UK Outdoors Submit a Roadmap For Reopening Educational Visits, Warning That Without Urgent Action Sector Will Be Decimated

UK Outdoors Submit a Roadmap For Reopening Educational Visits, Warning That Without Urgent Action Sector Will Be Decimated

PR Newswire

LONDON, Feb. 10, 2021

- Covid-safe protocols developed to support safe reopening of domestic sector after Easter

- 89% of sector revenues come from educational visits; £600m of sector revenue has been lost resulting in 6,000 jobs gone and a further 10,000 jobs at risk

- 1.3 million activity days, impacting 500,000 children, booked during summer term at risk

- £50m financial support package requested to safeguard £700m sector

- Government-backed Insurance scheme requested to enable future school bookings

LONDON, Feb. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- UK Outdoors, the industry body for outdoor learning and activities, announces that, in conjunction with the School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group ("STSSG"), it has submitted to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State, and the Department for Education, a roadmap for the phased restart of domestic educational visits after Easter, over a year after visits were suspended by government guidance in March 2020.

The proposals, which have been developed by a consortium of 12 industry groups, seek to ensure that the sector is able to safely restart school visits and includes a number of elements:

Andy Robinson, Chief Executive of Institute for Outdoor Learning and Member of UK Outdoors, said:

"The pandemic and the Department for Education's guidance have been catastrophic for the sector, with thousands of jobs gone and a worrying acceleration in the number of centres closing forever. Our £700m industry is on a knife edge.  But with the right support and guidance, the sector can still be saved. Our Roadmap to Restart provides a clear and prudent proposal for a phased restart of the outdoor education sector in time for the critical Summer Term, giving providers a sustainable path to survival. If no action is taken and no additional support is provided, the sector stands to lose all its 16,000 jobs, snuffing out a vital British industry."

Educational visits play a huge role in the cognitive, social, emotional and physical development of students. The benefits to health and wellbeing and to socio-emotional learning outcomes (including self-confidence, teamwork and resilience) are particularly well-evidenced.

Educational visits also bring students closer to nature and its benefits, such as health, wellbeing and pro-environmental outcomes. Over the last ten months, so many children and young people have been locked down in cities and towns with restricted opportunities to connect with each other or with nature. The inequalities between groups of children accessing these benefits are widening.

The School travel sector will play an important role in students' learning and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

Jim Whittaker, Chair of Association of Heads of Outdoors Centres and UK Outdoors Member, said:

"Outdoor education is a vital resource for all schools with over two million children a year taking part. At a time when COVID has so disproportionately affected the nation's children, outdoor education has a unique role to play in helping to restore and rebuild their confidence and mental health. This is particularly true for disadvantaged children and the thousands of inner-city schools, students and parents for whom outdoor education is a unique and life changing experience. Without meaningful action by the Government now, this invaluable resource risks being lost forever."

Media Enquiries

UK Outdoors (c/o Montfort Communications)

Nick Bastin

Woolf Thomson Jones

Notes to Editors

About UK Outdoors

UK Outdoors is the industry body for outdoor learning, representing over 5,000 individuals and organisations in the outdoor and environmental education and adventure world. We deliver one voice and the best support for individuals and organisations throughout the sector.

Outdoor learning changes lives and provides opportunities for all students, regardless of background. The sector holds a pivotal role in supporting schools to develop students' social and mental health wellbeing through adventure and engagement with the natural environment.

The outdoor learning sector delivers formative educational experiences to at least 2m students across the UK every year. The sector provides over 16,000 jobs and £700m to the UK economy.

UK Outdoors includes the following organisations:

About the School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group

The School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group ("STSSG") was convened by the Department for Education in November 2020 to formally represent the school travel sector's interests and address potential challenges ahead of the sector's restart. The STSSG is made up of representatives drawn from the educational visits and travel sector and come from industry bodies, trade associations and providers.

The participants of the School Travel Sector Stakeholder Working Group are: 

 

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