Hug Group – Using technology to keep children safe outside the classroom [#BettFuturesTakeover]

At The Hug Group, we know that today’s classroom looks and operates in a totally different way to the classes of yesterday. The single BBC computer stuck in the corner of the room has been replaced. Schools make regular use of iPads, laptops and Smart TVs. Children happily accessing a range of software from cloud-based apps is a regular sight in schools. We firmly believe schools should be acknowledged and praised for adopting and accepting the rapidly changing face of modern technology.

Taking into account the amount of tech usage in the classroom, it is surprising that the systems and methods utilised to facilitate learning outside the classroom remain resolutely in the past. Thankfully, occurrences of children reported missing while under school care are rare and, for this, we can only thank the careful planning, risk assessment, monitoring and permissions process every teacher undertakes as part of pre-trip preparation.

While the government has acknowledged and attempted to reduce the burden of risk assessments, as teachers working at Hug Group, we have first-hand experience of the pressures from SLT to perform in-depth and overly bureaucratic risk assessments for every trip. It is hardly surprising, faced with the extra workload and a fear of being blamed, schools are increasingly reluctant to enhance learning by providing children with the opportunity to explore the world around us.

So how can Hug Group help? For every trip, there will be universally common risks. Top of this list will be children getting lost / the group being split. ClassHug has been developed to mitigate this risk. We provide teachers with a simple app download and a small beacon worn by the child. The trip leader simply pairs the beacon with their device. ClassHug then gets to work, automatically carrying out a headcount and immediately sounding an alarm if it cannot ‘see’ all the children. Before the trip, the leader defines a safe distance for the child to be from the device. If a child goes beyond this distance, the alarm will also trigger. We can’t stop a child wandering off but we can, through use of our app, provide teachers with the ability to instantly check the whereabouts of all the children and to receive an immediate alert if a child does get split from the group.

Hug Group know there is no replacement for the care and dedication of the responsible, supervising adult. We’re not looking to be a replacement. We’re simply offering an alternative approach, using modern technology, to help keep children safe and help alleviate some of the stress caused by constant monitoring of groups of children.

Meet the Hug Group team at Bett 2018, in the Bett Futures area.

For more information, visit Hug Group’s website.