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DfE Outline Residential Restart Plan

30 Nov 2020

UK Outdoors, the umbrella organisation representing UK outdoor education and activity providers, has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to put a roadmap in place to restart the residential outdoor sector in Easter 2021.

From next week, UK Outdoors, as part of the newly formed School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group (STSSG), will be working with the Department for Education and building the roadmap for the restart of residentials in Easter 2021, including:

  • A full framework for the safe reintroduction of domestic residential visits
  • Approval of sector COVID-safe protocols
  • Public Health England’s scientific guidance
  • Interim holiday cancellation insurance
  • Raising the profile of outdoor education’s positive contribution to children’s wellbeing across Government Departments and External Organisations

UK Outdoors also welcomes the recognition of the contribution of outdoor education in the Government’s updated guidance, which stated: “we recognise the enormous benefits overnight residential educational visits can provide and the expertise and skills of those working in this sector that enable students to benefit from those visits.”


 

UK Outdoors also welcomed the recognition of the contribution of outdoor education in the Government’s updated guidance, which stated: “we recognise the enormous benefits overnight residential educational visits can provide and the expertise and skills of those working in this sector that enable students to benefit from those visits.”

By the time of restarting, the outdoor education sector will have gone for over a year with no meaningful revenue, unlike almost every other industry in the UK through this pandemic. Over 6,000 permanent jobs have already been lost, with some centres and the other 9,000 jobs still at risk without additional support. UK Outdoors will be making representations to Government about the extent of those at risk and proposing options for further support for some centres.

Andy Robinson, CEO of the Institute for Outdoor Learning, commented on the Easter restart:

“The Government are clearly listening and having a target for restart is positive. I am hugely encouraged that we have put in place an open and collaborative process for getting the industry going. It is also great to see an acknowledgement of the value and expertise our sector brings to education provision in this country. Some centres are still at risk and we must look at the best way to support them, but for many I hope this news will provide clear light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel and give more certainty to our clients and beneficiaries.”

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said:

“The potential loss of outdoor education could have a profound impact on the education and mental wellbeing of the nation’s young people, particularly after the challenging year that they have just endured. Today’s decision is a big step forward on the road to saving that provision and securing the benefits it can deliver for future generations of children.”

UK Outdoors represents over 5,000 organisations and individuals providing formative educational experiences for schools and students both domestically and overseas. The industry contributes over £700m to the economy every year, and employs over 15,000 people around the UK.

About the School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group (STSSG)
Following the review of guidance on overnight educational visits (the “Review”), the Department for Education (“DfE”) has convened a School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group (the “Stakeholder Group”) to continue to represent the sector’s interests and address potential challenges ahead of the sector’s restart in Easter 2021. The Stakeholder Group is made up of representatives drawn from the educational visits and travel sector and come from industry bodies, trade associations and providers. The participants invited by the DfE are:
 

ABTA – The Travel Association
AHOEC – Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres
AITO – Association of Independent Tour Operators
BAPA – British Activity Providers Association
CLOTC – Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
EPA – Expedition Providers Association
IOL – Institute for Outdoor Learning
Outdoor Council
OEAP – Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel
PGL
STF – School Travel Forum
Tall Ships Youth Trust

The Stakeholder Group expects all its members to understand the views of their constituents and ensure they are fully represented.

The Stakeholder Group is clear that building school confidence to plan overnight educational visits for the Summer term is now our priority, to ensure that students can access this vital educational asset now and in to the future. Supporting the residential sector to restart at Easter will save thousands of jobs, livelihoods and educational visits providers.

Such educational visits – well evidenced for supporting physical and mental health, socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes - have a huge role to play in the recovery of our society and our children and young people from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DfE and Stakeholder Group will focus on the following workstreams in the coming months:

  •  Developing a Road Map for the safe reintroduction for overnight educational visits
  •  Raise the profile of the overnight educational visits and the unique contribution they make to children’s education
  •  Build confidence among schools to reengage and plan residential educational visits
  •  Build stronger relationships with PHE to better understand the science and explore a greater range of safe working practices and procedures to support the opening of the sector
  •  Work to address issues around insurance for school educational visits
  •  Identify and enable providers to access the necessary financial support to enable them to re-open for Easter 2021


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