Newcastle Pupil Left Behind on London School Trip

A 14 year old pupil was left behind at King’s Cross station after the rest of his group boarded a train back to Newcastle without him.  The group were on a school trip to London and were supervised by four teachers. According to the Principal of the Discovery School, Gareth Rowe, the pupil immediately alerted station staff as to what had happened. He was put on the next train north and was accompanied by train guards in First Class until York, where he was met by a teacher.

Rowe has apologised to the pupil’s parents and has since stated that although the pupil “was never in any danger” due to the boy's quick reaction, “there is no excuse for what was a serious error on our behalf” and that the incident highlighted a “failure in our processes which will now be reviewed and amended so this can never ever happen again”

Newcastle City Council has been made aware of the incident and has said it had received assurances from the school that the pupil was safe and that the incident was under a full investigation.

Schools should have all the relevant policies and procedures in place for school trips, including those covering the supervision of pupils and how to respond to in emergencies, such as a pupil going missing/being left behind.

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP)’s guidance contains the following tips:

It is sensible to arrange groups into smaller sub-groups that are easily managed and supervising staff should each have a group that they are in charge of. It will be communicated to pupils what group they’re in and who their leader is.

Leaders should carry a list of names of all the pupils in their groups and should regularly check that every pupil in their group is present, especially in crowded public areas and when getting on and off transport. If using public transport, pupils should be made aware of their destination so that they aware where they need to get off should they become separated on a busy train/bus/Tube. Pupils will be told the importance of ensuring that they stick with their group and will be asked to immediately alert leaders if a fellow pupil is missing. Leaders will tell pupils exactly what they need to do if they become lost or separated from the group. 

For further guidance from the OEAP, see here. Additionally, see how Handsam can help with planning your school trip with a huge bank of trip ideas, guidance on safety and our online Trip Planning System.

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An inquest is expected to begin in November this year.