CHILDREN visiting a windswept beach during Storm Imogen were there after a risk assessment was carried out, according to Hampshire County Council.
A picture of the group on the beach at Hill Head on Monday afternoon caused outrage after it was shared on social media.
But a spokesperson for the council, which runs the nearby Stubbington Study Centre where the children were taking part in an exercise, defended the action.
She said: ‘Before they were taken on to the beach, experienced and well-trained professional outdoor leader staff, who know the area well, carried out a risk assessment that included inspecting the site, testing the conditions and taking account of Met Office forecasting.
‘Staff followed well-established and comprehensive risk management strategies and policies for outdoor education and learning, in line with national guidance from the Department for Education and the Health & Safety Executive.’
She said the children were not permitted on to the beach until the tide was going out and the beach had been clear of sea water for at least 50 minutes.
She added that the children were kept away from the sea, with staff undertaking on-going risk assessments.
She said: ‘The council considers that the activity was well-managed and can confirm that all the children returned to the study centre safe and well, having had an exhilarating and positive learning experience.
‘It should be noted that the angle from which the photograph was taken has significantly foreshortened distance.’