We are aware that some parents and carers were concerned not to have received any text or social media updates on some of the Y3/4 overnight camps. This is useful feedback. We apologise for any worry this might have caused and will try to be more constent in future. Details below.
We wouldn’t necessarily expect staff to message that children had arrived, the journey being the short hop to Colwick Park. For comparison, we do not message when children arrive at sports events, swimming or any other local visit. Reception visit Gedling Country Park regularly but staff do not text to say they’ve arrived. We work on the asumption that no news is good news and we’d hear of there was a problem. Which we would. We had also assumed that anyone particularly anxious about their child making the journey might have phoned in to ask or requested a confirmation call or text in advance. Our apologies for being wrong in this assumption. We’ll address this for the future.
Clearly, parents and carers want positive confirmation that children have arrived, so we will provide that. In future, a text will be sent to say any residential trip or journey out of the immediate area has arrived safely.
We are also aware that there was a difference in the amount of communication from the camp. Some groups updated on Twitter, whilst others didn’t. Some staff use Twitter and Facebook, others don’t. They are not obliged to. The regular ‘tweeters’ tweeted. Those without accounts didn’t.
There were also varying connectivity situations – wi-fi was not accessible and a data signal was not always present either. From a Safeguarding persepctive, we’d rather staff focussed on the immediate needs of the children and were not distracted by looking for a signal or composing social media content.
Had anything been wrong, staff had a system set up to notify school and a member of Senior Leadership was reachable at all times in the event of an emergency, This was part of the comprehensive Risk Assessment and a land line was available for this express purpose.
Situations vary – some particular episodes of the residential were far more time consuming and pressured for the staff than the others. Children were more demanding of support and staff time and some schedules were more crowded. We would rather staff were focussing on the safety and wellbeing of the children in their care than using social media, so will in future achieve more conistency by not updating on social media from trips and residential as they happen, only reporting retrospectively. Staff have now been instructed on this and it will be written into our Trips and Visits Policy and any future risk assessments.
Overall, the focus must be on managing and looking after the 30 or so children on the camp, rather than managing communications back to school or home.
I am sure you would like to join me in conveying thanks to staff for spending a night away from their families and home comforts, working what was essentially a 24 hour shift with little or no sleep for no recompense and for giving the children such a great experience. Some of them more than once in the week!