You can now browse documents that set out the particular responsibilities of a Local Authority, as well as its responsibilities as an Employer. These documents are aimed at Directors of Children’s Services (and equivalent roles), Heads of Service, and local authority staff who have involvement with children and young people, such as through social services, youth services, education services etc.
A new National Guidance document has been published: 3.1c “Corporate Parenting”. This document provides guidance to Local Authorities about their role as Corporate Parents in relation to to outdoor learning, off-site visits and Learning Outside the Classroom. It discusses the need to achieve the right balance between safeguarding and the encouragement of opportunities for Looked-After Children, by ensuring that appropriate systems and advice are in place for different settings. It also highlights other relevant National Guidance documents.
You can download the new document here.
Do you ask to see a provider’s risk assessments?
Risk assessments tend to be technical documents. Unless a visit leader is qualified to understand, assess and, if necessary, challenge them, there is little purpose in asking for copies. It makes much more sense to gain the information you need through a pre-visit or dialogue with the provider.
Nevertheless, providers tell us that they still get asked for copies of their risk assessments. We have therefore updated the documents 6a FAQ Asking for a provider’s risk assessments and 4.4h Using external providers and facilities to underline that there are more effective ways to gain the information that you need.
The easiest way to check that the quality and safety of most providers has been externally accredited is to look for the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge.
Following an explosion on a London underground train at Parsons Green station on Friday 15th September, the Government raised the threat level within the UK to “critical”. It has now been lowered to “severe”. In its advice to the public, the Government explains that:
‘Threat levels in themselves do not require specific responses from the public.….Sharing national threat levels with the general public keeps everyone informed. It explains the context for the various security measures which we may encounter in our daily lives.’
As an outcome, the Prime Minister said that we will see more armed police providing extra reassurance and protection. The Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner has explained that we should remain “vigilant” but said that people “should not be alarmed”.
Unless the Government or your Local Authority Outdoor Adviser directs otherwise, consider every visit as you would normally, deciding what to do about each event on its merit. OEAP has created guidance on planning visits when there is a threat from terrorism – 6k FAQs: Visits and the threat from terrorism. You can download the guidance here.
As part of your planning, you will be taking into account the natural anxiety of parents, teachers and pupils. If making a decision to postpone or cancel, talk to your provider and insurer and understand the implications for recovery of costs.
We have decided it was time to replace the 2001 DfES/CCPR document Group Safety at Water Margins, which we had added to National Guidance in 2014. Although the content of the original document remains current, many of its links are out of date.
We have therefore created a revised document 7i Group safety at water margins, which updates the previous document. It covers activities that might take place near or in water – such as a walk along a river bank or seashore, collecting samples from ponds and streams, or paddling or walking in gentle, shallow water.
It does not cover swimming and other activities that require water safety or rescue qualifications and equipment or water-going craft. Leaders planning for young people to enter the water should also read document 7o Natural water bathing elsewhere in this guidance.
You can download the new document here.
Do you know how to evaluate the impact of learning outside and off-site visits in terms of their impact on outcomes for pupils?
In the document School inspection handbook, Ofsted explains that self-evaluation is intended to help schools to assess how well they are doing against the core areas set out in legislation. Ofsted do not want schools preparing solely for inspection purposes, but the headings and questions in our revised document 5.1c Learning outside and off-site visits: self evaluation using the Ofsted framework correspond to the Ofsted framework and will help schools to review and evaluate the effectiveness of their learning outside provision.
This document combines and replaces the information in three other previous Ofsted-related documents: 3.4p, 5.1d and 5.1e. These will be deleted.
You can download the revised document here.
In response to user feedback, we have simplified the National Guidance home page, reducing the clutter and the amount of scrolling required to see the whole page.
This has also enabled us to make the latest news section more prominent and to add links to the most common downloads of documents.
We have made some minor revisions to the questionnaire: 8p Provider Statement. This is to strengthen the point that if a provider currently holds an LOTC Quality Badge, you do not need to get them to complete the questionnaire.
In response to requests from a number of people we have also created 8q Provider Statement (Word Version) for those who would like to be able to customise the questionnaire to meet their employer’s requirements.