An employer’s introduction to learning outside the classroom guidance

An employer’s introduction to learning outside the classroom guidance

: Educational visits : Leadership roles : Legal considerations : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Residential visits : Risk management Essential NewsBlog

Help for you, your role and responsibilities

An introduction for employers whose staff lead outdoor learning, off-site visits or learning outside the classroom activities.

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) produces National Guidance, which provides comprehensive support for the management of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities.

One useful and efficient way for an employer to access relevant information is provided by the ability to search documents by role: National Guidance for employers is just one such category that can be found within OEAP National Guidance (NG).

The documents outlined below give essential guidance to you for your role and responsibilities – and will help you to implement appropriate systems.

Categories of Guidance for employers

Relevant Guidance for employers occurs in the following three categories of NG:

  • Category 1 – Basic essentials
  • Category 3 – Legal framework and employer systems
  • Category 4 – Good practice.

The document 3.1a Requirements and Recommendations for Employers is particularly helpful for people in senior or controlling positions in organisations that employ staff who provide outdoor learning and off-site visits. Roles that this is pertinent to include:-

  • Chief Executive
  • Chair
  • Company Secretary
  • Director
  • Councillor
  • Trustee
  • Governor
  • Proprietor
  • Owner.

“Employers are legally responsible for the activities that take place in their establishments. This includes a common law duty of care towards their employees and participants in the activities, and duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) (HSWA) and other legislation.”

In addition to their responsibilities as an employer, local authorities also have a duty under the Children Act (2004) to ensure that there are clear and effective arrangements to protect from harm all children and young people in their area.

This means that, even though they are not responsible under the HSWA for health and safety in establishments for which they are not the employer (such as independent schools and academies), they do have an overarching responsibility to ensure that all establishments have suitable and sufficient arrangements in place for managing health and safety and child protection, including during outdoor learning and off-site visits.

The OEAP NG guidance document 3.2a Underpinning Legal Framework and Duty of Care will also prove to be most helpful.

There are also links to many other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Outdoor education guidance for parents and carers

Outdoor education guidance for parents and carers

: Educational visits : Legal considerations : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Parents and carers : Residential visits Essential NewsBlog

Helping your child to participate in learning outside the classroom

The ideal stating point for finding out how you can safely contribute

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) produces National Guidance, which provides comprehensive support for the management of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities.

One useful and efficient way to access relevant information is enabled by the ability to search documents by role: National Guidance for parents (parents, legal guardians and others who have parental responsibility for a participant) is one such category that can be found within OEAP National Guidance (NG).

NG also helps with parents who may have more than one role within the supervision arrangements for the visit: care must be taken to ensure that the role of parent does not conflict with this other role.

Categories of Guidance for parents

Relevant Guidance for parents occurs in the following three categories of NG:

  • Category 1 – Basic essentials
  • Category 3 – Legal framework and employer systems
  • Category 4 – Good practice.

Not surprisingly, it is generally recommended that the ideal starting point is Basic essentials. Document 1a Glossary and Definitions deals with an overview of terms and definitions that will prove to be a useful reference. It states, for example, that an “Adventure Activity” is

“An Activity which is exciting and challenging and which involves significant inherent risk of harm, without which the activity would lose much of its value, or which takes place in a remote or hazardous location.”

Another significant NG document is the Legal framework and employer systems download 3.4n Guidance for Parents, which includes information on

  • Consent
  • What you can expect
  • Looked-after children
  • Helping with a Visit*.

*This category provides useful information for those parents wishing to take an active part in an activity:-

“Sometimes schools, colleges, youth groups and other establishments ask parents to give practical help during a visit. If you are considering helping with a visit, please see OEAP National Guidance document 3.4m Helper”.

There are also links to many other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Why “Ratios and Effective Supervision” is one of the most popular outdoor education guidance documents

Why “Ratios and Effective Supervision” is one of the most popular outdoor education guidance documents

: Educational visits : Leadership roles : Legal considerations : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Policies : Residential visits : Risk management Essential NewsBlog

It’s been downloaded over 48,000 times…

Planning, preparation and vigilance of competent leaders is key

“Establishments must ensure that the staffing of visits enables leaders to supervise young people effectively” says the National Guidance document Ratios and Effective Supervision.

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) produces National Guidance, which provides comprehensive support for the management of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities.

This significant document covers decisions that will need to be made with regards to the staffing and supervision of learning outside the classroom related activities. Consideration should be given to:-

  • The nature and duration of the visit and the planned activities
  • The location and environment in which the activity is to take place
  • The nature of the group, including the number of young people and their age, level of development, sex, ability and needs (behavioural, medical, emotional and educational)
  • Staff competence
  • The consequence of a member of staff being indisposed, particularly where they
    will be the sole leader with a group for any significant time.

“Staffing ratios are a risk management issue and should be determined through the process of risk assessment. It is not possible to set down definitive staff/participant ratios for a particular age group or activity.”

“Staffing, especially for visits to remote locations or overseas, should take into account how the group will be supervised effectively given the possibility of a leader becoming indisposed or having to leave the group, for example to accompany a sick child to hospital”, advises the document.

The download also contains direct links a variety of other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

How OEAP National Guidance can help you plan learning outside the classroom activities safely

How OEAP National Guidance can help you plan learning outside the classroom activities safely

: Covid-19 : DBS checks : Educational visits : Leadership roles : Legal considerations : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Policies : Residential visits : Risk management NewsBlog

The benefits of referring to National Guidance – and how to find the right documents

National Guidance has been developed by the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) to help you organise high quality outdoor learning, adventurous activities and educational visits including residential and overseas visits.

How to use National Guidance

OEAP’s National Guidance comprises a set of documents providing information and guidance.

There are three fundamental documents that will help you to understand National Guidance, and which should be read by all users:

1a “Glossary and Definitions”
1b “Foundations”
1c “Status, Remit and Rationale”


Finding your way around

There are three ways to find information on OEAP’s National Guidance website:

  1. Browsing the Contents

The OEAP’s National Guidance documents are organised into eight folders each covering a broad theme. You can scroll down the National Guidance page or select National Guidance Contents in the National Guidance menu, to find links to each folder.

There is also a link to View all documents. This shows all the documents in numerical order, which may be useful if you know the number of the document you are looking for.

  1. Browsing by Role

Some of the documents have been identified as essential reading for different roles. To find the documents that are essential for your role, use:

  • the View roles link on the National Guidance page;
  • or the Guidance for Your Role list on some other pages;
  • or Guidance by Role in the National Guidance menu.
  1. Searching

Use the Search National Guidance function on the National Guidance page to enter the word or phrase you are looking for.  A search will find all guidance documents containing your search term in its title or on its information page.  If you don’t find what you are looking for, or if the search produces a lot of results, you may need to use an alternative or more specific search term.


An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Help regarding DBS checks for outdoor learning and offsite visits

Help regarding DBS checks for outdoor learning and offsite visits

: DBS checks : Legal considerations : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Risk management NewsBlog

Vetting and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks…

The OEAP National Guidance document 3.2g Vetting and DBS Checks, has been significantly updated to give more context to the need to make vetting checks beyond the legal requirements, and to why a provider might not be in a position to obtain checks on some staff.

This guidance for England and Wales is particularly useful with regard to homestays and the use of external providers. It does not however cover employers’ general recruitment procedures or other aspects of establishments’ operations.

“A DBS check, in itself, is no guarantee of the suitability of an individual to work with children or vulnerable adults. Also, there are circumstances when it is not necessary or appropriate to require a DBS check.”

The guidance covers topics that include:-

  • Engaging Staff and Volunteers
  • DBS Checks
  • Regulated Activity
  • Deciding if Someone is Engaged in Regulated Activity
  • Exchanges and Homestays
  • Students on a Placement
  • Staff Not in Regulated Activity
  • Using Third Party Providers
  • Costs of DBS Checks.

The download also contains direct links a variety of other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.


Download OEAP National Guidance document 3.2g Vetting and DBS Checks »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Planning an overseas school visit? Here are some pointers to set you on your way

Planning an overseas school visit? Here are some pointers to set you on your way

: Leadership roles : Legal considerations : Management and supervision : Overseas visits : Residential visits : Risk management NewsBlog

Helping you make the most of the huge benefits that visits to other countries can bring…

There are a tremendous number of potential benefits and learning outcomes that can result from overseas visits including personal and social development including self-confidence and independence, as well as enriching curriculum areas such as languages, history and geography, according to the OEAP National Guidance document, 7r Overseas Visits which is now available for employers, heads, managers, local authority officers, visit leaders and others to download.

Thorough planning is vital to help ensure the success of any such venture, says the guidance. It also cross-references with a number of other important documents – all of which are provided to help ensure that these important activities can provide the full benefit to the young people taking part.

Help and advice is provided under the following categories:-

  • Rationale – The Potential Benefits and Learning Outcomes of Overseas Visits
  • Where and Whether to Go
  • Coronavirus
  • Leader and Staff Competence
  • Preparation of Staff, Young People and Parents
  • Passports and Visas
  • Mobile Phones
  • Customs Restrictions
  • Travel, Transport and Driving
  • Re-entering the UK
  • Parental Consent
  • Health
  • Accommodation
  • Crime, Terrorism and Conflict
  • Insurance and Cancellation
  • Legal and Cultural Differences
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Young People with Specific Needs
  • Monitoring, Reviewing and Evaluation.

The download also contains direct links a variety of other supporting OEAP National Guidance documents.


Download OEAP National Guidance document 7r Overseas Visits »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Off-site educational visits – the underpinning legal framework

Off-site educational visits – the underpinning legal framework

: Educational visits : Legal considerations NewsBlog

Making it easier to find your way around the law relating to educational visits

National Guidance download provides an overview of the law as it applies to outdoor learning and off-site visits, and how to comply with it. It also explains what may happen following an accident or incident.

In England and Wales, two types of law may come into play following an accident or incident during an activity or visit – criminal and/or civil.

Criminal Law

Criminal law is about society punishing an offender for doing something prohibited by legislation, or for failing to do something required by legislation. Sanctions may include fines, community penalties or imprisonment.

Civil Law

Civil law is about one party (the claimant) seeking compensation for loss, injury or damage, which they claim was caused by another party (the defendant). If a case is successful, the court will award an amount of money (often paid by the defendant’s insurers).

Organisations and individuals have a legal duty of care towards anyone that they ought reasonably to have consideration for. This means that the law requires them to take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which can be reasonably foreseen as likely to injure someone.

The law does not expect perfection or even best practice, but simply reasonable care or behaviour in accordance with that expected of an averagely responsible person or fellow professional.


Download National Guidance document 3.2a Underpinning Legal Framework »

An introduction to National Guidance »