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Membership Overview

What is the School Travel Forum?

The School Travel Forum (STF) is a Trade Association founded in 2002 to promote good practice and safety in school travel.

In late 2008 it was appointed by the Learning Outside of the Classroom (LOtC) Interim Council to act as the awarding body for the study and sports sector of the LOtC Quality Badge Scheme.

Who are we?

STF is a not-for-profit limited company.  It is run by a democratically elected committee from amongst its Assured Members.   Assured members are from all sizes of companies and represent the majority of commercially organised educational visits.   Our website ( shows those members which have achieved ‘Assured Member’ status.

The administrative base is in Ross-on-Wye, where we have our own permanent office, allowing members to contact us directly whenever they wish.

Who can apply for a LOtC Quality Badge?

Any organisation that is offering the type of education visit, which can be defined as:

  • Educational and study residential and day visits in the UK* and world-wide, where they are organised by third parties on behalf of schools, colleges and youth groups including:

  • Study visits

  • Foreign exchange visits

  • Concert tours

  • Sports, skiing and snow sport trips

  • Educational conferences

  • Cruises

  • Pilgrimages

  • Swimming pools in hotels, hostels or campsites

The STF remit normally does not cover visits that are exclusively outdoor and adventurous activities or expeditions.   However, where such activities are included as a minor part in a wider package, the STF scheme ensures such activities are covered.

*Organisations offering only day visits within the UK will not need to be badged through this route unless the activities offered are more hazardous.

Who is eligible for STF membership?

Any UK company or organisation with a specialist educational visits programme can join as a Non-Assured member, provided the legally correct financial protection for clients is in place.   There are significant discounts on membership fees for new applicants in their first and second years. Non-Assured members get access to the STF’s industry leading risk management process, the members’ area of our web site and are included in newsletters and information updates.

To become an Assured member, organisations will need to complete the STF auditing scheme and must do so within two years of joining.  There are support processes in place to help new members successfully prepare for their initial audit.  Assured Members have the right to use the STF logo, appear on the STF website and claim membership of the STF.  In addition, Approved status automatically qualifies companies for the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom’s Quality Badge.

Please note, it is a requirement of the STF code to Please note, it is a requirement of the STF code to

•              Hold a principal (tour operator) ABTA membership and /or an ABTOT membership

•              Be bonded if operating as sole traders, insolvency insurance is not acceptable, and…

•              Hold an ATOL, in their own company name, if offering air packages; split contracts or ATOL agency arrangements are not 


What is required?

Assured Membership and the Quality Badge award requires an external audit to confirm that you conform to our Code of Practice and Safety Management Standards.  This requires you to be visited each year by our approved auditors.

The Application Process


STF Office

Opening hours

The STF office is open from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday-Friday.   Outside of these times you may leave a message on the answer phone or, alternatively, send us a fax or e-mail.

General advice & information

The STF office is always pleased to follow up general enquiries and questions from members.   We may not always know the answers, but we frequently know someone who does!


AGM & Committee

The STF Annual General Meeting takes place every year in the autumn and is open to all members.

Significant changes to rules or standards are debated and voted upon during the AGM before adoption.

Committee elections

The Committee and Chairman are elected by ballot of the members at the AGM.   The rules ensure committee members are drawn from all sizes of member companies and are required to resign in rotation.   Retiring committee members may seek re-election alongside other candidates. 

Committee members are usually assigned specific areas of responsibility; copies of current committee members can be obtained from the STF Office.


STF website

STF has its own site.   The site is designed to reflect and promote the aims and objectives of the STF.

It also acts as a ‘hub’ from which teachers and others can link to members’ web sites.   A listing on the site is free of charge to all Assured members.


STF Members database

The website contains the STF Member database, which lists all Assured Member companies and gives a brief description of their activities and principal contacts.

Code of Practice and Safety Management Standard

The site also displays the latest version of the STF rules and Safety Management Standard.


Support Services

Gill Harvey has been appointed CEO of the STF to provide technical advice and support to the STF committee and members.

All enquiries to Gill are confidential.

All members receive a copy of the STF Members’ Handbook, which contains the full rules, conditions of membership, standards and set forms.

All members receive the STF Technical Manual that supports the training for and consistency in the auditing of accommodation.

Shared set training days for members’ accommodation auditors are arranged in conjunction with Checkpoint Solutions.

Guidance notes: where important issues arise guidance notes will be issued offering advice that has been checked with health & safety and/or legal advisors

Note: updates are issued by the STF office.

General Information

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