What the new COVID-19 traffic light system means for school trips

15 Oct 2021, 10:40 by Carrie Bowsher


#131

This guide explains the current 'trafffic light' rules for school groups returning home from an international school trip. Follow the links at the bottom of this article to see what is required from groups travelling to their destination country. 

What are the new COVID-19 rules for travellers returning from abroad? 

From 4 October 2021, the amber list was  been scrapped in favour of a new simplified travel classification with a single 'red list' and the rest of the world.

At the same time, the rules for fully vaccinated travellers returning from countries that aren't on the red list were relaxed as follows: 

  • Fully vaccinated adults no longer require a test to return to England, known as the pre-departure test, and will only need to take one lateral flow test on day 2 of their return
  • Children travelling with a fully vaccinated adult will benefit from the same rules as the fully vaccinated adult, even if they haven’t been vaccinated

Adults who are not fully vaccinated, or are only partially vaccinated, will need to take a pre-departure test to return home, followed by two tests in England (on day 2 and day 8) and quarantine for 10 days at home. 

To find out more about the requirements for visitors returning to England, visit the government website. To check the latest entry requirements for travelling to your destination country, please visit the travel advice page on our COVID-19 Travel Hub.  

What does the change in travel rules mean for school trips with unvaccinated, or partly vaccinated, children?

The Department for Transport has confirmed that children returning to England with a fully vaccinated teacher as part of a school trip will benefit from the same rules as the fully vaccinated adult, regardless of their vaccination status.  

This means that, as long as the under 18s in the group are returning to England with a fully vaccinated teacher, they do not need to quarantine on return to England, nor do they need a pre-department test.  

The new rules still require double jabbed teachers and students on the trip to take a negative test on day 2 of their return to England and this needs to be pre-booked before departing home.  

These rules apply only for countries that aren’t on the red list – it is very unlikely that we would run a school trip to a red list country.  

We’re campaigning to simplify the process for school groups

The new rules still require all travellers to complete a passenger locator form in 48 hours before returning to England and through our industry body, the School Travel Forum, we are working with Department of Transport to amend these forms to make them easier for school groups. 

What about school groups returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? 

Note that these rules are for groups returning to England. Follow the links below for the rules on returning from other home nations of the UK:

All information is correct as of 15/10/2021. As the situation is constantly evolving, please consult government information to check the most recent requirement.

More information from the COVID-19 Travel Hub

James sidebar image

Get a no-obligation quote

We’re ready when you are! See our range of ABTA-backed school tours and centre-based residentials for 2022

Get a quote
students with suitcases sidebar widget

Find the answers you're looking for in our COVID-19 Travel Hub

All the support you need to book your next trip with confidence—COVID-19 flexible booking terms, trip insurance, safety measures & travel advice.

Visit the Travel Hub
  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-19 17:15:01)

    Read our blog about insuring for your next school trip or residential https://t.co/TqK7GuF7vv #schooltrips… https://t.co/61CCyHJqy1

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-15 11:56:18)

    🚨👍Travel rules have been further relaxed today. A lateral flow test will replace the PCR test which travellers are… https://t.co/Bvo3XBVC8q

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-13 13:53:53)

    Do you have adequate insurance for your school trip or residential? Make sure you check out our five top tips in ou… https://t.co/l3wfdvZ9Hm

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-11 16:29:48)

    Confused by the travel rules for France? 🇫🇷 Here's a handy chart to make things as simple as possible. The good new… https://t.co/GqPnq3C5KX

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-05 12:02:41)

    RT @UNESCO: Happy #WorldTeachersDay! 🙂 Today we celebrate all teachers across the world 🌍 for their inspiring dedication to future generat…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-05 12:02:11)

    RT @UN: On Tuesday's #WorldTeachersDay we pay tribute to the invaluable contribution of teachers to students, communities and societies.…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-10-04 15:06:48)

    Read our latest blog about the new rules https://t.co/gNWspBIyZi #voyagerschooltravel #bookyournextschooltrip https://t.co/Q1dJuA9j06

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-29 17:06:33)

    Did you know that all our school trips include travel insurance with COVID-19 cover before AND during the trip? Rea… https://t.co/0qZOYwXVc9

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-24 13:36:01)

    Planning a school trip again needn't be as daunting as it might feel. Take a look at our guide with essential infor… https://t.co/rh3U8bxQsQ

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-24 10:12:41)

    RT @BellfieldPS: After a fantastic day of Laser Quest, Science Slime, Archery, the Climbing wall and Leap of Faith, we are ready for our la…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-24 10:12:19)

    RT @BellfieldPS: Final morning. All packed and ready for our last activities. https://t.co/f15pGJtevA

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-23 15:48:23)

    We're so pleased to have organised Bellfield Primary's trip to @Butlins. School trips are back!😃 https://t.co/afvjbV2Mw7

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-22 12:52:58)

    USA to lift Covid travel ban for UK vaccinated passengers from November 2021. Thinking about the next school trip… https://t.co/6TglTA625E

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-09-09 13:09:35)

    The Voyager team are back in the office to provide the support and knowledge you need to restart school trips with… https://t.co/hUKjC70pvg

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-08-19 11:22:26)

    In case you missed this announcement from end of last term, confirmation from DfE that schools can book future trip… https://t.co/zzPypO2Xz5

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-07-05 16:21:37)

    While school trips abroad are on hold, schools want to plan future trips. But conflicting & confusing gov. advice… https://t.co/dampXOXWY6

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-07-05 15:49:50)

    RT @STF_Forum: Educational visits provide powerful learning opportunities & make learning real. They also boost self-confidence, teamwork &…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-06-23 15:26:23)

    RT @ABTAMembers: All here together today - all the CEOs from the associations behind the organisation of #speakupfortravel #TravelDayOfAc…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-06-23 15:10:54)

    Join our #TravelDayOfAction and support educational travel https://t.co/DtNdYmevY6

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-06-23 15:09:14)

    RT @voyagerschools: School travel is an overlooked part of the sector & plays a vital role in educating our children. The last school trip…

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-06-23 14:59:19)

    School travel is an overlooked part of the sector & plays a vital role in educating our children. The last school t… https://t.co/aoxPWvQ8Eo

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-06-23 12:30:07)

    School travel plays a vital role in educating our children. Trips abroad raise children’s horizons, expose them to… https://t.co/harnRKmOiE

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-05-17 15:24:51)

    English schools can now take UK day trips & residentials. Find out when schools can book & make international trips… https://t.co/wvlfYrJCk5

  • Voyager School Travel (2021-04-16 11:51:50)

    RT @theoeap: What does good leadership and management of educational visits look like? We were asked that by an outdoor education adviser.…