Learning outside the classroom guidance for Educational Visits Coordinators

Learning outside the classroom guidance for Educational Visits Coordinators

: Educational visits : Leadership roles : Management and supervision : Offsite visits : Outdoor learning : Overseas visits NewsBlog

Essential guidance to EVCs for their role and responsibilities

An Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) is defined in OEAP National Guidance document 1a Glossary and Definitions as a “member of establishment staff appointed to co-ordinate all visits and with the status to effect change and be the focus of good practice”.

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

Categories of Guidance for Educational Visits Coordinators

Relevant Guidance for EVCs is comprehensive and occurs in the following five categories of NG:

  • Category 1 – Basic essentials
  • Category 2 – Making the case
  • Category 3 – Legal framework and employer systems
  • Category 4 – Good practice
  • Category 5 – Policies, planning and evaluation.

The document 3.1b Establishment roles and their inter-dependence states that

“It is good practice for all establishments to have an Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC), and the employer’s policy may make this a requirement. In smaller establishments, the role of EVC is sometimes held by the head/manager. Where an EVC is not nominated, by default the responsibilities of the role rest with the head/manager.”

The EVC is the establishment’s focal point for planning and monitoring visits and outdoor learning. They should work closely with the head/manager and with Visit Leaders.

The responsibilities of EVCs

Document 3.4j Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) is particularly helpful as a starting point, as it provides guidance on their specific responsibilities.

“The EVC should be specifically competent. The level of competence required can be judged in relation to the size of the establishment as well as the extent and nature of the visits planned. Evidence of competence may be through qualification, but more usually will be through the experience of practical leadership over many years. Such a person should be an experienced Visit Leader with sufficient status within the establishment to guide the working practice of colleagues leading Visits.
“This cannot be a purely administrative role, although certain functions may be delegated to an administrator.”

Key functions of the EVC include:-

  • Being a champion for all aspects of visits and outdoor learning
  • Challenging colleagues across all curriculum areas to use visits and outdoor learning effectively
  • Supporting/overseeing planning so that well considered and prepared arrangements can lead to well-managed, engaging, relevant, enjoyable and memorable visits/outdoor learning
  • Mentoring leaders and aspirant leaders
  • Ensuring that planning complies with your employer’s requirements and that the arrangements are ready for approval within agreed timescales
  • Supporting your head/manager and governors/trustees in approval decisions
  • Ensuring that all activity is reviewed, that good practice is shared
  • Keeping their senior leadership team and governors/trustees informed about the visits and outdoor learning taking place – and their contribution to establishment effectiveness.

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

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

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 »

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 »

Outside the classroom – how “SAGE” can help with decision making about staffing and supervision levels

Outside the classroom – how “SAGE” can help with decision making about staffing and supervision levels

: Leadership roles : Management and supervision : Outdoor learning : Policies : Risk management NewsBlog

The staffing of visits must enable leaders to supervise young people effectively

“Staffing ratios are a risk management issue and should be determined through the process of risk assessment” states the National Guidance document 4.3b Ratios and effective supervision.

It is not possible to set down definitive staff and / or participant ratios for a particular age group or activity, it continues.

Some employers, guidance documents and governing bodies do set out minimum ratios, but these should be regarded as starting points for consideration rather than being definitive, as they may be appropriate only where the activity is relatively straightforward, and the group has no special requirements.

“If your employer does specify minimum ratios, you must follow their guidance.”

How SAGE can help

A useful framework for assessing requirements for ratios and effective supervision is SAGE, says the guidance document.

  • Staffing: who is needed/available? The plan must work within the limits of available numbers, abilities and experience.
  • Activities to be undertaken: what do you want the group to do and what is possible?
  • Group characteristics: prior experience, abilities, behaviour and maturity, sex, any specific individual needs.
  • Environment: indoors or out; a public space or restricted access; urban, rural or remote; quiet or crowded; within the establishment grounds, close to the establishment or at a distance; and the ease of communications between the group and base. Do not overlook environments to be passed through between venues.
    • For residential visits consider the accommodation and surrounding area.
    • For outdoor environments, consider remoteness, the impact of weather, water levels and ground conditions.
    • Consider the implications of current guidance about avoiding infection during an epidemic.

 

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


Download OEAP National Guidance document 4.3b Ratios and effective supervision »

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 »

Every offsite visit venue needs a policy: help to get you started

Every offsite visit venue needs a policy: help to get you started

: Offsite visits : Policies NewsBlog

Why OEAP National Guidance may well be an ideal starting point…

“Every establishment should have a policy setting out its expectations of how outdoor learning, off site visits and learning outside the classroom will be managed” begins the OEAP National Guidance document 5.3b How to write an establishment visit policy.

Such policies are essential for outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom.

The policy detail will depend upon the type of establishment, the nature of the activities and visits it provides, and (if the establishment is not itself the employer) any relevant policies or guidance provided by the employer.

Unless an employer already has such documentation in place, the guidance recommends adopting OEAP National Guidance for 2 compelling – and reassuring – reasons:-

  1. It will ensure that it reflects nationally recognised standards that are kept up to date
  2. It will reduce significantly the amount of guidance material that you need to write.

The introduction should explain the scope of the policy, including who it applies to, and what activities it applies to.

“Why your establishment provides outdoor learning, offsite visits and Learning Outside the Classroom, and the part they play in the life of the establishment. This could include reference to your underpinning philosophy and to the anticipated benefits and outcomes.”

The document includes valuable information on the following:-

  • The scope of the policy – who it applies to, and what activities it applies to
  • Employer’s Policies and National Guidance
  • Clarification of Roles
  • Procedural Requirements
  • Monitoring
  • Induction, Training, Apprenticeship, Succession Planning
  • Risk Management and Risk-Benefit Assessment
  • Assessing Venues and Providers
  • Volunteers
  • Emergency Procedures and Incident Reporting
  • Behaviour
  • Inclusion
  • Insurance
  • Finance
  • Data Protection.

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Outdoor education group management and supervision guidance as day visits begin again

Outdoor education group management and supervision guidance as day visits begin again

: Educational visits : Leadership roles : Management and supervision NewsBlog

Caring for participants – and for each other – during a visit

It is important for effective group management that they fully understand their roles and responsibilities at all times during a visit, according to the OEAP National Guidance document 4.2a Group management and supervision.

Whenever there is a change in who is responsible for any aspect of the visit, there should be a clear handover. Lack of clarity or poor communication can put participants and colleagues at risk.

This useful guidance contains specific information for the benefit of:-

  • Visit leaders
  • Activity leaders
  • Activities where there is one or more leader
  • A parent as leader.

The document cross-references with other informative publications and includes guidance regarding:-

  • Good Practice in Group Management
  • Headcounts or Rollcalls
  • Supervision
  • ‘Buddy’ Systems
  • Rearranging Groups
  • Night-Time Supervision
  • Group Supervision when Travelling.

“The level of effective supervision necessary for the journey should be considered as part of the overall risk management plan. Lost person incidents are most likely to occur at rest stops, when changing transport or during transitions from one place to another.”

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


Download OEAP National Guidance document 4.2a Group management and supervision »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »

Learning outside the classroom: why good leadership is crucial

Learning outside the classroom: why good leadership is crucial

: Leadership roles : Outdoor learning NewsBlog

The roles of establishment staff involved in outdoor learning must be clearly defined

The OEAP National Guidance document 4.2e Leadership and Management provides advice about competent and effective leadership and management, for employers, establishments and visit/activity leaders.

“Competent and effective leadership is a key element of good practice in the management of outdoor learning, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom. This applies to leadership of organisations by the employer, leadership of establishments, and leadership of activities and visits.”

Leadership is about setting and communicating a clear purpose and vision, and uniting a team of people around it.

Management is about providing the environment and the tools that empower and enable people to translate the vision into reality.

4.2e provides specific Leadership and Management advice regarding

  • Establishments
  • Employers
  • Visit Leaders and Activity Leaders.

The download also contains direct links to fifteen other supporting National Guidance documents.


Download OEAP National Guidance document 4.2e Leadership and Management »

An introduction to OEAP National Guidance »