Beach school guide for practitioners and volunteers

A bit of information about our New Beach school venture.


The importance of volunteers

Firstly we appreciate all volunteers time and commitment as we, at nursery would be unable to carry out beach school sessions without our outings ratio of 1 adult to 2 children. It is our outings policy to ensure we keep this ratio for the safety and well-being of the children, this also allows for the children to have a high input of adult support and guidance which enables them to get the most from this experience, which is why we need to make sure that all staff and volunteers are well informed. Before each specific session where there is potential of additional risk you would be briefed beforehand on the specific and necessary policies and procedures, with detailed regard for safety when specific activities that will be undertaken.

    • Climbing on rocks/ slippy surfaces
    • Respectfulness of marine life and how to sensitively explore it
    • Group safety
    • Personal safety awareness
    • Potential escape routes
    • Effective methods of communication
    • Fire safety procedures
    • Tool safety procedures
    • Respect of boundaries   A little Beach School BackgroundBy following the practical guidance and becoming familiar with our risk assessment and policies we can keep the children and ourselves safe without compromising our learning outcomes, for the various activities and sessions we intend to develop.
  • The intention of a beach or forest school is to entirely immerse children into an open air environment which allows them to extend their own learning environment learning more about it, to learn practically and have a greater respect for the world around them as they experience firsthand, the seasons, nature and the impact we have on the ecosystem and the significance of taking care of our environment. .
  • It embraces a very active way to learn and engages children to think creatively and develop skills that they may not encounter in a formal teaching/learning environment.
  • It is a very physical approach to learning which encourages co-ordination, problem solving, negotiation as well as fine motor skills, balance, body strength.
  • Children encounter a practical approach to tools and equipment that they may not come across as readily in their traditional learning environment. This means we teach them to assess and manage risk by encouraging safe rules, listening a, mentoring so that children can go from being taught and mentored to be autonomous and safe in their respect of their experiences.
  • With your support children can become very competent and self-sufficient, engaged in a physical experience that excites them and embraces practical learning. To do this successfully we need volunteers who are informed and fully on board with the ethos of Beach/forest schools  
  • You will also always be fully informed of who is in charge of what activities and also who is responsible for what aspects of the day and most importantly emergency procedures in the event of an incident.


Health and Safety

  • We will always have a ratio of 1 adult to 2 children
  • There will be detailed risk assessment for each beach school session/activity
  • This will include a detailed site assessment for each location used
  • There will be a detailed emergency action plan that you must be familiar with
  • There will always be a plan for standard/normal operating procedures.
  • Staff training will be up to date, the beach school leader will have the relevant first aid and childcare qualifications which will be recorded in our policies.
  • The nursery/beach school will hold the correct insurance and ensure all activities are covered.


  • Beach school recommended equipment for staff, children and volunteers
  • Parents and staff and volunteers will be informed of specific changes to the appropriate equipment required for different sessions and different seasons. But a fundamental equipment list should be quite uniform for most sessions
  • To include practical clothing and footwear, hats, waterproofs will be taken from nursery if required for the children during the session.
  • Food and drink will be provided by the setting unless it is a full day experience when children would bring a disposable packed lunch as they normally would for nursery and this would be stored appropriately during the session to comply with health and safety and food hygiene protocol.


Standard Nursery beach school equipment

  • First aid kit, specific fire first aid kit if this was a planned activity
  • Group outings register with all contact and emergency details
  • All relevant medication
  • Mobile phone (check reception) recorded the beach location reference in case of an emergency.
  • Changes of clothes/welfare equipment/wipes/tissues etc
  • Whistle or a method of ensuring you are heard when the group may be dispersed
  • Recommended equipment includes torch/safety knife/3 metres of rope


 Beach school guidance for setting and practitioners

There will be a significant amount of preparation for beach school sessions, prior to the event the above guidance and information for volunteers is relevant but in addition we need to consider additional aspects of practice.

All practitioners will be completely confident in emergency procedures for each beach session and these will have been discussed and understood by all involved. High staff ratios mean we can be very secure in our procedures and reassured by our numbers.

Prior to each session we will all be clear on the agenda for the day and be aware of any specific requirements for individuals on the day, any SEND children or those with specific health or learning difficulties or requirements will be supported by an experienced member of staff.

All staff will be confident in the arrangements so they can support our volunteers And support the group’s ability to carry out the planned session.

All equipment will be checked prior to departure and a checklist will be established to ensure nothing is omitted. Each member of staff should check each child’s equipment, coats, shoes etc prior to departure, or in cases where we meet at the beach, things checked before parents leave them, as it is essential that each child is appropriately equipped to be safe, comfortable and able to enjoy the session.


Initial safety checks will be made by the manager or supervisor prior to the session, and risk assessment amended and planned activities altered to accommodate any significant changes for safety or environmental reason.

A safety survey of the session will be completed after the event so we can maintain healthy practices and a reflective response to subsequent sessions