School visits, journeys and residentials have huge benefits for students, and large numbers of successful learning outside the classroom experiences of this kind take place each year. However, fears about safety and misunderstandings about the application of health and safety law often discourage schools and teachers from organising such activities.

These misunderstandings stem from a wide range of issues, including frustrations about excessive paperwork, fears of prosecution if the activity goes wrong, and the belief that a member of staff will be sued if a child or young person is injured.

The Health and Safety Executive has made it clear that it understands learning outside the classroom helps to bring the curriculum to life, provides deeper subject learning and increases self-confidence. The HSE has published a statement encouraging schools to ditch unnecessary paperwork, ensuring that precautions are proportionate to the risks involved.

In this section we discuss:

  • Risk/benefit – Do educators have a responsibility to help young people learn how to manage risks for themselves, and how can brilliant residentials support them to do this? What exactly has the HSE said about learning outside the classroom experiences?
  • Signposting extra support – Where can schools get help to identify and meet their responsibilities, and to ensure students’ safety on residential?


Be inspired by our case studies from Learning Away schools.

Access free resources to help you plan your own brilliant residentials.

Have a look at our theory about how change happens on brilliant residentials.

Read our recommendations for schools, providers, policy makers and researchers. 

Read our independent evaluation report.