Ski trip safety

Ski Leader Guide

Safety first - your questions answered

Do you comply with DfE safety guidelines?

Yes, we comply with the current DfE guidance relating to the health and safety of pupils on educational visits. PGL is a founding member of the School Travel Forum which promotes good practice and safety in school travel. We are fully assured members of the STF.

Is my group’s money safe with PGL?

Yes, We are a member of ABTA which means you have the benefit of ABTA's assistance and Code of Conduct. Many of the travel arrangements that we sell are protected in case of the financial failure of the travel company. We are also ATOL Holders for any booking made with PGL Air Travel Ltd. Please ask us about the protection that applies to your booking. In addition we operate a no surcharge guarantee for coach groups, which protects you from any surcharge once you have confirmed your booking.

Can you provide risk assessments?

A copy of our Safety Management System is available online and contains all the information about our accommodation standards and sample risk assessments. This should provide all the information you or your LA requires, but if you have further paperwork in this area, please forward it to us, and we will be happy to complete it on your behalf. Alternatively you may choose to complete it on a preview trip.

What standard is the accommodation that you use?

The type of accommodation we use on our programme varies greatly, from 3 or 4 star hotels to the more basic youth hotels, chalets and hostels. All of it, however, has been selected by a senior representative of PGL or an agent acting on our behalf, and we have in place a stringent and externally verified accommodation auditing procedure, full details of which are available in the Safety Management System document.

How are your Reps recruited and trained?

At Head Office our Ski Operations Manager takes responsibility for staff recruitment and training. Many of our Reps work for us year on year, but around 30-40% of the staff will be new each year and are offered contracts subject to Disclosure and Barring Service clearance and satisfactory completion of a training course.

Are all your instructors qualified?

Yes, absolutely. At each of our destinations we employ the services of Ski Instructors who are qualified to the high standards set by local governing bodies.

What is your instructor ratio for skiing?

Ski instructors are allocated in the ratio of 1:12 paying pupils. However, some groups choose to take an extra instructor, depending on the split of skiing ability in their group. Please contact our office for details of the cost of an additional instructor.

And for snowboarding?

To ensure maximum benefit for boarding PGL recommends a group size of no more than 8 for beginners and 10 for intermediate and advanced, though this may vary between resorts and individual ski schools. Please note that additional supplements may apply for snowboarding – please contact our office for details.

What specialist equipment is supplied by PGL?

All our ski courses include the hire of skis, poles, helmets and boots and PGL is pleased to include the hire of carving skis. Snowboarders have soft boots and boards. All our suppliers are contracted to provide equipment that meets CEN standards or the local relevant standard. Checks are carried out annually by PGL to inspect our suppliers’ equipment.

What happens in the case of an accident or illness of one of my party?

Local instructors leading activities will hold first aid qualifications and there will be procedures in place to deal with any accident or emergency. The PGL Rep with your group will assist and liaise with all local doctors, hospitals and first aid staff on your behalf. Our staff are aware of procedures to be followed in dealing with an accident or emergency. They will also liaise closely with you to ensure that we comply with your wishes. Records are kept of any accidents or incidents.

Who is responsible for the group’s behaviour and welfare?

You, as Party Leader, are in loco parentis, so are ultimately responsible for their behaviour and welfare. Clear handover and handback procedures should be followed between yourselves and instructors. Our “Code of Conduct” can be found in Appendix 1 of our Safety Management System booklet, and for the sake of the safety and enjoyment of all taking part, should be adhered to at all times.

Do you run fire drills?

On arrival your PGL Rep will deliver a fire safety briefing and show you and your party emergency exits and meeting points as well as run through the evacuation procedures. A full fire drill including all children, teachers and party leader may be available on request.

Do all coaches have seatbelts?

Following Government legislation, all British coaches transporting young people under 16 years of age must be fitted with seatbelts. All UK coaches hired by PGL conform to this requirement. Many European coaches are also fitted with lapbelts, though they are not yet subject to the same rules as the UK. However, the coach transporting you from Britain will fulfil most of the transportation required by your group whilst abroad. Wherever fitted, seatbelts must be worn and it is the Party Leader’s responsibility to ensure children comply with this rule. This also applies across Europe.

How many coach drivers will there be?

In order to comply with EU regulations concerning drivers’ hours etc, there will be two drivers accompanying each coach group.

Is my group fully insured or do I need to take out separate insurance?

Extensive winter sports insurance cover is included in the PGL Ski package. It covers each child and adult for the whole period of the trip including travel to and from resort. It also covers all the activities organised by PGL, 24 hour medical assistance and Organiser Liability cover up to £5 million. Full details of our insurance will be supplied at the time of booking.

Can Party Leaders experience a PGL Ski trip before they travel with their group?

Yes – we encourage teachers to take advantage of our preview trips and see the accommodation at first hand, or simply find out how a ski trip typically runs, particularly those who are new to PGL. We also host SCO courses designed for Party Leaders.

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DfE Guidelines - safety on school visits

A major initiative to help you meet your obligations

PGL Travel Ltd is an Assured Member of the School Travel Forum.

The School Travel Forum is a group of leading school tour operators who promote good practice and safety in school travel. All Assured Members of the STF adhere to a rigorous Code of Practice and Safety Management Standards which meet the requirements of DfE guidelines and are externally verified each year by suitably qualified independent Health and Safety professionals. During the course of developing the STF Code of Practice, and in addition to liaising with the DfE, advice has been sought from all leading educational Unions and Associations. The STF initiative has the support of the SHA, NAHT, ATL, PAT and is welcomed by the Outdoor Education Advisors Panel. The principles on which it is based have the support of the NUT, and the NASUWT advises members wishing to organise school trips to use companies that have this type of scheme.

Details of the School Travel Forum Code of Practice are available from