Educational Visits

What are the main requirements for staff-pupil ratios on school visits?

There is no legislation defining exact requirements for the supervision of pupil on school visits. However, most Local Education Authorities do set suggested or required limits in local policies. It is essential that teachers seek out advice from their own LEA on minimum requirements.

Nationally, no guidance exists on this matter, other than the more general advice available to schools from the Department for Education at

Guidance was produced in 1998 by the DfEE giving outline guidance on supervision ratio. The following is lifted directly from that text:

"Some LEAs set their own levels of supervision for off-site visits, which county and controlled schools must adhere to. In other schools decisions must be made, taking the above factors into consideration as part of the risk assessment. Staffing ratios for visits are difficult to prescribe as they will vary according to the activity, age, group, location and the efficient use of resources. However, a general guide for visits to local historical sites and museums or for local walks, in normal circumstances, might be:

  • 1 adult for every 6 pupils in school years 1 to 3 (under 5s reception classes should have a higher ratio);

  • 1 adult for every 10-15 pupils in school years 4 to 6;

  • 1 adult for every 15-20 pupils in school year 7 onwards.

The above are examples only. Group leaders should assess the risks and consider an appropriate safe supervision level for their particular group. There should be a minimum of one teacher in charge.

In addition to the teacher in charge there should be enough supervisors to cope effectively with an emergency. When visits are to remote areas or involve hazardous activities, the risks may be greater and supervision levels should be set accordingly. The same consideration should be given to visits abroad or residential visits. Some non-residential visits with mixed groups will need a teacher from each sex."

This guidance was taken from the 1998 document: Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits.