Department for Education says overnight school trips ‘could resume from Easter'
1 Dec 2020 13:20 by Kate Moore
Educational trips could be back to normal by the summer term
The advent of three viable vaccines is a huge step towards life returning to normal and recent government announcements have hinted at the beginning of the end of school travel restrictions.
The DfE has promised to review its advice against overnight educational visits in February with the possibility that educational visits could resume as early as Easter 2021. The updated advice, published last week, could make trips in the summer term a real possibility.
‘The department recognises the enormous benefits overnight residential educational visits can provide for children. In February 2021, we will review the possibility of changing our advice for overnight residential education visits to resume from Easter 2021 on the proviso the scientific evidence supports any such change.’
Department for Education updated guidance for schools, 26 November 2020
Roadmap for the resumption of residential trips
At the same time, the DfE is working with our trade body, the School Travel Forum, to build a roadmap for the resumption of residential trips. This roadmap will include a framework for the safe reintroduction of domestic residential trips, approval of COVID safe protocols, scientific guidance and interim holiday cancellation insurance.
When should schools start planning their next trip?
The indicators are that educational trips could be back to normal by the summer term, but while the DfE’s travel restrictions are in place, should schools start making plans for their next trip?
The government has now formally recognised the long lead times involved in organising educational trips and the lag between the DfE giving the green light to resume school trips and those trips actually departing.
In response to the issue, the Department for Transport’s Global Travel Taskforce has pledged to work with school travel organisers to establish the conditions that need to be met to support future planning. These conditions will set out the epidemiological criteria that need to be met, will build on key measures such as testing and take account of the impact of vaccines in the near future to signpost when schools can safely book and travel again.
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. This is especially true for schools who don’t want to miss out on their preferred accommodation or favour specific dates for their trip. Contact us if you are ready to discuss your plans.
Additional planning resources now available
The School Travel Forum has 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.
We have also 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.
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.