Department for Education confirms first educational visits to resume in Summer term
12 Apr 2021, 07:20 by Kate Moore
DfE publishes key dates for the resumption of educational visits
The Department for Education (DfE) has updated its coronavirus operational guidance including indicative dates from when schools in England can expect to book and take educational trips once again. The guidance also contains new reassurance regarding COVID 19 cancellation cover for future school trips.
The updated DfE advice published on 26 March, recognises the significant benefits of school trips on pupils' educational development, health and wellbeing and states that the department is taking steps to allow children to enjoy visits in line with the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
The dates set out by the DfE are dependent on progress against the government’s roadmap out of lockdown and the department's advice for educational visits will be updated in line with the roadmap.
Educational day visits - can now go ahead
The DfE has confirmed that in line with England progressing to step two of the roadmap, schools can now go on a domestic day trip. Any educational day visits must be conducted in line with relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidelines and regulations in place at that time and following an appropriate risk assessment.
Domestic residentials - no earlier than 17 May 2021
As England releases from lockdown, domestic residentials should also resume this summer term. Assuming England moves to step 3 as planned, the DfE guidance states that schools can take a pre-booked overnight domestic trip from as early as 17 May 2021.
The DfE is working with the Public Health England and the sector on what COVID-secure residentials will look like and will publish its advice in time for step 3 of the roadmap.
School trips abroad - advice pending
There is also some hope for schools planning a trip abroad. The guidance states that the DfE will review its advice against taking school trips abroad following the publication of the Global Travel Taskforce's report on facilitating international travel. The DfE expects to publish new advice regarding school trips abroad following the publication of the report which was due on 12 April 2021.
COVID travel cancellation indemnity
To provide further support and reassurance to school travel groups, the DfE recognises the gap created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the insurance market and is working with the Treasury to explore the possibility of putting in place a coronavirus (COVID-19) restricted indemnity that will:
- give schools cover against coronavirus (COVID-19) travel cancellations in the future
- allow schools to book new visits with confidence
The DfE states that further detail will be provided as soon as it is available.
When should schools start planning their next trip?
English schools are now able to plan and book an educational day visit and the indicators are that domestic trips could follow soon. But when should schools start making plans for their next trip abroad?
Bearing in mind the time it takes to organise a trip, the pent-up demand from groups who missed out in 2020, and a likely reduction in availability due to enhanced safety protocols, it’s a good idea to get the ball rolling and starting planning your next trip now without any financial commitment at this stage. This is especially true for schools who don’t want to miss out on their preferred accommodation or favour specific dates for their trip.
The DfE states that schools holding ABTA refund credit notes may use these credit notes to rebook educational or international visits.
If you are ready to plan a new trip, we have published information about our extra COVID-19 precautions and back-up measures. Follow this link to find out how you can book and travel with confidence.
Additional planning resources now available
We have published our own COVID protocols for school groups planning to visit our centres to ensure that their 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.
Ready to plan your next trip?
Contact us if you are ready to discuss your plans – there is no harm getting prepared in time for the next announcement.