— 18 May 2021 09:25:09 by Kate Moore
The Department for Education (DfE) has updated its guideance on booking and making educational visits, including new information on when schools in England might be able to take trips abroad again. The guidance for Scottish schools is slightly different and can be found here.
The revised DfE advice, published on 10 May 2021, recognises the significant benefits of school trips on pupils' educational development, health and wellbeing and outlines the plan to allow children to enjoy visits in line with the English government's roadmap. The timetable is contingent on the roadmap and so dates are subject to change, but this news does feel like we are getting closer towards the time that we can welcome UK groups back to our Normandy centres.
Educational day trips and school residentials in the UK have now resumed in line with step 2 and step 3 of the English government roadmap. These trips must be conducted in line with the relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidelines and regulations in place at that time.
If you are planning an educational trip in the UK, why not see what is on offer from our sister company, Voyager School Travel? Click on the Voyager School Travel website to see their school trips in the UK.
Looking for coach hire in the UK? The Château's resident coach company, Pegasus Coaches, also has an English fleet in Hampshire which is available for school hire. Click here to find out more about specialist coach hire for school groups.
Despite international travel restrictions being relaxed for some holiday destinations, the DfE recommends that schools do not take educational trips abroad this academic year. This means that the earliest possible date for the resumption of school trips to France (for English schools) is 5 September 2021. The DfE states that it will review this date in time for stage 4 of the English roadmap which is expected around 21 June 2021. We'll update this article as soon as we know more.
The DfE guidance says that schools can now book 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.
Though our Normandy centres are booking up fast with postponed trips from 2020 and 2021, there is still time to reserve your place for the next school year and have something positive for your students to look forward to.
The DfE guidance reiterates that schools should undertake full and thorough risk assessments in relation to all educational visits to ensure they can be undertaken safely. School trips must be conducted in line with relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidelines and regulations in place at that time. This includes system of controls, such as keeping children within their consistent groups and the COVID-secure measures in place at the destination.
Annex C of the updated DfE guidance contains new COVID-19 risk assessment information and the conditions that need to be met to undertake a safe school residential trip. We have reviewed the DfE advice and we can confirm that our properties comply with these additional safety standards.
To support your enhanced risk assessment we have produced a summary of our additional COVID safety measures to demonstrate that we have the expertise, financial security and emergency back-up in place for you to return to our centres in confidence.
If you have any questions or need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be very pleased to help.
All information correct at time of publication on 18 May 2021.