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Health & Safety advice

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Where can I find advice on health & safety and child protection issues?

Your local authority is the first port of call for information and advice, as they will have their own policy and forms which must be completed.

Schools Online

The British Council Schools Online site includes a section on health & safety issues when planning a visit, as well as a comprehensive school exchange starter kit, child protection guidelines and new Homestays guidance from ASCL. This should be used in conjunction with your school's own health & safety policy.

Department for Education

The Department for Education in England provides advice on health & safety for schools, including trips abroad. This replaces and incorporates advice from the 1998 publication 'Health & Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits'.

SEED Good Practice Guide

The Scottish Government Good Practice Guide.

Health & Safety Executive

HSE publication on school trips and outdoor learning activities.


The schoolzone website offers advice for schools and institutions on taking children on offsite educational trips.

Health & Safety developments

England and Wales: DBS checks

The latest guidance on health and safety for visits abroad can be found in the Department for Education's 'Keeping Children Safe in Education'paper.

It is important to note that there is no requirement for DBS checks to be carried out for host families, either in England, Wales or in Germany, as confirmed by the Department for Education in a statement to the Association for Language learning at the beginning of 2018.

For more information on vetting, please visit the Disclosure and Barring Service website: www.gov.uk

Scotland: PVG scheme

Disclosure Scotland introduced the PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) scheme in February 2011. There is no requirement for host families to become members of the PVG scheme; it is left to the discretion of organisations to determine for themselves whether they want to require PVG Scheme membership for host families. For more information, please visit Disclosure and Barring Service website for Scotland: www.disclosurescotland.co.uk

Northern Ireland: AccessNI

Since December 2012, the DBS has carried out the ISA’s current functions in Northern Ireland and AccessNI continues to provide a disclosure service for Northern Ireland.

AccessNI is currently working to develop and deliver a new
Portable Disclosure Service. The new service will allow individuals to apply for a criminal record certificate only once and then, if they need a similar sort of check again, to reuse their existing certificate, with their employer checking online to see if it is still up to date. This will avoid many unnecessary repeat applications.

For more information, please visit the AccessNI website for Northern Ireland: www.nidirect.gov.uk