The Institute for Outdoor learning has released the following update, with some slightly encouraging news for the future of school residential visits:
“After considerable work with the Department for Education, support from MPs and tireless campaigning from centres, providers, schools and others across the country, we have received news of the Secretary of State’s decision on guidance to schools. As a consequence of the high prevalence of coronavirus across the country, the advice will remain unchanged.
“The Government has, however, publicly recognised the enormous benefits the sector provides for children’s wellbeing, as well as the expertise and skills within it – and is committed to now working with us on a roadmap to an Easter 2021 restart for residential outdoor education.
“From next week, we, as part of a newly formed School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group (STSSG), will be working with the Department and building the roadmap for the restart of residentials, including:
- A full framework for the safe reintroduction of domestic residential visits
- Approval of sector COVID-safe protocols
- Public Health England’s scientific guidance
- Interim holiday cancellation insurance
- Raising the profile of outdoor education’s positive contribution to children’s wellbeing across Government Departments and External Organisations
“Whilst the news that the current guidance remains in place is not what we had hoped for, we are encouraged by the change in tone and attitude from the Department. We hope that for many of our members this news will provide some clarity and some sense of certainty for customers and for business planning.
“We recognise that Easter remains a distant prospect, and we will be canvassing the membership to understand the specific financial impact of the loss of 12 months of revenue. We will be raising the financial impact with the Department for Education and exploring potential support.
“We will continue to regularly update you on the progress of the STSSG and our work on each of the areas outlined above.
“We cannot thank you and your teams enough for the support to date. Your campaigning is tipping the balance and making Government and politicians take note of our sector’s outstanding contribution.”