Excellent news for school children and providers of residential school trips was announced by the Department for Education yesterday. The precious experience of educational visits has been lost for students for over a year, despite some local day trips being possible. With the new announcement that follows the Government’s reopening milestones, residential trips in the UK will be possible from 17th May, which means that the summer term now presents an opportunity to replace some of these lost experiences.
Why school trips and visits are so important
The benefits of educational trips and visits are significant and the need for these experiences are perhaps greater than ever for the young people whose lives have been impacted so much in the last year. Visits don’t have to be expensive or complex to achieve many of these benefits but the opportunity for personal development gained during a residential experience is quite special and something that most of us as adults remember most fondly from our school days.
Compliance to COVID-safe guidelines essential on school trips and visits
We do all need to remember however that the battle with COVID is not yet over and the Government advice does include some basic guidelines on residential visit risk assessment. School Educational Visits Coordinators (EVCs) play an important role in advising colleagues on risk assessment. Whilst this remains a new risk to manage on school trips, schools are likely to benefit from the support of members of the Outdoor Education Advisors’ Panel (OEAP). The existing measures used by schools will need to be maintained during visits and this will include consistency and size of school ‘bubbles’ as well as maintaining good bedroom ventilation, personal hygiene and frequent cleaning of hard surfaces. And of course, the risk of transmission is so much lower outdoors, so it makes sense to get outside as much as possible.
Schools are used to operating under these challenging conditions but most providers hosting these visits will have had less opportunity to experience this and the Government guidance directs providers to that used by others in the hotel and guest accommodation sector. Many such providers are clients of Pharos and we know from the conversations over the last year that the efforts they have made in ‘keeping their heads above water’ is only matched by their eagerness to welcome schools back to a safe space.
So, whilst everyone in the sector must remain careful and conduct thorough planning and risk assessments, the return of residential trips and visits is fabulous news!
Support with keeping residential trips safe
If you are a school looking for educational visits advice to ensure compliance before signing off trips and visits over the next year, Pharos’ educational visits advisors can provide assistance. Simply call +44(0)1183 800 140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re a provider of residential trips and require support in planning or responding to COVID-specific challenges or incidents of any kind, our team of specialists are always keen to help. Simply call +44(0)1183 800 140 or email email@example.com