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Educational visits

We offer an educational visits advisory service to help ensure off-site educational activities are executed safely.

Overview of the policy for the management of learning outside the classroom

We require all community and voluntary controlled schools and other children's services establishments to:

  • have a policy for learning outside the classroom (LOtC) that adopts and follows Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP) national guidance
  • ensure that they have a member of staff employed as an Educational Visits Co-ordinator (EVC), who has completed an accredited Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP) EVC training course
  • ensure that their EVC attends revalidation courses every 3 years
  • have access to a named OEAP adviser (listed as a registered or accredited member on the OEAP website) for advice, support and further training - OEAP advisers have proven expertise and professional understanding of national guidance and the training and expectations set by current good practice
  • have systems in place that require their OEAP adviser to scrutinise and approve category C visits (higher risk visits that are either adventurous, international, residential or involve the planned use of water outdoors)

Read the full policy for the management of learning outside the classroom

How to evidence your school's compliance

Please complete the audit form to evidence your school's compliance with our policy for the management of learning outside the classroom.

Training courses

All Educational Visits Co-ordinators (EVCs) in West Northamptonshire maintained schools are required to undertake an approved training course. The course remains valid for 3 years. Visit Leader training is also offered to all schools.

The council's educational visits advisor offers training courses that are suitable for all school staff who take responsibility for leading, planning or co-ordinating educational visits and other learning outside the classroom activities.

Other training providers are available. Visit the OEAP website to find out more.

Plan an off-site visit

Planning a visit may appear to be a daunting process. Our service aims to ensure that staff have access to practical advice, support and guidance. The initial contact for advice about learning outside of school should be the Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) in your establishment. 

The Outdoor Education Advisers' Panel National Guidance website provides advice for planning visits, checklists and up-to-date information for your role as a:

  • Visit Leader
  • Assistant Leader
  • EVC
  • Headteacher
  • Governing Body


In the event of an emergency, visit staff should contact their school emergency numbers, alerting their senior management team. Schools and establishments should ensure that emergencies are included in their critical incident plans.

Risk assessments

​Assessing and managing risks is part of the process of good planning and delivery of an educational visit.

Specific activities

Use the Outdoor Education Advisers' Panel National Guidance website as a starting point for advice and guidance. A range of advice is available for specific activities.

Choosing a provider

Quality badges

The Outdoor Education Advisers Panel accepts the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality badge as evidence of robust safety and quality management systems.

Check to see whether the provider has a quality badge.

If your provider doesn't hold the LOtC Quality badge you should use the 8.1q provider statement form to ensure they adhere to national standards. You can download this from the OEAP website.


The Adventurous Activities Licensing Service (AALS) licence or Adventure Mark badge are also accepted for providers that offer adventurous activities that are in scope.

Check to see if your provider holds a licence

Categories of educational visits

These visits are close to the school, done on a regular basis involving environments known to the staff. It would include normal daily life activities.

Examples include walks and exploring the area near the school site, visits to the local church, library, school sporting fixtures and other regular non-complex activities. It can also include transport if needed.

These visits are to areas beyond the local area involving more complex environments and activities and will be a one-off or irregular activity in the school year. The leaders will be approved to lead the visit by the EVC. There may be some specialist training attached to some activities in this area.

Examples include visits further afield, farm visits, local parks, museum visits, swimming lessons in offsite pools, zoo visits, sporting festivals and larger tournaments and some basic outdoor education activities.

Category C visits include residential visits and overseas visits, adventure activities and activities involving water.

To be compliant with the WNC policy your school must have systems in place that require an OEAP adviser to scrutinise and approve all category C visits. If you are unsure whether your visit is category C, please contact your OEAP adviser.

It is not possible to provide a completely definitive activities list. Examples of activities included would include Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, outdoor adventure activities including hills and mountains, adventures on water or field studies involving water and motorsports.

For current legislation related to adventurous activities, visit the Adventure Activities Licensing Service website.

Last updated 07 June 2024