Policies

Mercy Secondary School, Goldenbridge
Policy on School Tours

1. This policy applies to all members of the teaching staff taking students from the school premises and is applicable to students participating in such activities.

The Code of Behaviour of Mercy Secondary School applies to all students when engaging in activities organised by the school both during and outside of normal school
hours and applies anywhere that students are identified as students of the school/representing the school.

2. The organisation of school tours and activities out of the classroom is an integral part of a holistic education. Such activities are seen as an extension and reinforcement of
classroom activities and serve to significantly enrich both the academic curriculum as taught in the school and the social and personal development of those students
participating in them.

3. The Department of Education and Science (Circular Letter M 20/04) has devolved to the Board of Management the authorisation to grant approval for educational tours by
school groups both inside and outside the State subject to certain criteria. Permission for such tours is a matter for the Board of Management, subject to the
recommendation of the Principal. In granting approval, consideration will be given to:

· Conformity with the criteria in Circular Letter M20/04. Please see Appendix (1).
· The number of other proposed events to take place during the course of the year.
· The timing of the event and its effect on other school activities.
· Its implications for the normal teaching routine of the school.
· The suitability of travel and accommodation arrangements.
· Financial implications for the school, students and family.

Where permission is granted by the Board of Management for tours outside of the State, the template (Appendix 2) should be completed and retained by the Principal for examination by a Department Inspector in the course of a normal school inspection.

4. Day Tours/Activities within Ireland

4.1 Day Tours may take place during the school day or may
extend beyond normal school hours.

4.2 Staff wishing to take groups on a tour must complete the tour proposal form (Appendix 3) in the School Tour Policy located in the electronic folder in google apps. and
forward it to the Principal at least two weeks, where possible, before the proposed date.

4.3 When approval has been given, Parent(s)/Guardian(s) should be informed, in writing, of the details of the tour/activity and must sign a consent slip which will be retained by
the organiser. In Transition Year, parents have signed a general permission slip in September for routine outings for such subjects as Sports/Environment Education/Tourism.

4.4 A Notice giving preliminary details of the tour should be placed by the organiser on the Notice Board in the Staff Room. A form for this purpose is available in the School
Tour Policy in the google apps folder (Appendix 4). The organising teacher should write the tour/trip into the school electronic diary and identify teachers involved. The
organiser should check with the Year Head/Tutor for any medical issues concerning the participants.

4.5 The student/teacher ratio may be expected to vary depending on the age and maturity of the students involved, the length of the tour/activity and the activity to be engaged
in.

4.6 The school will always have the mobile ‘phone number of The staff involved in case of emergencies.

4.7 It may be necessary for Senior Cycle students to travel independently to and from events. Parents will be advised by the organising teacher in advance. Junior Cycle
students may never travel independently.

4.8 On occasion, staff may drive students to/from an event, but should never travel alone with a student. The teachers insurance must be of acceptable cover to do this
(e.g.teacher union insurance covers such a journey while other insurance does not as cover it as seen for personal use not work use). Otherwise they may not drive a
student.

4.9 On completion of the tour, a participant should be encouraged to write a short account for the newsletter.

4.10 An Accident Report form must be completed for any accidents which occur. Such report forms are available in the Staff Room and should be returned to the Office on
completion.

4.11 Students who have a history of inappropriate behaviour may be excluded from such tours.

5. Tours Outside of Ireland

5.1 Staff wishing to take students on a tour abroad must complete the Tour Proposal Form available in the Staff Room and forward it to the Principal. The request must be
received before the end of May in any school year.

5.2 A tour overseas must be organised through a bonded travel agency.

5.3 The number of students participating may vary depending on the nature of the tour and the staff/student ratio recommended by the Travel Agency.

5.4 If a tour is oversubscribed, priority is given to students who are studying the appropriate subject.

5.5 Students who have a history of indiscipline may be excluded from tours.

5.6 The initial letter to parents should contain a draft itinerary and a deadline for registering and payment of a non refundable deposit. All monies collected will be receipted.
Money collected will be lodged in a general school account by the school.

5.7 The organiser will factor into the budget an extra amount to cover the extras not accounted for in the basic cost. Surplus funds will be credited to the relevant school
account.

5.8 Parents will be advised of deadlines for the payment of the remainder of the tour fee. It is important that these deadlines are met.

5.9 Parents are requested to sign a consent form (See Appendix 5) and a Medical History Form (See Appendix 6)

5.10 Details of accommodation, travel arrangements, personal items that the student need bring and guidelines for spending money will be sent to parents.

5.11 The tour organiser reserves the right to alter the itinerary if necessary.

5.12 Where a tour involves a Sunday, every effort should be made for the group to attend Mass.

5.13 All passports must be valid/within date for the duration of the trip

5.14 Parents should be informed that students with non-EU passports may need visas for EU countries.

5.15 Students must have their European Health Insurance Card for travel to countries in the EU.

5.16 Parents have the responsibility to ensure that all documentation is correct.

5.17 Each teacher should have responsibility for a group of students. The teacher should have a list of the mobile ‘phone numbers of the group and students should have the
school phone number in their contacts.

5.18 If a student(s) is/are found in serious breach of the Code of Behaviour, the Principal should be contacted immediately.

5.19 On completion of the tour, a participant should be encouraged to write an account for the newsletter.

5.20 An Accident Report form must be completed for any accidents that occur. Such forms are available in the Staff Room and should be returned to the Staff Room on
completion.

5.21 A financial statement should be furnished to the Principal within two weeks of the completion of the tour.

6. Contact Information

6.1 The organiser will have the phone numbers of the Principal and Deputy Principal.

6.2 The following information will be forwarded to the Principal prior to departure:
· A list of all students and staff participating
· The itinerary to be followed with contact details of Hotels.
· The emergency telephone number of the Tour Agent.
· The mobile numbers of staff on tour.

7. Professional Responsibilities of the Staff

Staff must exercise an appropriate duty of care to all students. Our Child Protection Guidelines are central to this approach.

8. Review and Evaluation of the Policy
The policy will be reviewed after three years and amendments will be proposed to the Board, if necessary.

Adopted by the Board:……………………………………..

Signed:………………………………………...Chairperson

RULES FOR MERCY SECONDARY SCHOOL OVERNIGHT TRIPS/TOUR

The purpose of the rules set out below is to ensure that the enjoyment of the trip is not hindered for any student or teacher.
RULES
1. All school rules, and in particular the Policy on Alcohol and Drugs, apply.
2. Being in the possession of or consumption of alcohol or any other behaviour altering substances in any form will be considered a serious violation of the rules and immediate
action will follow.
3. The excessive consumption of behaviour affecting drinks such as red bull, espresso coffees or other drinks with enhanced caffeine is prohibited.
4. Smoking is prohibited as under the school rules.
5. Students are expected to attend all set meals unless permission given by teachers.
6. Students are to remain with the group during the day and evening unless authorised by the teachers.
7. Hotel rooms/apartments are to be kept clean and tidy at all times. Failure to do so may result in sanctions.
8. Students are expected to comply with set bedtimes and lights out times.
9 Students are expected to treat teachers/supervisors/instructors/tour guides/coach drivers with respect at all times.
10 Teachers reserve the right to search students’ bags/rooms at any time if they suspect contraband is present.
11. All students are expected to turn up on time for all roll calls.
12. Foul language is not acceptable from any student on the trip at any time.
13. FREE TIME – during trips it is common for students to be given some ‘free time’. During such time students should always travel in groups (minimum of 3). Under no
circumstance should any student walk on their own. During this time students are expected to treat their surroundings with the utmost respect and are also expected to adhere
to all the school rules applicable above.

Sanctions
Failure to comply with the rules of the trip will lead to sanctions which will be decided by the teachers/supervisors on the trip. Sanctions might include fines, loss of pass for
certain activities, etc. More serious breaches of rules will result in phone calls to parents/guardians with possible follow up action in the school after the trip. Where necessary,
disciplinary meetings will be convened by the accompanying staff. In the event of very serious and uncontrollable incidents students may be required to return home. The costs
in such an event will be charged to the parents/guardians. This will be done after full communication with the parents/guardians.

The teachers accompanying the group reserve the right to amend any rule during the trip as necessary. Clear notice will be given of any such changes to the students.

Practical Advice
Any student taking part on a trip should try their best to adhere to the following advice while on the trip:

· Try to find out as much as you can about your destination before you go.
· Do your best to help fellow students and teachers at all times.
· Do your best to ensure that all students are included in group activities at all times
· During foreign trips, try to speak the language of your host country if known.
· Refrain from using bad language at all times on the trip
· Do your best to be considerate of others at all times.
· During the trip, students may be given necessary and reasonable instructions about matters like dress, punctuality, behaviour etc. Prompt and good natured compliance is
essential for the benefit of all, and the smooth running of the trip.