Visits and the threat from terrorism

Emergencies Essential Frequently Asked Questions Planning and Preparation

We will all be painfully aware of the terrorist attacks in London on Saturday evening. Following the meeting of the UK’s emergency team (cobra) on Sunday morning, the terrorist threat remains ‘severe’ (it was de-escalated from ‘critical’ during last week). The Home Secretary believes that they have the perpetrators of this attack and the Prime Minister has confirmed that we should stay vigilant and carry on as normal. (Report any suspicious activity to the police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321).

Consider every visit as you would normally, deciding what to do about each event on its merit. To assist in the visit planning there is helpful guidance for Visit Leaders on the threat of terrorism, which includes when visiting a major city, venue or event.  See the document 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.

Visits and the threat from terrorism

Emergencies Essential Frequently Asked Questions Planning and Preparation

With heightened security in the UK following the Manchester incident, here is a reminder of OEAP’s 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.

Some advisers have been asked what difference does the increased security level make to visit plans?  In its advice to the public, the Government explains how we should respond;
‘Threat levels in themselves do not require specific responses from the public. They are a tool for security practitioners working across different sectors of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and the police to use in determining what protective security response may be required….Sharing national threat levels with the general public keeps everyone informed. It explains the context for the various security measures (for example airport security or bag searches) which we may encounter in our daily lives.’

It may help also to reassure parents if the visit leader telephones the venue to check about its advice to visiting groups and the measures it has in place.

Using external providers and facilities

Good practice Planning and Preparation

We have revised the document 4.4h Using external providers and facilities to emphasise the importance of ensuring that any provider that you choose meets acceptable standards.  This may be as simple as checking that the provider holds appropriate external accreditation.   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.

You can find further details of the badge and also check a provider’s accreditation status here.

Managing a residential visit when you know that some participants are in a sexual relationship

Frequently Asked Questions

We have been asked whether there is any advice we can give to visit leaders arranging residential visits who know that some of the participants are in a sexual relationship.  A new document 6m FAQs – Young people in a sexual relationship sets out the legal position along with some other issues that you will need to consider.  You can download the new document here.

Revised Home Exchange Forms

Model Forms

We have revised the English, French, Spanish, German and Italian versions of the home exchange forms to include an extra question about activities planned during the stay.

We have taken the opportunity to also add Microsoft Word versions of the forms for those who want to arrange for them to be completed online.  You can find the forms in the Checklists, Model Forms and Mindmaps section of the National Guidance website.

If you use the Microsoft Word versions, we would advise you to check that the format and questions on the returned forms have not been altered.

4.5e Hiring a coach

Good practice Transport

Do you find that choosing one coach company over another is an impossible task when you have no specialist transport knowledge?

Help is now at hand.  There are questions you can ask, and documents you can request, that will help to make that task far simpler.  The new document 4.5e Hiring a coach takes you through them, and offers a number of pointers towards good practice in the use of coach transport.

You can download the document here.

New Document: 1b Foundations

Basic Essentials

We have created a new document, 1b Foundations, to explain the ideas that underpin the rest of the guidance.  1b Foundations takes you step by step through the thinking that will help you to ensure that you have the right leaders doing the right activities with the right young people in the right places at the right time – the key to any successful outdoor learning, off-site visits, and learning outside the classroom.

You can download 1b Foundations here.

Previously we relied upon the radar graph to explain this, but it has become clear that the radar works best in a training or induction setting, where it can be used as an interactive tool to encourage discussion.   The graph on its own can be easily misinterpreted.

You can still find the original radar document on the National Guidance Website.  It is now located in a new section: Training Resources.