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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have produced a new frequently asked question document: 6a FAQs: Asking for a provider’s risk assessments.
The FAQ explains that provider risk assessments can be technical documents and should be produced by competent people. Unless a visit leader is qualified to understand, assess and, if necessary, challenge a provider’s risk assessment documents, there is little purpose in asking for copies.
Such information is better gained through a pre-visit or through dialogue with the provider.
We have also added a new section about this to 4.4h Using external providers and facilities.
you can download the new FAQ here.
The FCO website is now advising that British schools postpone any planned trips to France until 22nd November. The website says:
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends that British schools planning to take groups to France between now and 22 November follow the French Ministry of Education’s advice not to travel. The French Ministry of Education has advised that school trips already under way in France may continue as originally planned.”
To see the full text, please click here.
We have rewritten 4.3c Risk management to be clear that risk management is not a document – it is a thought process. It is a process of planning how to manage a particular group of young people in a particular outdoor learning experience effectively, so that they are kept as safe as they need to be while getting as much from the experience as possible. A risk assessment document (when needed) is simply a record of the important outcomes of this process and may be useful as a reminder when carrying out the plan.
We have also created two new documents: 4.3f Risk management – some practical advice, and 4.3g Risk management – what to record and how. As a result, 4.3c has been renamed Risk management – an overview.
You can download the documents here.