DfE guidance finally gives all school trips the green light!
12 May 2021, 07:20
by Kate Moore
This blog post has been superseded - please read the latest article DfE clarifies advice on school trips abroad
Following the latest update from the DfE published on 19 July 2021, we have published a new blog post - PLEASE read DfE clarifies advice on school trips abroad for the latest advice.
DfE publishes key dates for the resumption of school trips
The Department for Education (DfE) updated its coronavirus operational guidance on 10 May 2021 with important new information for English schools waiting to book their next educational trip.
The guidance for Scottish schools is slightly different and can be found here.
The latest DfE guidance recognises the significant benefits of school trips on pupils' educational development, health and wellbeing and sets out the steps that will allow children to enjoy visits in line with the government's roadmap.
As expected, the DfE has confirmed that schools will be able to take domestic residential trips from 17 May and sets out a new timetable for the resumption of international school trips.
Crucially, bearing in mind the long lead times it takes to plan and organise a school trip, the updated guidance also confirms that schools are now able to book educational trips, as long as adequate financial protection is in place. We take a look at what this advice means for schools below.
When schools can take educational trips at home and abroad - the key dates
Domestic educational day visits and residentials - back on
Schools have been able to take a domestic day trip since 12 April and the DfE’s latest guidance confirms that English schools can also take domestic residential trips from 17 May 2021. All trips must be conducted in line with relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidelines, such as keeping children in consistent bubbles, and following an appropriate risk assessment.
School trips abroad can restart from September 2021
Though some international travel is set to resume on 17 May, the DfE recommends that schools do not travel abroad this academic year given the ‘current complexities’ attached to international travel. This means that schools will not be able to take foreign trips until 5 September 2021 at the earliest. The DfE will continue to review the situation and will update its advice in advance of Step four of the roadmap, which is expected on 21 June.
Now schools can book new educational trips – what you need to know
English schools can now book new trips
The DfE has given schools the greenlight to book some new educational trips as long as they have ‘adequate financial protection’ in place, such as using a tour operator which offers flexible COVID booking terms.
That’s why our COVID Peace of Mind Promise gives groups extra reassurance as well as flexibility to change their trip plans up to a month before departure. Follow this link to find out how you can book and travel with confidence.
And if you need further reassurance, don’t forget that all deposits paid to Voyager School Travel are protected by ABTA and ATOL which means that, even if the worst happens, your booking is financially protected.
There is still time to book a school trip for 2022 and have something positive for your students to look forward to. With our COVID peace of mind promise, you can book with confidence.
Help with COVID-19 risk assessments
Annex C of the updated DfE guidance includes new risk assessment information and sets out the conditions that need to be met to undertake a safe school trip.
For schools who are ready to plan a new trip, we have published information about our extra COVID-19 precautions and back-up measures to ensure that your educational visit can be done safely. Read about the extra COVID-19 precautions and back-up measures in place so you can book your next trip with confidence.
The School Travel Forum has also published a comprehensive toolkit for teachers to use when planning their next educational visit. Developed by a risk management agency in conjunction with OEAP National Guidance, the Teacher Toolkit gives senior leaders and parents confidence that all aspects of the trip have been considered and addressed. Please contact us for a copy of this useful resource.
When is the right time for schools to book their next trip?
There is considerable pent-up demand from groups who missed out in 2020/21, and we expect a reduction in availability due to enhanced safety protocols, which means that it is a good time to get the ball rolling now. This is especially true for schools who don’t want to miss out on their preferred accommodation or favour specific dates for their trip.
We also expect availability to be squeezed by a lack of supply; as we come out of the pandemic, not all hotels will offer the flexible booking conditions that our schools require, which will reduce the number of hotels we are able to use. Therefore, we strongly recommend schools book as early as possible.
Ready to plan your next trip?
Contact us if you are ready to discuss your plans – there's no time to lose!