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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Outdoor education – how taking care of the risks can enable huge benefits to be gained

Outdoor education – how taking care of the risks can enable huge benefits to be gained

: Educational visits : Risk management NewsBlog

“Growing up involves children learning to manage risk”

Most human activity involves balancing benefits and risks. We cannot have all of the benefits but none of the risks. We can eliminate all of the risk only by stopping the activity – but we then lose all of the benefits.

“Indeed, there are benefits that arise out of taking risks, as many explorers, entrepreneurs and other pioneers have shown”, states a recent OEAP National Guidance document, 4.3c Risk management – an overview which is now available for employers, heads, managers, local authority officers, visit leaders and others to download.

Risk management is therefore not about eliminating risk – it is about reducing it as low as reasonably practicable and deciding if this is acceptable in order to gain the potential benefits, says the guidance document – a point of view that is reportedly recognised by both the  HSE and the Department for Education (DfE).

“HSE fully recognises that learning outside the classroom helps to bring the curriculum to life – it provides deeper subject learning and increases self-confidence. It also helps pupils develop their risk awareness and prepares them for their future working lives.
“Striking the right balance between protecting pupils from risk and allowing them to learn from school trips has been a challenge for many schools, but getting this balance right is essential for realising all these benefits in practice.”

The document also deals with:-

  • What is Risk Management?
  • Levels of Risk Management
  • Categories of Visit
  • and Risk Management Implementation.

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


Download OEAP National Guidance document 4.3c Risk management: an overview »

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 »