Council apology over school trip sunburn pupil

  • Published

A council has been told to apologise after a school pupil on a foreign trip had to be bandaged after being so badly sunburned.

The unnamed pupil, from the Moray Council area, needed a wheelchair as the sunburn was so severe - and then faced a 36-hour trip home on a coach.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) said staff should have explored other options to get the pupil home.

Moray Council said it accepted the report's findings.

The secondary pupil - known only as Child A - was taken to hospital with sunburn while on the trip abroad with a school which has also not been named.

The SPSO found a full risk assessment had been carried out but that the child's legs were burned after being allowed to wear shorts with no sun protection for half an hour.

The pupil ended up bandaged from thigh to toe.

The ombudsman said that while staff kept the child's family informed of the situation they ought to have explored with them other options for getting the youngster home more quickly.

'Child's dignity'

The report said: "We found that a full risk assessment had been carried out and that pupils were reminded several times a day to administer sun protection.

"We considered that the council's actions aimed at preventing pupils from getting sunburned were reasonable, even though they were not effective in preventing child A from becoming sunburned.

"We were critical of a decision to allow the child to wear shorts and no sun protection when their legs were uncomfortable.

"We found failings in the council's actions once the severity of the child's condition was known."

Staff initially took advice from a pharmacist then later took the child to a local hospital.

The child was bandaged from thigh to toe and needed a wheelchair.

The report said: "We considered that staff, who could see the condition child A was in, ought to have explored other options for getting child A home more quickly, taking into account the child's dignity, privacy and comfort."

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