Government update on English Schools Visits

The UK Government’s Educational Visits guidance in England has been updated by today, as summarised below:

“In line with current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, we continue to advise against undertaking all educational visits.

DfE recognises the significant benefits of educational visits for children’s educational development as well as their mental health and wellbeing and is taking steps to allow children to enjoy visits in line with the government’s roadmap. The roadmap is driven by data, not dates. The government will only move from one step to the next when it is safe to do so and based on 4 tests.

For that reason, all dates are indicative and subject to change. Advice will be updated in line with the roadmap.

Educational day visits
In line with the roadmap, should step 2 commence as planned, schools can resume educational day visits no earlier than 12 April.

Any educational day visits must be conducted in line with relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidelines and regulations in place at that time. This includes system of controls, such as keeping children within their consistent groups and the COVID-secure measures in place at the destination.

Schools should undertake full and thorough risk assessments in relation to all educational visits to ensure they can be undertaken safely. As part of this risk assessment, schools will need to consider what control measures need to be used and follow wider advice on visiting indoor and outdoor venues. Schools should consult the health and safety guidance on educational visits when considering visits.

Domestic residential educational visits
In line with the roadmap, we advise against domestic residential educational visits until at least step 3, no earlier than 17 May.

The roadmap is driven by data not dates. The approach to domestic residential visits is dependent on the roadmap and is subject to change,

Existing bookings
Should step 3 commence as planned, you may undertake domestic residential education visits, that are already booked, no earlier than 17 May.

Any domestic residential educational visits must be conducted in line with relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidance and regulations in place at that time.

New bookings
Schools may begin planning for new domestic residential educational visits to take place. Should step 3 commence as planned, new visits will be possible from and no earlier than 17 May.

Schools are advised not to enter into any new financial or contractual commitments at this stage. This advice will remain under review and updated at the earliest opportunity.

Any new domestic residential educational visits must be conducted in line with relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidance and regulations in place at that time.

We are working with Public Health England and the sector on what coronavirus (COVID-19) secure residential visits will look like at step 3, and further advice will be provided.

International visits
The Global Travel Taskforce has been commissioned to set out how to facilitate a return to international travel as soon as possible while managing the risk from imported variants of concern. It is due to report on 12 April 2021. This advice will be updated following the publication of the report.

Credit notes
Any school holding ATOL or ABTA refund credit notes may use these credit notes to rebook educational international visits.

Indemnity
We recognise the gap created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the commercial insurance market relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel cancellation insurance.

We are working with Her Majesty’s Treasury to explore the possibility of addressing that gap and putting in place a coronavirus (COVID-19) restricted indemnity that will:

  • give schools cover against coronavirus (COVID-19) travel cancellations in the future
  • allow schools to book new visits with confidence

More details will be provided as soon as they are available.”

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