Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Children On School Trips Banned From Family Stays.

BBC Wales report report that  ban on letting children on school exchange trips stay with host families abroad because of fears about their safety has been backed by councillors in Ceredigion.:

The policy, first adopted last year, also stops foreign students staying with families when visiting Ceredigion.
The authority's cabinet voted unanimously to approve the policy.
Blaenau Gwent, Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf councils operate similar policies.
BBC Wales has asked Ceredigion council why it has taken so long for the policy to be officially approved, but the authority is yet to reply.
Selwyn Waters, chairman of the Lampeter Twinning Association, said Ceredigion's rules stopped the organisation taking school children to Saint-Germain-sur-Moine in France which is twinned with the town.
"We appreciated the idea because of the safety of the children, I was conscious of that," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"But I feel it is very prohibitive to these children.
"Cultural exchange is very much a part of twinning and when these children go and stay in the home of French families, they spend most of the time with them.
BBC Wales 20th March 2012
At first this looks like an over reaction by these councils.

But  lets imagine what the reaction of the BBC would be if  just pne child was harmed or abused by the family they were staying with?

Although councils carried out Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks  (at what cost) they would be pilloried by the very reporters who accuse them of overacting.

And it would be difficult to do this in another country.

Its all very well criticising this policy but just as social workers are piloried one day by the media for breaking up families and then are accused of negligence when a child  that has not been removed is abused.the next. Councils will face the same accusation of not protecting children in thier care  even if its temporally.

Alas no one can win  on these circumstances.

A report went before the cabinet on Tuesday by Darryl Evans, Ceredigion's head of educational wellbeing, recommending approval.

"This decision was based on safeguarding children and ensuring their safety," said Mr Evans about the school trip policy.
"It was felt that despite undertaking CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks or similar and utilising family agreements there was still a largely unknown element to such arrangements.

"It was agreed that exchange visits should still be undertaken because of the great benefits to the child but that this element of the trip should no longer take place."
Mr Evans said it was also agreed that children should still spend time with families as part of their visit but this should be subject to the following rules:
Children to visit families in pairs;
Children to carry an emergency contact number at all times;
An agreed time when the children would return to their overnight accommodation.
 However, any new visits would have to use other forms of accommodation such as hotels, hostels etc."All new exchange visits that have been organised over the past 12 months have now been organised to make the use of alternative forms of accommodation and no visits have been cancelled or failed to take place."
 BBC Wales 20th March 2012

It is sad that councils have to do this but I  can't see any alternative under the present climate and these councils seem to be acting properly.

So why the sneering journalism?

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