Safety & risk management
Following are the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education and can be found via the following link https://www.education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/school-trips-overseas-and-exchanges
Have you read and understood the school’s policy and procedures on school trips?
Are you aware of your legal obligations as a trip leader?
Make sure you know what your obligations are when students are in your care. These will be outlined in the policies set by your school Board of Trustees. For more information, see the Ministry website on student wellbeing and pages 41-50 and 52 of the EOTC Guidelines.
Have you considered your school’s emergency plan?
Your school will have an emergency management plan in place for emergencies, traumatic incidents, evacuations, and lockdowns. These may be useful for planning emergency procedures while overseas. You can find out more about this on the Ministry website below.
Are there any likely Health and Safety risks related to activities or accommodation?
As part of your risk assessment you need to be aware of health and safety risks and take appropriate action. Make sure you have someone who is First Aid certified and collect emergency contacts and health information for all students, staff, and other adults on the trip.
Have you visited the destination and accommodation before?
If you have not already visited the destination, ask about inspection visits. If you know of another school that has been to the location before, consider contacting them to ask about their experience.
Which staff or other adults will be accompanying you?
Make sure there is an appropriate balance in terms of gender, experience, skills etc. Is there someone with a first aid certificate? See EOTC Guidelines Chapter 4, and Module 5 for more information. If parents or non-school staff will be supervising students, make sure you are familiar with them and are comfortable that they are appropriately prepared to have students in their care.
What are the insurance arrangements, and are they sufficient?
If travelling out of New Zealand, all students, staff, and other adults should have appropriate insurance, including travel insurance. See advice below on insurance for more detail. When choosing an insurance provider, ensure you make informed choices and that you clearly explain these to families.
Is the travel company bonded (either TAANZ or IATA)?
We recommend that you chose a bonded travel agent to protect against financial losses if refunds are needed. Travel agents that are bonded through either the Travel Agents Association New Zealand (TAANZ) or the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will provide financial protection if the travel agent collapses and cannot provide refunds.
When you choose a travel agent who is not a member of TAANZ or IATA, there is a higher risk of losing most of any deposits for travel if the agent has financial difficulty. Find out more about bonding schemes for travel agents on the TAANZ website.
You should disclose the risk of non-bonded travel agents to families and the Boards of Trustees, and get agreements from them if you use a non-bonded agent.
Are there any passport/visa implications?
If travelling out of New Zealand, make sure that all students, staff, and other adults on the trip have passports that are valid for at least six months from departure, and the appropriate visas to leave and re-enter New Zealand (if not citizens). Check the visa and entry requirements for the destination country and ensure that all people on the trip have appropriate visas if needed.
What does the cost of the trip include and exclude?
You must clearly communicate with students and family which activities or amenities are included in the cost, and which are additional. For example, ski trip prices often only cover the cost of two-hour morning lessons; afternoon lessons are extra. If food, transport, or accommodation are not included in the cost of the trip, you must ensure that all students, staff, and other adults on the trip are able to cover the costs of these things themselves.
What is the payment schedule?
Families may find it difficult to cover the full costs of a trip in one payment. You can set up a payment schedule to provide options for families to pay in instalments. Any payment schedule should be outlined with the school and the family as part of the agreement to attend the trip or exchange. If staff, students, or other adults on the trip will be given money to spend while away, make sure they keep receipts or a record of their expenses.
The importance of travel insurance for yourself and your group can never be underestimated, and the risks associated with having an inappropriate or inadequate cover for a school group were well illustrated in 2020 with the advent of Covid-19.
In 2020, a number of schools had their Covid-19 related insurance claims for cancelled travel, declined by the insurer. By contrast, for those schools who placed their trust in Service Travel, they enjoyed a claim settlement ratio which was the envy of many. This was due to Service Travel partnering only with dedicated travel insurance providers (as apposed to general insurers and brokers who provided this as an add-on) and adopting a collaborative approach with the schools throughout the insurance claim process.
Based on historical claim settlements and dedicated group policy wording, Service Travel has selected Allianz and Cover-More as their preferred group travel insurance providers.
Significantly reduced premiums are extended to school groups; based on the number of students and accompanying teachers, destination/s and policy duration.