DfE announces key dates for the resumption of school trips
The Department for Education (DfE) updated its coronavirus operational guidance on 10 May 2021 with important new information for English schools waiting to book their next educational trip.
The guidance for Scottish schools is slightly different and can be found here.
The latest DfE guidance recognises the significant benefits of school trips on pupils' educational development, health and wellbeing and sets out the steps that will allow children to enjoy visits in line with the government's roadmap. As expected, the DfE has confirmed that schools will be able to take domestic residential trips from 17 May and sets out a new timetable for the resumption of international school trips.
What is most significant for those of you wanting to organise a ski trip, bearing in mind the long lead times it takes to plan and organise, the updated guidance also confirms that schools are now able to book some educational trips, as long as adequate financial protection is in place. We take a look at what this advice means for schools below.
When can schools resume Overseas trips?
Educational day visits and residentials are back
Schools have been able to take a domestic day trip since 12 April and the DfE’s latest guidance confirms that English schools can also take domestic residential trips from 17 May 2021. All trips must be conducted in line with relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) secure guidelines, such as keeping children in consistent bubbles, and following an appropriate risk assessment.
Overseas school trips could restart from September 2021
Though some international travel is set to resume on 17 May, the DfE recommends that schools do not travel abroad this academic year given the ‘current complexities’ attached to international travel. This means that schools will not be able to take foreign trips until 5 September 2021 at the earliest. The DfE will continue to review the situation and will update its advice in advance of Step four of the roadmap, which is expected on 12 June.
English schools can now book new trips
The DfE has given schools the green light to book some new educational trips as long as they have ‘adequate financial protection’ in place, such as using a tour operator which offers flexible COVID booking terms.
If you are planning your next school trip, we have published information about our financial protections, booking flexibility and emergency back-up measures for school groups. Follow this link to find out how you can book and travel with confidence.
And if you need further reassurance all deposits paid to True North are protected by the Travel Trust association and all monies paid to us are deposited in a trust account meaning that, even if the worst happens, your booking is financially protected.
When is the right time for schools to book their next trip?
We are all desperate to travel again and we have seen from schools that have sent letters out to gaige interest is considerable pent-up demand from groups who missed out in 2020/21, and we expect a reduction in availability due to enhanced safety protocols, which means that it is a good time to get the ball rolling now. This is especially true for schools who don’t want to miss out on their preferred accommodation or favour specific dates for their trip.
We also expect availability to be squeezed by a lack of supply; as we come out of the pandemic, not all hotels will offer the flexible booking conditions that our schools require, which will reduce the number of hotels we are able to use. Therefore, we strongly recommend schools book as early as possible.
If you are ready to plan a new trip, we have published information about our extra COVID-19 precautions and back-up measures. Follow this link to find out how you can book and travel with confidence contact us at email@example.com if you are ready to discuss your plans – there's no time to lose!We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Chris Beaumont is a Co founder & Director at True North Travel
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