Planning an overseas educational visit
It can take up to 12 months to organise a successful overseas educational visit so whilst the pandemic continues to have an effect on international travel, many school and youth groups are already planning future trips for the multitude of benefits that these experiences bring and the impact they have on young people’s learning and personal development.
What to consider when planning an overseas trip
Most countries have clear policies regarding the entry requirements for vaccinated and non-vaccinated adults. For children, entry requirements are often based on the country’s own vaccination policy for children and whether children are travelling with a fully vaccinated adult.
If you are travelling with young people under the age of 18 it is important to do your research so that you are clear on the details and have all the information you need.
Once you have decided on the destination for your school or group trip, there are a number of things to check including:
The latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for the country you are planning to visit. The FCDO has a wealth of information including entry requirements, health advice and other mandatory requirements. You can also find links to the relevant destination authority website for your visit, here you can find specific information relating to that country. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-abroad-from-england-during-coronaviruscovid-19
Read the TravelHealthPro fact sheet for travelling with children https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/82/children
Is your travel or tour provider a School Travel Forum member? As well as holding the LOtC Quality Badge, as advised by the Department for Education, our members are also members of ABTA, giving you extra assurance regarding safety management, financial protection and quality of learning.
Check your travel insurance and make sure you understand what is and what is not covered
What you need to check
Are children permitted to enter the country when travelling with a fully vaccinated adult or are they only permitted to enter the country with a fully vaccinated parent?
Are children required to take PCR or lateral flow before travel or are they exempt from pre-departure tests?
Are children required to take PCR or lateral flow on arrival in the destination or are they exempt from tests?
What COVID tests do you need to book – based on the ages of children within your party.
Do you and other group leaders need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated?
Do children over the age of 12 need to provide proof of part-vaccinated status?
As you approach your departure date
Keep up to date with the latest information from the FCDO on travelling with children https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronaviruscovid-19#travelling-with-children
Check the Department for Education for their latest guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice-foreducational-settings/coronavirus-travel-guidance-for-educational-settings#travel-forchildren-under-18-organised-by-educational-settings
See the National Guidance from the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel, the OEAP provide guidance for schools and colleges regarding educational visits and learning outside the classroom https://oeapng.info/
Read all the literature provided to you by your travel provider
Remember to check the current rules for returning to the UK for children – based on the ages of the children within your party. When returning to the UK. Each national has their own advice:
If you have any questions, your STF / ABTA travel provider will be able to point you in the right direction.
At the time of writing the information available for schools, colleges, youth groups on travelling with unvaccinated or single dose vaccination children is minimal.
Information for parents
Benefits of using a School Travel Forum member
If your school is using a School Travel Forum member for their trip, you can have confidence that their tour organiser is operating to the highest of standards. All School Travel Forum members hold the LOtC Quality Badge. Backed by the Department for Education, this accreditation recognises safety management, including infection control, and the quality of learning provided. STF members are also ABTA members, giving you extra confidence about the security of your child’s school trip.
If you have any questions about your child’s educational visit do talk to your school and/or the group leader.
What to do in the lead up to your child’s trip
The group leader and travel provider organising your child’s trip will be keeping up to date with the latest FCDO advice and guidance from the chosen destination country. You can support the group leader by ensuring all documentation is up to date and ready – e.g passports and proof of your child’s vaccination status. Your group leader will contact you in good time with exact details of what is needed.
See the FCDO for advice on travelling with children https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-toengland-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19#travelling-with-children
The Department for Education also has updates and specific information relating to school or youth group trips. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19travel-advice-for-educational-settings/coronavirus-travel-guidance-for-educationalsettings#travel-for-children-under-18-organised-by-educational-settings
Remember, if you have any questions do talk to the group leader.