UK Outdoors, the industry body for outdoor learning and activities, has welcomed the Government and Department for Education’s decision to restart the outdoor education sector in line with its roadmap proposals.
The new guidance also indicates that the Department for Education, in line with proposals put forward by the sector, is exploring the possibility of putting in place a COVID restricted indemnity to cover schools against COVID-related travel cancellations and allow schools to book with confidence.
Under the new guidance day visits will restart as part of Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap and no earlier than 12 April and residential visits will restart as part of Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap, no earlier than 17 May.
The sector has worked hard with the Department for Education, through its School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group; to ensure that schools and schoolchildren can take advantage of the fantastic outdoor education facilities the country has to offer.
Martin Smith, chair of the Outdoor Council, said: “We welcome the decision to restart educational visits in the UK and get schoolchildren back enjoying the great outdoors. Day visits restarting from 12 April and residentials from 17 May are huge milestones for our sector, our staff, and schools and schoolchildren in England.
“We would like to specifically thank the committed officials at the Department for Education and local MPs who have worked so hard with our sector to ensure we can get up and running safely. Also to our member organisations and their members for their hard work and patience during this period.
Jim Whittaker, chair of Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres, said:“This is great news. We have worked so hard and it’s brilliant to have some clarity. Our attention now turns to delivering safe educational visits in line with our proposals and the roadmap and we will continue our work with the Department to that end.
“Our members can’t wait to get back to doing what they do best, delivering life-changing outdoor education for schoolchildren and young people, especially in the context of the recovery from Covid. We look forward to welcoming you all in the coming months.”
UK Outdoors will remain working closely with the Department for Education on guidance and protocols for the safe restart and will continue to update schools and its members on its progress.
UK Outdoorrecently lobbiedthe governmentwithover 200 leaders from the outdoor education sector, as well as high profile supporters, who put their names to a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to allow the outdoor education sector to reopen.