Update on School Residentials – staying on school grounds; secondary age children; grants for residential centres; and overseas travel

We have received the following update from AHOEC/OEAP:

“We (OEAP/AHOEC Cymru) met with the representatives from the WG education team this morning to follow up on the points raised as a result of the publication of the guidance on Monday, and to look forward to future weeks and the summer period.

“There were some specific points raised and the answers are below:

“There was a question regarding schools managing their own visits in terms of camping at school or staying in school halls. These are currently not part of the guidance. The change in guidance applies only to residential outdoor education centres. It was agreed that a specific FAQ to clarify the regulations and the WG position on this matter, this will be done in due course and we will share this with you. This will also support those of you who have interaction with local authority trading standards or EHOs who may not yet have read/understood the guidance in full, to have somewhere to direct those colleagues to.

“We asked about when/how secondary age children, whether through school or youth organisations would be able to engage in residentials again. There is a review by WG due around 12th July and whilst the outcomes are unknown, the options that would likely be considered are relatively positive (unless infection/hospitalisation rates rise significantly). There could be the move to a rule of 6 as in England, or a removal of all restrictions (as is planned in England on July 19th). There is a thought that the UK governments will want to have some alignment across the home nations before the summer period to manage the summer tourism industry. We are assured that ministers are being presented with the info on the need both for this provision to be resumed, and to plan ahead for secondary groups in September, and the contribution youth work makes to the sector especially during summer or other school holiday periods.

“On a connected note, of the 50 expressions of interest to the sector specific ERF that were judged appropriate, less than 10 have submitted the full applications have been submitted subsequent to this. So, if you had an expression of interest accepted do make sure you follow up to get the money before the deadline.

“We raised the issue of overseas travel and the need for clear guidance as and when the travel regulations change. We highlighted the need for FCO advice and the advice on school travel from Welsh Government to be aligned. We recognised that this is a problematic area as FCO guidance can change at short notice and different areas of the world are vaccinating at different rates. The current advice would be to not book overseas trips until the current guidance of no overseas travel changes.”

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