We’ve received this update from AHOEC/OEAP:
“A quick update from our (AHOEC/OEAP) last meeting with the WG education team regarding outdoor learning and visits.
“Schools are now operating on the slightly revised infection control framework document they’ve had previously with no change to advice on visits. Overseas visits are still a challenge, but this probably won’t concern most providers this message will get to, but there will be some further updates for OAEP colleagues through Arwel in regards to some FAQs for the WG to publish online and some other developments with STF and insurance for overseas visits.
“The directors of education of the local authorities (represented at the meeting also) have noticed some pockets of infection springing up from some residential visits but suspect this may be due to travel times/arrangements rather than what providers are doing on site. The important thing, which is probably obvious, is that schools and school leaders need to be confident in our systems and risk management processes.
“The general standpoint from both the team and directors of education is that visits should go ahead for the benefits they bring and only be curtailed where this is unavoidable – as opposed to trying to convince schools to allow visits. The biggest issues school are facing is around the availability of supply cover when staff are either away on visits or having to isolate. Potentially this is mirrored in the outdoor sector as well.
“In the longer term there are plans to meet with the education minister directly to introduce/represent the sector and highlight the High-Quality Outdoor learning for Wales document, but as he is still new to the post and has two portfolios to manage, his time is at a premium. WG have also recently funded some research which seeks to ascertain what outdoor and adventurous learning schools are engaged with, with a longer-term view of making stronger/better connections to local providers in their area to ensure more children can access High-quality outdoor learning experiences, more frequently. I’ll be leading the team on this (although it involves 3 universities from across Wales) so please contact me directly if you’d like more information on this project. This is starting to make some connections between the policy and curriculum arms of the education team and the research and teacher education components.
“We will meet again with the team in a few weeks time so if you have specific questions or feedback, please pass them to [us] to bring to the meeting.”