Outdoor Education Adviser Panel (OEAP) national guidelines
OCC has adopted the OEAP National Guidance as its operating guidance for the management of Visits and LOtC activities. This Guidance has received widespread endorsement from professional associations and organisations, including from the HSE. The endorsements can be viewed on the National Guidance website.
Covid 19 advice
OEAP has prepared a specific paper to support schools during Covid 19.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides generic and specific guidance for schools.
The Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) website provides a range of supporting materials and information for visit leaders. It also provides the LOtC Badge scheme, which is an important provider validation.
The Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS) provides statutory inspection for adventure activity providers whose activities fall into the remit set out by the licensing regulations.
Adventuremark is a safety validation for those activity providers not in scope of AALS Licensing
School based support
This is aimed at providing support for the Educational Visit Coordinator (EVC) with monitoring visits programmes. It is primarily a desk top partnership exercise and will focus on reviewing your systems and providing any recommendations as necessary. The audit visit will take place in the school/setting and takes approximately two hours. To arrange an audit for your school contact Nick Rose, Off Site visits Officer.
Notification of visits
OCC delegates the responsibility for approval of all outdoor learning visits and LOtC activities to Heads/Managers who should use the OEAP National Guidance and OCC policies as their source of advice.
In delegating such approval and in order to meet insurance requirements OCC requires schools/settings to notify the Off Site Visits Officer and OCC insurance if visits and activities fall within the following criteria:
- Overseas visits (day and residential)
- Within the remit of AALA Regulations
- Visits/activities in more remote/demanding settings
- Visits involving access to significant water
If these conditions do apply a visit notification form must be completed and returned in order for the necessary insurance cover to be arranged.
OCC has a duty to ensure suitable, sufficient and proportional risk management processes are in place for employees. This is delegated to schools/settings who must ensure it applies to all those leading, helping or participating in outdoor learning, off-site visits and LOtC activity.
Risk management should follow the principles of an identified risk benefit process as outlined in the OEAP National Guidance. Recording risk management plans is important, but equally it is the correct and appropriate actions that create safe practice. Heads / Managers should ensure that written policies are accurate and the actual delivery of the visit reflects the policies.
For details of insurance for off site visits please consult the OCC insurance link at
There are frequently asked questions that we are asked and it may be useful to give direct links to the OEAP guidance which is regularly updated:
- Do we need to have at least two members of staff travelling in a school minibus? Look at: Transport general considerations 4.5a OEAP Guidance.
- Do we need to take a first aider with us on a school trip? Look at Planning and preparation 4.4b OEAP Guidance.
- What ratios of staff to students do we require on a school visit? Look at Must read 4.3b OEAP Guidance
- We are going on a school visit and travelling in private cars, what do we need to do? Look at Transport, Transport in private cars 4.5c Transport in private cars
This section contains documents you may find useful, as either an EVC or as a Visit Leader
- Group safety at Water Margins (pdf format, 428Kb)
- High Quality Outdoor Education - This guide has been written to help you evaluate and then set about improving, or further improving, the quality of outdoor education you offer (pdf format, 3.4Mb)
- Managing Risk In Play Provision (pdf format, 2.7Mb)
- Natural Childhood - National Trust brochure (pdf format, 11.7Mb)
- Nothing Ventured - balancing risks and benefits in the oudoors (pdf format, 2.3Mb)
- School Trips and Outdoor Learning Activities - HSE information (pdf format, 77Kb)
- Time for Change in Outdoor Learning (pdf format, 197Kb)