A month after the return to school for the majority of children, the DfE amended their guidance to allow schools to undertake ‘day visits’ again from the 12th April. This news was hugely welcome as other than a few visits during the autumn term, these have been unable to take place for most of the last year.
Educational visits and outdoor learning are recognised by DfE, Ofsted and the Education Endowment Foundation (amongst many other organisations) as contributing positively to children’s attendance, motivation and attainment, and a recent survey of students at Perseid school in Merton identified that educational visits are the aspect of their school life that students have missed the most during the last year.
Mick Bradshaw, Outdoor Education Adviser, was contacted to deliver a whole staff INSET session on planning and leading educational visits at the School, to ensure that all the teaching staff are confident to start planning and leading visits again. The session started with a focus on why school staff should put themselves in the very responsible position of leading off-site visits – and was a good reminder of some of the many other benefits to children such as giving them new opportunities and experiences, broadening their horizons and developing their personal and social skills. Enjoyment and fun were also mentioned by many of the staff as benefits that make visits worthwhile!
Mick also ran an online update meeting for Educational Visits Coordinators (EVCs) attended by colleagues from over 40 schools (every school is expected to appoint an EVC) – to share the latest changes to guidance and when it is likely that overnight visits and overseas visits may also be allowed to re-start.
It has been great to see how keen schools are to get educational visits back on the timetable, with many children due to benefit this term as the roadmap progresses. The next step (not earlier than May 17th) will hopefully give the green light to overnight visits as many schools plan these to take place during the summer term.