Notes for School Visit Risk Assessments

When planning your visit to the Botanic Garden and preparing your Risk Assessment, you may like to consider the following:

On arrival and departure

  • There is no coach parking available at the Botanic Garden, so coaches must drop-off and pick-up passengers on the High Street.  It is advisable that the coach approaches from the east (facing towards Oxford city centre), so the passenger door opens on the Botanic Garden side, away from the main road.
  • Coach parking is available in the Oxpens Coach Park.
  • The Botanic Garden can provide parking for a school minibus.


During your visit

  • Schools parties are limited to a maximum of 35 students.
  • All school parties must bring four adults, and students must be supervised at all times.  During the visit your party will be divided into two groups, and each of these groups must be accompanied by two of the adults you have brought.
  • You will be outside for part of the visit, so come dressed for the weather.  It is recommended that you wear waterproof clothing and sensible footwear with good grips, as the ground can be slippery underfoot both during and after wet weather.  In warmer weather it is advisable that you bring hats and plenty of sunscreen.
  • The ground can be slippery underfoot, both in the Garden and the Glasshouses, so care needs to be taken when walking around the site (no running).
  • Students must take care when touching plant material.  Students must not touch any of the plants in the Arid House.
  • Students must not eat any of the plants at the Botanic Garden, and should wash their hands thoroughly after the visit and prior to eating.
  • Please bring your own First Aid kit.  You are responsible for administering any First Aid treatment required by your students during their visit.  You must advise us in advance if any of your students have allergies.
  • Any equipment provided for use during the visit will be age-appropriate.
  • There are several ponds at the Botanic Garden, and part of the Garden is adjacent to the River Cherwell.  Please ensure your students stand back from the edges of the ponds.  You will not be directed along the river during your visit.
  • All our trees are assessed on a regular basis.
  • The use of machinery is kept to a minimum during school visits, and tools are safely stored.  The Land Rover, tractor and mowers will only be used when groups are safely out of the way.
  • If the Botanic Garden is experiencing severe weather conditions, the site will be closed for safety reasons.  If this occurs on the day you have booked to visit, your visit will be cancelled and you will be informed as soon as possible.  (Please note that this is highly unlikely.)
  • The Botanic Garden is open to the general public every day except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so there may be members of the public on site during your visit.
  • We will send you a photography consent form in advance if we would like to photograph your group during their visit.
  • Our Child Protection Policy is available here.


In the event of an emergency

  • In case of emergency the teacher in charge should call 999.
  • The nearest Accident and Emergency department is John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9DU, telephone 01865 741166.
  • The nearest police station is St Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1SZ, telephone 101 for non-emergency enquiries, 999 for emergencies.


A downloadable version of this information is available here.