potential transportation disruptions and ensure that you are clear on safety procedures.


It’s important to evaluate the safety and suitability of your chosen accommodation.

This might include looking into:

  • Fire safety
  • Facilities
  • Security measures
  • Access to emergency services
  • Specific risks associated with the location, such as proximity to water or high-crime areas


Assess the risks associated with planned activities, taking into account factors such as:

  • Physical exertion required
  • Specialised equipment requirements
  • Potential environmental hazards
  • Age-appropriate activities
  • Supervision of activities by responsible adults

Specific activities will often come with unique risks, so this can be particularly helpful to dig into and ensure nothing is overlooked.

Where to get external support for risk assessments

You don’t have to do everything alone, there are a number of organisations offering guidance and support for risk assessment and related safety topics:

  • School Travel Forum (STF) — Members of the School Travel Forum, such as Next Generation Travel, are required to meet standards set by the LOtC Quality Badge and School Travel Forum code of practice so schools can book and travel with confidence. 
  • LOtC Quality Badge — Look for a educational tour provider, such as Next Generation Travel, with the Learning Outside the Classroom quality badge, awarded by the School Travel Forum. This helps schools to identify good quality and safe provision. It also helps to reduce red tape making it simpler for teachers to plan school trips. They also provide a number of helpful resources for trip planning.
  • Evolve Advice — Evolve Advice offers consultancy services to help with risk assessment and related safety matters when planning, as well as during, a school trip. It is a paid service, but can provide welcome peace of mind for trip planners.
  • edSAFETY — A partner of Evolve Advice, providing general health and safety support. edSAFETY supports schools in rethinking how health and safety is approached by offering a dynamic, innovative solution that breaks free from static practices.
  • Outdoor Education Advisor’s Panel (OEAP) — The Outdoor Education Advisers' Panel (OEAP) produces national guidance relating to educational visits and outdoor learning. They have many useful good practice guides as well as information on 'making the case'.
  • GOV.UK — The UK Government provides advice on health and safety for schools, covering a variety of topics, including health and safety on educational visits.

For more information about external support when planning your next school trip, head to our external safety support resources page.

Get additional support when you book with NGT

When you book a school trip with NGT, our team of specialists don’t just help you to plan the perfect bespoke trip for your learning goals, we also help with the planning and can provide guidance around risk assessment.

Simply find a school trip and enquire with our team to get started.

Teachers Pack Download

This document has been created to assist you with the completion of your own risk assessments for your trip so that you can manage the safety and wellbeing of your group throughout the visit

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