Group safety at water margins

Specialist activities and visits

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  Although the content of the original document remains current, many of its links are out of date.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.

Visiting trampoline parks

Frequently Asked Questions
Trampoline parks are a relatively new but growing destination.  Taking groups of young people to these public spaces is not as simple or straightforward as it may seem and may well be against many employers’ policies.  Our new document 6n FAQs: Visiting trampoline parks highlights some of the issues that you will need to address if you are considering taking a group to a trampoline park.
You can download the new document here.

Learning outside and off-site visits: self evaluation using the Ofsted framework

Evaluation and reviewing Policies planning and evaluation

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.

Revised Provider Statement

Model Forms

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.

You can download 8p Provider Statement (PDF Version) here, and 8q Provider Statement (Word Version) here.

Visits and the threat from terrorism – updated

Emergencies Essential Frequently Asked Questions Planning and Preparation

Over the past few days we have been in touch with the Metropolitan Police, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the Department for Education to ensure that our guidance on visits and the threat from terrorism is up to date and that it is consistent with what they are saying.

As a result we have updated 6k FAQs: Visits and the threat from terrorism to include some additional advice that we think you will find useful.

You can download the revised guidance here.

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.