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 »

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 »

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 »