British school trip to Barcelona ends in severe burns for teenagers

July 18, 2015 12:12 pm

The pupils returned from the trip covered in large blisters and burns
all over their bodies. One had to receive treatment at a specialist
burns unit. Photo / Thinkstock

Four teenagers had to be taken to hospital with severe sunburn after a school trip to Barcelona.
The
pupils returned from the trip covered in large blisters and burns all
over their bodies. One had to receive treatment at a specialist burns
unit.
The youngsters from Buile Hill Visual Arts College in
Greater Manchester had gone on a trip with 41 other pupils and were
burnt during a six-hour visit to a water park near the Spanish city.
After a gruelling 26-hour journey back to the on a coach and ferry,
the pupils were met by their furious parents who rushed them straight to
hospital.
The mother of the boy who had to be taken to a burns
unit said staff should have done more to protect the pupils. The school
said teachers had warned the children about the dangers of being exposed
to the sun, but a minority ignored them.

Connor Pritchard returned from the trip last week covered in
blisters and suffering from severe burns. His mother, Estelle, 37, said:
‘I could see the bulge of the blisters on his arm. He tried to lift his
shirt up and I broke down when I saw the burns.
‘No teacher hung around to speak to me. I just took one look and said, “Right, let’s get you to hospital”.’
The
15-year-old suffered burns to his back, arms, and shoulders and
required specialist treatment at the Royal Manchester Children’s
Hospital. Mrs Pritchard added: ‘It was awful to hear them screaming. I
had to watch as they scraped the damaged skin from Connor. It was
terrible to see – he was in so much pain.’
She says the
youngsters were only told on the morning of the trip to the water park
to put sun lotion on and were not urged to ‘top it up’ during the day.
The pupils arrived at the water park at 10am and stayed until 4pm.
Mrs
Pritchard, who said Connor will require hospital treatment for at least
six weeks, added: ‘I think it was total neglect on the part of the
teachers.’
But head teacher James Inman said the four members of
staff did everything they could. He added: ‘At a pre-trip meeting the
children and their parents were warned about the dangers of the sun.
They
were instructed to bring and apply factor-50 sun cream regularly
throughout the trip and both the children and their parents signed a
code of conduct agreement. This explicitly states they must wear
factor-50 when exposed to the sun and follow teachers’ instructions on
this.
‘They were also reminded that teachers are not allowed to touch children to apply sun cream.
‘On
the day of the pre-planned trip to a water park, the group were told at
breakfast and before leaving the coach on arrival to apply sun cream
and be careful of the sun. The group were positioned in a shaded area
and reminded regularly during the day to keep applying sun cream.
‘Unfortunately
a small minority of children chose to ignore every one of these
warnings and teachers’ advice to protect themselves by staying in the
shade.
‘Staff were very upset that the children did suffer burns
but there was nothing they could do. The other children had a superb
holiday and did not suffer sunburn because they followed instructions.’
Mrs
Pritchard said she did not attend the meeting because Connor was a late
addition to the trip due to another pupil dropping out. She sent him on
the trip with factor-15 lotion.
Mr Inman added: ‘We may need to
review the whole issue of school trips if children refuse to follow
explicit instructions which they have signed up to.’
Kevin
Courtney, of the NUT, the UK’s largest teachers’ union, said: ‘These
children are teenagers so they have to take some responsibility for
their own actions.’

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