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 to find an adviser for educational visits

How to find an adviser for educational visits

: Educational visits : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Policies : Residential visits : Risk management Essential NewsBlog

Learning outside the classroom expertise is available across the UK

As the lead body for guidance, advice and training related to outdoor learning and educational visits in England and Wales, the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) supports members in their work with schools and services to children and young people.

“When planned and implemented well, outdoor education, offsite visits and adventurous activities contribute significantly to raising standards and developing knowledge and skills in ways that add value to everyday experiences in the classroom.”

They believe every child in every school should have access to a comprehensive programme of high quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities as an integral part of their school curriculum.

“The OEAP recommends employing or engaging an OEAP member who can provide high quality advice and training. They have extensive, detailed and appropriate knowledge and experience of all relevant types of establishment and the range of outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities that are provided to young people.”

How to find an OEAP adviser

OEAP members are advisers who support Local Authorities, schools and Academy Groups in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and many overseas settings. They work together to share and develop good practice in Offsite Visits, Outdoor Learning and Learning Outside the Classroom.


An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Outdoor education: the benefits of residential visits and how to organise them

Outdoor education: the benefits of residential visits and how to organise them

: Educational visits : Leadership roles : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Overseas visits Essential NewsBlog

Residential elements of a visit – and specific management issues

The OEAP National Guidance document 4.2b Residentials, gives guidance on the residential element of a visit, as this introduces specific additional management issues.

While the types of residential visit and accommodation vary, the choice should, says the guidance:

  • be suitable for the age of the group and accessible to the range of abilities and disabilities;
  • support the learning objectives of the visit (for example, by choosing a small local hotel or hostel outside the main tourist area to give students more opportunity to use their language);
  • be cost-effective.

“Residential visits create powerful learning opportunities for young people, which can lead to step changes in an individual’s personal development and confidence.”

Topics that will prove to be invaluable for anyone in the early stages of planning a residential visit include:-

  • Coronavirus
  • Types of Residential Experience
  • General Considerations*
  • An Accommodation Arrival Checklist

*Irrespective of the type of residential experience, there are some general issues to recognise and manage, including fire safety, group safety and security, catering, drinking and drugs (including smoking), gender issues and appropriate relationships, and epidemics and the risk of infection.

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


Download OEAP National Guidance document 4.2b Residentials »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Amendments to OEAP National Guidance

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During April 2022, we added one new guidance document, deleted a guidance document after merging its contents with another, made revisions to fourteen guidance documents and made one minor amendment to a guidance document.

You can go straight to the table here.

New to outdoor education? This is the ideal place to start…

New to outdoor education? This is the ideal place to start…

: Educational visits : Leadership roles : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Policies : Risk management Essential NewsBlog

Practical help and advice for educators, governors, parents, venues and providers

If you’re new to the area of outdoor education or learning outside the classroom, it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming with regard to aspects of health and safety, planning, organisation and so on.

The good news is that the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (also known as the OEAP) has put together a comprehensive package of help, advice and expertise called National Guidance.


A useful introduction is 1a Glossary and Definitions which will remove any uncertainty regarding terminology used in the sector.


When you’re ready to get going, the document 1b Foundations explains the OEAP National Guidance starting points for the planning and management of outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom.

There are three basic premises:-

  1. Well planned and facilitated opportunities to learn in the real world, away from the classroom, and to experience adventure, help to improve the lives of young people.
  2. Facilitating learning outside or off-site does not need to be more difficult than inside a classroom. Planning and management should, therefore, be practical, proportionate and non-bureaucratic.
  3. The key to effective and successful outdoor learning and off-site visits is:
    The right leaders doing the right activities with the right young people in the right places at the right times.

The topics included will help you get off to a flying start – and will point you in the direction of further sector specific information that may vary depending on your role or status.

This invaluable overview covers a number of key topics, including:-

  • Good Practice
  • The ‘SAGE’ Variables – Staff, Activities, Group, Environment(s), as well as the Interplay of the SAGE Variables
  • Standard and Enhanced Planning and Management

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


Download OEAP National Guidance document 1b Foundations »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Outdoor education: how to reduce the environmental impact of snowsports

Outdoor education: how to reduce the environmental impact of snowsports

: Outdoor learning : Overseas visits : Residential visits Essential NewsBlog

Method of travel, choice of resort can help significantly…

The OEAP National Guidance document 7.1v Snowsport Visits, has been updated to give more advice on reducing the otherwise significant environmental impact that these activities can have.

This guidance defines ‘snowsport’ to cover both skiing and snowboarding activities.

There are huge benefits to be achieved with a snowsport residential visit says the guidance – not least by a significant contribution to a young person’s personal and social development. Plus points often include for example, respect for self, others and the environment, self-awareness and self-confidence and an interest in a healthy physical activity that may become a lifelong pursuit.

Considering the environmental impact

The update with this particular document deals specifically with ways to reduce the potentially high environmental impact of this otherwise worthwhile form of outdoor education.

“The development of snowsport resorts can have a significant negative impact on the mountain landscape and wildlife, snowmaking uses large amounts of energy and water, and travelling (especially flying) to a resort has a high carbon footprint.”

Example given of ways to mitigate the impact include:-

  • A careful choice of destination
  • Consideration regarding the means of travel
  • Choosing activities such as cross-country skiing instead of mechanised downhill skiing.

Other topics covered include:-

  • Preparation for Snowsports
  • Planning the Visit
  • Leader Competence Requirements
  • Supervision
  • Equipment and Clothing
  • Safety In and Around the Resort.

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


Download OEAP National Guidance document 7.1v Snowsport Visits »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Provider Statement

External Providers Good practice Model Forms

We have made a number of amendments to OEAP National Guidance document 8p Provider Statement, including removing questions about coronavirus, which should now be part of a provider’s risk assessment process, and removing some questions from Part 1 that are covered by the Quality Badge.  There is also a Microsoft Word version 8q Provider Statement – Word Version.

You can find the revised document in PDF form here, and a Microsoft Word form here.

Vetting and DBS Checks

Employer Systems and Requirements Good practice Good Practice Essentials Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems

We have completely revised OEAP National Guidance document 3.2g Vetting and DBS Checks, giving 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.

We have also amended 4.3e Safeguarding as a result.

You can find the Vetting and DBS guidance here and the Safeguarding guidance here.

Coronavirus

Good practice Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities Specific Activities and Hazards Specific Hazards

We have revised OEAP National Guidance document 4.4k Coronavirus to take account of the most recent UK Government guidance update.  We have also revised OEAP National Guidance document 7r Overseas Visits for the same reason, and have taken the opportunity of this revision to give more prominence to considering the environmental implications of travelling overseas.

You can download the coronavirus guidance here and the overseas visits guidance here.

Requirements & Recommendations for Employers

Employer Systems and Requirements Good practice Legal Framework Roles and responsibilities

We have revised OEAP National Guidance documents 3.1a Requirements & Recommendations for Employers and 3.4f Member of a Management Board or Governing Body to ensure that they are clear about the responsibilities of governors and others who might be in controlling positions in employer organisations.

The roles that the guidance applies to include Chief Executive; Chair; Company Secretary; Director; Councillor; Trustee; Governor; Proprietor and Owner, in organisations such as local authorities; academies and multi-academy trusts; voluntary-aided and foundation schools; independent schools and charities.

You can download 3.1a here and 3.4f here.

Underpinning Legal Framework and Duty of Care

Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems Roles and responsibilities

We have revised OEAP National Guidance document 3.2a Underpinning Legal Framework and Duty of Care to make what we say clearer, and, in doing so, we have added a section on the responsibilities of local authorities and Directors of Children’s Services.   As a result we have also revised OEAP National Guidance document 3.4a Director of Children’s Services.

 

Travelling to EU countries

Good practice Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities Specific Activities and Hazards Specific Hazards

The European Union has created an app and website Re-open EU, which provides information on the various measures in place in each EU country, including quarantine and testing, the EU Digital COVID certificate, and mobile coronavirus contact tracing and warning apps.

We have amended OEAP National Guidance documents 4.4k Coronavirus and 7r Overseas Visits to refer to it.

OEAP National Guidance Amendments

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During December 2021, we made revisions to guidance documents five times and made three minor amendments to guidance documents.

You can go straight to the table here.

Amendments to the OEAP’s National Guidance Documents

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During November 2021, we made revisions to guidance documents eleven times and made one minor amendment to a guidance document.

You can go straight to the table here.

Overseas Visits

Good practice Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities and Hazards Specific Hazards

The Department for Education has advised that schools, Further Education providers, Higher Education providers and out-of-school settings should consider whether to go ahead with any planned international educational visits, recognising the risk of disruption to education resulting from the need to isolate and test on arrival back into the UK.

We have amended OEAP National Guidance documents 4.4k Coronavirus and 7r Overseas Visits accordingly.

Amendments to OEAP National Guidance Documents

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During October 2021, we made revisions to guidance documents fifteen times and made minor amendments to guidance documents twice.  We also deleted one document.

You can go straight to the table here.

Group Safety at Water Margins

Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities Specific Hazards

The DfES/CCPR document “Group Safety at Water Margins” was written 20 years ago.  In 2017 we rewrote it as OEAP National Guidance document 7i Group Safety at Water Margins, updating the links and some of the wording.  We have now completely revised the document, bringing it up to date to cover issues that were not considered in the original.  You can download the revised version here.

At the same time we have updated OEAP National Guidance document 7o Natural Water Bathing, which shares some of the same issues.  You can download it here.

Transport in Minibuses

Good practice Transport

Did you know that if you drive abroad, your vehicle must now have a UK identifier?

If your number plate has any of the following:

  • a GB identifier with the Union flag
  • a Euro symbol
  • a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
  • numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier

you must display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of the vehicle.  If you are driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate. If you have a GB sticker, you must cover or remove it before driving outside the UK.

We have amended OEAP National Guidance document 4.5b Transport in Minibuses accordingly.

You can download the document here.

Catering

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Frequently Asked Questions Good practice Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities Specific Activities and Hazards

We have amended four OEAP National Guidance documents to draw attention to the importance of considering potential allergies when providing catering for young people on educational visits, with specific reference to the new “Natasha’s Law“.

The amended documents are:

3.2a Underpinning Legal Framework and Duty of Care

3.3e Checklist – Visit Leader

4.2b Residentials

6o FAQ: Allergies and Anaphylaxis (which has also been revised and renamed to cover allergies more generally).

Provider Statement

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps External Providers Good practice Model Forms Specific Activities

We have deleted the OEAP National Guidance form 8r “Additional Provider Statement”, and have instead added questions about coronavirus to the forms  8p Provider Statement and 8q Provider Statement – Word Version.

At the same time, we have added additional points about coronavirus to 4.2a Residentials, 4.4f Checklist – Assessing a Provider and 4.4g Selecting External Providers and Facilities.

Updates

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During September 2021, we created two new OEAP National Guidance documents, revised nine guidance documents and made minor amendments to one guidance document.

You can go straight to the table here.

Overseas Visits

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Legal Framework Personalised check lists

We have updated OEAP National Guidance document 7r Overseas Visits to give more emphasis to the importance of checking the regulations of the countries to be visited, such as whether or not there is a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID.

We have supplemented this guidance with a new OEAP National Guidance document 3.3g Checklist – Visit Leader of an Overseas Visit –  a new checklist for organising overseas visits.

Coronavirus and Educational Visits

Good practice Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities Specific Activities and Hazards Specific Hazards

We have updated OEAP National Guidance document 4.4k Coronavirus to reflect the most recent changes in government guidance in both England and Wales.  The revised guidance also:

  • highlights the fact that the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are not part of the UK and have their own coronavirus regulations;
  • provides guidance about when parents, volunteers etc. who do not normally work in the establishment take part in a visit;
  • points out that the government’s Risk Protection Arrangement for schools does now have some COVID cover.

We have amended OEAP National Guidance documents 4.2b Residential Visits, 7r Overseas Visits and 7q Overseas Expeditions accordingly, and to reflect the fact that DfE and the Welsh Government no longer advise against residentials or overseas visits.

You can download the revised Coronavirus guidance here.

Bites and Stings

Specialist activities and visits Specific Hazards

We have rewritten OEAP National Guidance document 7e, which was previously about jellyfish stings, and have renamed it “7e Bites and Stings“.  The revised guidance now includes links to advice about bites and stings from insects, snakes, animals and humans as well as jellyfish and other sea creatures. It also includes links to advice about stings and burns from some plants.

We have retained the original jellyfish URL for this document, so that other guidance that links to it will find an unbroken link.  You can download the revised guidance here.

OEAP National Guidance Updates

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table  also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During August 2021, we created two new OEAP National Guidance documents, revised three guidance documents and made minor amendments to three guidance documents.

You can go straight to the table here.

Sepsis

Essential Good practice Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities and Hazards Specific Hazards

Knowing how to identify sepsis can save lives.  Young people often function normally as an illness develops and then experience a sudden and rapid deterioration.

In recent years two young people have died from sepsis on educational visits.  It’s important that your visit leadership team knows how to identify the signs and what to do.  We have therefore created a new OEAP National Guidance document, 7.2a Sepsis, with the help of the UK Sepsis Trust.

You can download the new guidance here.

Updated Documents

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table  also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During July 2021, we revised seven guidance documents.

You can go straight to the table here.

Using the “Search National Guidance” function

Essential

When you use the Search National Guidance function on the OEAP National Guidance home page, the search will sometimes turn up long-deleted versions of a document.  This is because Google saves frequently searched-for documents to its own servers to help to provide swift search results.  An old version of a document that we have deleted and replaced may remain on their servers for some time.

To check whether you have the most recent version of a guidance document, we recommend that you download it via the Contents tab or Browse Documents button.

New and Updated Documents

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table  also includes links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During June 2021, we created four new Welsh translations of existing guidance documents and revised sixteen guidance documents.

You can go straight to the table here.

Provider Statement for Residentials during Coronavirus

Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Model Forms

We have added some further questions to OEAP National Guidance document 8r Additional Provider Statement for Residentials during Coronavirus.  These include asking the provider to confirm the maximum number of participants and staff who will share sleeping accommodation, and whether changes from normal accommodation arrangements have affected security or safeguarding.

You can download the revised guidance here.

OEAP National Guidance – Updated Documents

Updates

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show how many documents we have added or revised in the previous month.  We include a link to an update table showing brief summaries of each amendment.  The table has been changed this month to include links to each of the new or newly-amended documents.

During May 2021, we created one new guidance document, revised seven guidance documents and made minor amendments to one guidance document.

You can go straight to the table here.

Leadership & Management

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Evaluation Evaluation and reviewing Good practice Leadership and Supervision Model Forms Planning and Evaluation Planning and Evaluation Policies planning and evaluation

What does good leadership and management of visits look like?  We were asked that by an outdoor education adviser, and, as a result, we have created a new OEAP National Guidance document 4.2e Leadership and Management.

We have also created a new OEAP National Guidance document 4.2f Facilitating Learning and Development, which focuses on the processes that leaders can use to help participants to learn and develop.

This led us to review and revise OEAP National Guidance document 5.1a Establishment Self-Evaluation Form, and provide a Microsoft Word version as 5.1b.  It now gives links to relevant guidance documents, and is aligned with the Headteacher/Manager checklist (document 3.3b).

Adventure Activities

Basic Essentials Specialist activities and visits Specific Activities

We have updated OEAP’s National Guidance document 7a Adventure Activities to bring it in line with other more-recently revised documents, to include a fuller definition of adventure activities and to create links to other relevant documents.

Alongside this we have also updated OEAP’s National Guidance document 1a Glossary and Definitions to include the adventure activities definition.

You can download 7a here.

How Can Outdoor Learning Contribute to Mental Health?

Frequently Asked Questions

We have created a new document 6v FAQs: Mental Health, which considers how outdoor learning can contribute to mental health and refers to the growing body of evidence that well-managed outdoor learning and adventure activities can be powerful ways of helping children and young people to develop their emotional and psychological wellbeing, mental resilience and happiness.

You can download the new FAQ here.

 

OEAP National Guidance Updates

Essential

Each month we amend the OEAP National Guidance Updates page to show the documents that have been added or revised in the previous month.  We include links to each document and a table showing brief summaries of each amendment.

During February 2021, we created three new guidance documents, revised 7 guidance documents and made minor amendments to two guidance documents.

You can view the updates page here.

The COVID Symptom Study for School Communities

Good practice Planning and Preparation Specialist activities and visits Specific Hazards

The COVID Symptom Study is a not-for-profit initiative run by health science company Zoe with scientific analysis provided by King’s College London, endorsed by the UK, Welsh and Scottish Governments. It includes a COVID Symptom Study for School Communities.  Getting involved in this has the following benefits:

  • schools receive daily Covid insights for their students that enable more informed and rapid decision-making to help keep them safe;
  • information is shared with children and their parents, reassuring parents and helping children to complete their education safely;
  • the data contributes to critical national scientific research into the impact of COVID on children and younger people.

We have updated OEAP National Guidance document 4.4k Coronavirus to include information about the study, including how you can join.

You can download the document here.

Learning Outcomes Mind Map

Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Making the case Outcomes for Children and Young People

We have created a new OEAP National Guidance mind map, 8.2a Learning Outcomes Mind Map, based on the information in document 2.1b Learning Outcomes.  It provides a summary of the many areas where outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom can be particularly effective in achieving educational aims and desired learning outcomes.  It replaces an earlier mindmap that was numbered 5.2a.

You can download the new mind map here.

Using External Providers

Good practice Must Read Planning and Preparation

We have amended OEAP National Guidance document 4.3b Ratios and Effective Supervision to clarify that, if staff who are not competent or confident are taking part in an activity, the activity leader may need to regard them as participants when considering the leader to participant ratio.

OEAP National Guidance Document 4.4h Using External Providers provides advice about activities led by a provider.  We have amended that advice to add the same point.

Visits and the Package Travel Regulations

Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems

We have updated OEAP National Guidance document 3.2h Visits and the Package Travel Regulations. Originally, this guidance document was aimed at establishments organising their own residential visits, to help them decide whether and how their visits are affected by the Regulations.  We have added more information for establishments that purchase packages from a provider.

You can download the revised guidance here.

OEAP Outdoor Learning Cards

Learning Outside the Classroom Specialist activities and visits

Schools and nurseries that are open for vulnerable children and children of priority workers can help to keep the coronavirus at bay by teaching outside as much as possible.  The OEAP Outdoor Learning Cards are designed to give you lots of ideas for delivering the curriculum outside the classroom.

You can find out more by reading the newly-updated OEAP National Guidance document 7.3a Using OEAP Outdoor Learning Cards.

Providers and Refunds

Good practice Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems Planning and Preparation Specialist activities and visits Specific Hazards

Many providers are now making promises of refunds or postponement if a visit cannot go ahead as a result of Covid-19, which will hopefully encourage establishments to begin planning again for educational visits.  Where a promise has been made, you are encouraged to check that the promise is included in the terms and conditions of the contract and/or insurance policy.  We have updated National Guidance documents 3.2i Contracts and Waivers, 4.4c Insurance and 4.4k Coronavirus to draw attention to this.

We have also amended 4.4k Coronavirus to increase the prominence of the reasons why you should be encouraging more of your learning to take place outdoors during the pandemic, and to add more details about the current restrictions on school sport.

The Package Travel Regulations

Good practice Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems Planning and Preparation Specialist activities and visits Specific Hazards

During the coronavirus pandemic, some schools have been concerned that package travel organisers have been unwilling to give a refund as their contract was between the company and the school, rather than made directly with participants or their parents.  The Competition and Markets Authority has recently taken the view that the Package Travel Regulations do apply in these cases, and that individual customers should be entitled to a refund if they have paid money in advance for a group visit that is cancelled because of the pandemic.

We have updated 3.2h Visits and the Package Travel Regulations, 3.2i Contracts and Waivers, and 4.4k Coronavirus in the light of this, and included a link to what the Competition and Markets Authority said.

National Guidance Contents

Essential

Did you know that you can scroll through a list of all of the documents on the National Guidance website?

Just hover your mouse over the contents tab on the black menu bar, and you will see the option “View All Documents”.  Click this to see the full list.

When we add new documents, or revise older documents, they appear immediately in this list, but they may take rather longer to appear in the Google search facility.  So we recommend this as a way to ensure that what you are reading is the latest version.

Making the Case

Examples of Good Practice Learning Outside the Classroom Making the case Manifesto for LOtC National Curriculum Outcomes for Children and Young People Research and reports Supporting Documents

We have updated the documents in Section 2 of National Guidance, which makes the case for outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom.   As well as updating existing documents, we have added several additional research reports.

For more information, see the National Guidance Updated Documents page.

 

Adapting to Covid-19 through Learning Outside the Classroom

Learning Outside the Classroom Specialist activities and visits

OEAP has created three new guidance documents aimed at helping you to use learning outside the classroom to manage and adapt to the current Covid-19 situation, while building strong foundations for improving school outcomes.

The documents are 7.3b OEAP (2020): How to Take Your Learning Outside the Classroom, 7.3c OEAP (2020): Learning Outside the Classroom – Activity Cards and 7.3d OEAP (2020): Taking Learning Outside the Classroom – Adapting Activities.

Foundations and Good Practice

Basic Essentials Good practice Must Read Planning and Preparation

We have fully revised and updated four documents that are fundamental to National Guidance: 1b Foundations, 1c Status, Remit and Rationale, 4.3a Good Practice – the Basics and 4.3c Risk Management – an Overview.

Alongside this we have deleted document 5.2b “Planning Basics” because its content is covered in the other four documents, and because document 3.3e Checklist – Visit Leader provides a comprehensive prompt for visit planning with links to useful documents across National Guidance.

Emergencies and Critical Incidents

Emergencies

We have completely revised the suite of documents in section 4.1 of National Guidance that covers emergencies and critical incidents.  Some documents have been merged with each other, and some have been renumbered.  If your own guidance includes links to these documents, we recommend that you review the links.

The new suite of documents is as follows

4.1a Avoiding Accidents and Emergencies

4.1b Emergencies and Critical Incidents – Overview

4.1c Emergencies and Critical Incidents – Guidance for Leaders

4.1d Emergencies and Critical Incidents – Guidance for Establishments

4.1e Emergencies and Critical Incidents – Guidance for Employers

4.1f  Emergencies and Critical Incidents – Guidance for First Contact

4.1g Model Emergency Procedures for Visit Leaders

4.1h Model Emergency Plan for Establishments

4.1i Model Critical Incident Plan for Employers

We have also made minor amendments to a number of other documents to update the links to emergency documents.

 

First Aid

Good practice Planning and Preparation

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Government has temporarily modified the requirements for first aid qualifications in Early Years Foundation Settings.  We have therefore updated the National Guidance document 4.4b First Aid to refer to that.

We have also taken the opportunity to update the guidance about ensuring that any medication is within its expiry date, and about recording and reporting.

You can download the revised document here.

First Aid etc. Certificates Nearing Expiry Date

Good practice Planning and Preparation

The Health and Safety Executive have released the following statement:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is aware that people holding Offshore Medic (OM), Offshore First Aid (OFA), First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificates nearing expiry date, might experience disruption to access to requalification training as a result of events or circumstances generated by the coronavirus pandemic.

HSE’s current guidance on the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981: here and the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989: here is that those holding an OM, OFA, FAW or EFAW qualification should undertake retraining before their original certificate expires and HSE strongly recommends that employers, and individuals holding those qualifications should plan for requalification training well in advance of expiry dates.

If however requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus or by complying with related government advice, it is reasonable and practical to extend the validity of current certificates by up to 3 months. Anyone taking advantage of this extension should be able to describe clearly their reasons for delaying requalification training, and demonstrate steps they have taken to undertake the training, if required.

This guidance comes into effect for certificates expiring on or after 16th March 2020. HSE will review this matter over the coming months and will issue further statements as necessary.

The Department of Education has commented as follows:

The Department for Education supports the HSE statement regarding the extension of first aid certificates during coronavirus emergency and that it can be applied to paediatric first aid certificates held by staff in early years provision.

Safety Training Awards (STA) have stated that other qualifications that they issue may also be subject to extension for these reasons.  See their statement here.

External Providers and Facilities

Good practice Planning and Preparation

National Guidance document 4.4h Using External Providers and Facilities had become unwieldy as a result of covering such a wide ground.  We have therefore split it into a new document 4.4g Selecting External Providers and Facilities, covering the selection process, and a revised document 4.4h Using External Providers covering monitoring and the respective roles of establishment and provider staff.  As a result we have also made a minor amendment to 4.4f Assessing a Provider Checklist.

You can find all three documents in the Good Practice Section (section 4) of the National Guidance website.

Assessing a Coach Hire Provider

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Good practice Transport

Choosing one coach company from another may seem a difficult task if you have no specialist transport knowledge. However, there are are ways to provide some assurance of suitability, and we have created a new checklist: 4.5f Checklist – Assessing a Coach Hire Provider to help you.

You can download the new checklist here.

We have also made minor amendments to the existing guidance document 4.5e Hiring a Coach.

Unaccompanied Expeditions

Specialist activities and visits

We have created a new National Guidance document 7k Unaccompanied Expeditions.  This brings together all information about unaccompanied expeditions into one place, and has enabled us to reduce the previously rather lengthy document 7b Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expeditions so that the latter is now specifically about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

You can find both documents in the Specialist Activities and Visits section of the National Guidance website.

Visits and the Package Travel Regulations

Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems

We have revised 3.2h Visits and the Package Travel Regulations in the light of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (PTR).  Most educational visits do not fall in scope of the regulations, but establishments should be aware that some can.  It is worth noting that there can be legal implications even when an establishment does not organise a visit, but buys a package from a provider.  These are explained in the document.

You can download it here.

Revisions to National Guidance Documents

Frequently Asked Questions Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems Planning and Preparation Specialist activities and visits

Since the 30th May 2019 we have made the following changes:

Minor amendments:
 |  8b English Homestay Information Form (deleted)
 |  8.4a English Homestay Information Form
 |  6c FAQs: Duty of care when working with providers
 |  3.2d Approval of Leaders
Role: evc, head/manager, Outdoor Education Adviser, visit leader
 |  3.2i Contracts and Waivers
Role: evc, head/manager, Outdoor Education Adviser, visit leader
 |  4.3d Parental Consent
Role: evc, head/manager, Outdoor Education Adviser, parents, visit leader
 |  4.4j Participant Information and Data Protection
Role: evc, head/manager, Outdoor Education Adviser, parents, visit leader
 |  8.1q Provider Statement
 |  8p Provider Statement - Deleted
 |  3.2a Underpinning Legal Framework and Duty of Care
Role: employer, evc, governors, head/manager, LA Officer, Outdoor Education Adviser
 |  6q FAQs: Staff Supervising Mixed-Sex Groups
 |  7.2j Weather and Group Safety

Revised documents:
 |  1b Foundations
Role: assistant leader, employer, essential, evc, governors, head/manager, LA Officer, Outdoor Education Adviser, parents, visit leader
 |  7.1b Duke of Edinburgh's Award expeditions
 |  3.2d Approval of Leaders
Role: evc, head/manager, Outdoor Education Adviser, visit leader
 |  3.3e Checklist - Visit Leader
Role: visit leader
 |  4.4d Medication
Role: evc, head/manager, Outdoor Education Adviser, visit leader
 |  5.1c Self evaluation and the Ofsted framework
Role: evc, head/manager

New documents:
 |  6s FAQs: Events Organised by Parents

Deleted documents:
5.3a Writing policies to reduce bureaucracy for routine off-site activities and visits

Update Table
This shows the recent updates and previous documents revision history
[Download not found]

Overseas Visits

Frequently Asked Questions Good practice Planning and Preparation Specialist activities and visits

We have amended 7r Overseas Visits to include advice about visits to countries where there is a risk of crime or terrorism.

Alongside this, we have created a new document 4.4e Terrorism to replace 6k FAQs: Visits and the Threat from Terrorism, which had developed into a guidance document rather than a FAQ.

6k FAQs: Visits and the Threat from Terrorism is now a straightforward FAQ, referring you to other sources of information.

Model forms – Fill-And-Sign and Word versions

Model Forms

We have received feedback that the fill-and-sign PDF versions of the model forms: 8b English Homestay Information Form and 8p Provider Statement cannot be saved once filled in if you are using an un-updated version of Windows 7 or earlier.

We have therefore created Microsoft Word versions of both documents: 8a English Homestay Information Form – Word Version and 8q Provider Statement – Word Version.

3.3c Checklist – Management Board/Governing Body

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Personalised check lists Roles and responsibilities

We have updated the National Guidance document 3.3c Checklist – Management Board/Governing Body.

Governing Bodies and Management Boards may find this a useful tool for ensuring that they are providing a sufficient oversight of their establishment’s outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom.

You can download the revised document here.

Public Liability Insurance for Providers

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Executing the plan Good practice Planning and Preparation

We have amended the National Guidance document 4.4h Using External Providers and Facilities to point out that the limit of public liability insurance for providers that hold the LOtC Quality Badge can be found on the Quality Badge website.

We have also changed 8p Provider Statement  so that the questions about public liability insurance are directed only at providers that do not hold the Quality Badge.

Providers

Checklists Checklists Model Forms and Mindmaps Executing the plan Good practice Planning and Preparation

We have revised the National Guidance documents 4.4h Using External Providers and Facilities, 4.4f Checklist – Assessing a Provider and 8p Provider Statement.  The revisions clarify the guidance about accreditation and explain why you should not ask for a provider’s risk assessments.

We have also added a new section to 4.4h Using External Providers and Facilities about working with provider staff, which links closely with our new guidance about roles and responsibilities in 4.2a Group Management and Supervision.

 

Exchanges and Homestays

Executing the plan Good practice Planning and Preparation Specialist activities and visits

We have amended 7f Exchanges and Homestays in response to requests for more clarity about monitoring and supervision on homestays.  The amendments have reflected our thinking in recent updates of 4.4h Using External Providers and Facilities (seeing homestay hosts as providers) and 4.2a Group management and Supervision (more clarity about roles and responsibilities).

Group Management and Supervision – Roles and Responsibilities

Executing the plan Good practice

We have updated the document 4.2a Group Management and Supervision to be clearer about how important it is that leaders and helpers fully understand their roles and responsibilities. A new section explains the roles of Visit Leader and Activity Leader, and gives guidance on leaders working together or alone, and on parents as leaders

You can download it here.

Participant Information and Data Protection

Frequently Asked Questions Good practice Legal Framework Legal Framework and Employer Systems Must Read Planning and Preparation Policies Policies planning and evaluation

Since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we have received a number of requests for further information about how this impacts upon the collection, use and retention of participant information for educational visits.  We have also received enquiries about how data protection applies to photographs of children.

We have therefore revised and expanded upon our guidance document 4.4j Participant Information and Data Protection, and made corresponding amendments to 3.2a Underpinning Legal Framework, 4.3d Parental Consent, 4.3e Safeguarding, 4.4h Using External Providers and Facilities, 5.3b Writing an Establishment Visit Policy and 6d FAQ Retention of Documents.  We have also included a section about data protection in the new document 3.2i Contracts and Waivers.

New Guidance from the Department for Education

Basic Essentials Emergencies Evaluation and reviewing Executing the plan Good practice Model Forms Must Read National Guidance Personalised check lists Planning and Evaluation Planning and Preparation Policies planning and evaluation Roles and responsibilities Specialist activities and visits

The Department for Education (DfE) has revised its guidance “Health & Safety on Educational Visits“.  You can view the guidance here.

The guidance provides a summary of eight key points for organising educational visits, and refers the reader to OEAP’s National Guidance, which provides greater detail on each of these points.  To read the more detailed guidance, follow the links below:

  1. The 2 main types of trips:  4.3c Risk management – an overview  |  1b Foundations  |   5.2b Planning Basics for Outdoor Learning, Off Site Visits and Learning Outside the Classroom | 4.3f Risk  management – some practical advice
  2. When to get consent from parents:  4.3d Parental Consent
  3. Using outside organisations:  4.4h Using external providers and facilities  |  4.4f Assessing an adventure activity provider check list
  4. Adventure activities: caving, climbing, trekking, and watersports:  3.2f AALA Licensing  |  4.4f Assessing an adventure activity provider check list7a Adventure activities  |  3.2d / 4.4a Approval of Leaders  | 7o Natural Water Bathing  | 7x Swimming Pools
  5. Trips abroad:  7q Overseas expeditions |  7r Overseas visits
  6. Knowing what to do in an emergency:  4.1h Avoiding Accidents and Emergencies  |  4.1i Emergencies and Critical Incidents – An Overview   |  4.1k Visit Leader Emergency Checklist | 4.1j Off-Site Visit Emergencies: The Role of School Governors  |  4.1l / 8.1l Visit Leader Emergency Action Card – amendable version
  7. Evaluating trips:  6d FAQs: Retention of Documents  | 5.1a Establishment Self Evaluation Form  | 5.1c Learning outside and off-site visits: self evaluation using the Ofsted framework
  8. Educational visits coordinators:  3.4j Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC)  |  3.3a EVC check list

Exchange Visits and Homestays

Essential Frequently Asked Questions Legal Framework Model Forms Policies Specialist activities and visits

We have updated our guidance about exchange visits and homestays to provide greater clarity about when a DBS check may be required.  This has involved amending documents 3.2a Underpinning Legal Framework, 3.2g Vetting and DBS checks, 7f Exchanges and Homestays and creating a new FAQ 6r Hosting a Homestay.

We have also revised 8a English Homestay form (Word version) and 8b English Homestay Form (PDF version) so that they can be used to collect more of the information needed to make vetting decisions for homestays in the UK.

Jellyfish and Portuguese Man-of-War Stings

Specialist activities and visits

Recent research has called into question the commonly-accepted treatment for lion’s mane jellyfish stings.  Medical authorities have yet to have a chance to consider this research, so it is not yet included in NHS advice.  With many people heading for the sea this summer, we have updated 7e Jellyfish and Portuguese Man-of-War Stings to refer to the new research.

You can download the revised guidance here.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE)

Legal Framework Specialist activities and visits

The Government has recently updated its guidance on Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE). As a result, and after discussions with DfE, we have made minor amendments to National Guidance document 3.2g Vetting and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), specifically about DBS checks for adults involved in homestays. We have similarly updated the document 7f Exchanges and Homestays.

You can download the revised document 3.2g here, and you can download the revised 7f here.

Local Authority Officer

Essential Roles and responsibilities

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.

See Local Authority Officer, under the Essential Guidance tab.

Corporate Parenting

Employer Systems and Requirements Legal Framework

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.

Asking for a provider’s risk assessments

Frequently Asked Questions Good practice Planning and Preparation

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.

Anaphylaxis: emergency auto-injectors

Frequently Asked Questions Good practice Planning and Preparation
From October 1st 2017 Schools can purchase adrenaline auto-injectors, without a prescription, for emergency use with their pupils who are known to be at risk of anaphylaxis.  We have updated 4.4b First Aid and 4.4d Medication to reflect these changes.
We have also added a new document:  6o FAQs Recognising and managing anaphylaxis, containing an emergency protocol for use with allergic reactions/anaphylaxis.  The protocol is taken from Department of Health “Guidance on the use of emergency auto-injectors in schools” with is available at:
You can download the new FAQ here.

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.

Financial Support for National Guidance

Essential

OEAP is determined to continue to provide National Guidance, and to keep it regularly updated. We think it is vital that this resource remains free to all who wish to use it.

We therefore welcome offers of financial support from organisations committed to providing freely-available guidance in support of outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom. This support is offered altruistically as it confers no influence or control over any aspect of NG beyond contributing to its continued existence.

OEAP is therefore pleased to announce that the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has joined the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) and the School Travel Forum (STF) as organisations who have agreed to contribute to the cost of maintaining and updating this resource.

We have added a new page to the “About” tab on the National Guidance home page where we list the organisations who provide financial support for National Guidance.  You can view the page here.

High Quality Outdoor Learning

Making the case Research and reports

The English Outdoor Council published its new guide: High Quality Outdoor Learning in 2015.  The guide is now available as a PDF for download.

It outlines the benefits of working in outdoor contexts and has been written to help evaluate, and set about improving, or further improving, the quality of outdoor learning.  In support of this, it identifies ten key outcomes of outdoor learning, with a range of indicators attributed to each one.

You can download the guide here.

Keeping National Guidance Free

Essential

OEAP is determined to continue to provide National Guidance, and to keep it regularly updated. We think it is vital that this resource remains free to all who wish to use it.

We therefore welcome offers of financial support from organisations committed to providing freely-available guidance in support of outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom. This support is offered altruistically as it confers no influence or control over any aspect of NG beyond contributing to its continued existence.

OEAP is therefore pleased to announce that the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and the School Travel Forum have agreed to contribute to the cost of maintaining and updating this resource.

AALA to be retained

Essential

A report published by the Government this week states that Ministers have decided that there remains a place for the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). The Improving Health and Safety Final Report says that this is because it is important that parents and other carers of children can have confidence that activity providers are following good safety practices.

AALA will therefore be retained.

You can find the report here

 

Raising achievement through the environment

Making the case Research and reports

We have acquired a PDF of the research document “Raising Achievement through the Environment: The Case for Field Work and Field Centres” and have added it to the National Guidance research and reports section as document 2.4f.

Although this document is over ten years old, it is a valuable addition to the case for outdoor learning, in that it was able to demonstrate that pupils can learn more in the field than they can within the classroom alone.

40 pupils from a year 6 group underwent a field study course at a centre, involving learning in groups in the field. 45 pupils remained at school as a control group, following the same curriculum topic – the geography of rivers at Key Stage 2. The control group mirrored the learning format but remained within the classroom.  Both groups showed improved levels of knowledge, but, in understanding and skills, the centre-based pupils out-performed the control group by a factor of four.

In-depth analysis of the data and interviews suggested that fieldwork improves memory (“it puts pictures into your mind”), improves understanding, improves depth of meaning, improves awareness of personal growth, and improves motivation to learn.

You can read the document here.

HSE Revised Guidance

Essential

HSE has revised it’s guidance on controlling risks in the workplace. It is no longer called the “Five Steps To Risk Assessment” but the five steps are still there. You can download a free copy of Risk Assessment: A Brief Guide To Controlling Risks In The Workplace from the HSE website.

One quote from the document worth repeating: “A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.”  It’s about what you do, not about what you write.

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