Last updated 14 April:

Following 12 months of advising against residential educational visits, with only a relatively brief spell of day visits being permitted, the Department for Education released guidance on 26 March regarding the recommencement of educational visits.  Whilst we’d suggest reading the guidance for yourselves in summary it’s good news!

The key points are:

  • In line with the Government Roadmap Out of Lockdown Step 2, which started on 12 April, ‘schools can ‘resume educational day visits’.
  •  In line with the Government Roadmap Out of Lockdown Step 3, which will happen ‘no earlier than 17 May’, schools ‘may undertake domestic residential education visits’.
  • ‘We (the Government) are working with Public Health England and the sector on what coronavirus (COVID-19) secure residential visits will look like at step 3, and further advice will be provided.’

In light of the DfE statement the approach of Thornbridge Outdoors is to:

  • Enable, wherever/whenever possible, as many outdoor learning opportunities to take place as is safely possible – after such a difficult year outdoor learning has so much offer children.
  • Ensure that schools that are keen to go ahead with a residential are fully supported and can make the most of their booking.
  • Work creatively so that schools who – for whatever reason – need to cancel their planned visit are supported as much as possible to provide alternatives for their pupils.
  • Mitigate the financial impact of cancellations on parents, the school and the centre.

If you already have a booking, or are looking to arrange a visit, please see the relevant section below.

Existing residential visit bookings:

Sadly it is now confirmed that residentials will not be permitted before 17 May, therefore your residential is cancelled.

Rescheduling your residential:

A few dates may become available between 17 May (the likely start of Roadmap Stage 3) and the end of the summer term.  If you are interested in rescheduling your visit to later this summer term please let us know ASAP if you haven’t already.

If the pupils you were planning to bring are still with you in the autumn term (i.e. they aren’t in Y6 for primary schools) please consider rescheduling their residential to the autumn/winter for those pupils.

Refunds:

As government guidance means that it isn’t possible for your planned residential to go ahead then you are entitled to a full refund of what you have already paid and no cancellation charges will be applied.

Obviously we think it is to everyone’s benefit to reschedule or arrange alternative activities, but if this is not possible and you wish to cancel your booking and be refunded please let us know.

Alternatives:

Whilst cancelling residential visits is incredibly disappointing the good news is that there are alternatives to consider, including combinations and a series of:

  • Outdoor learning days at school.
  • Outdoor learning days visits to Thornbridge Outdoors.
  • Outdoor learning day visits to other venues in the Peak District.

New bookings:

Whilst our initial priority in any one week is to those schools who were booked in to stay at the centre that week it is likely that there will be times that we have the capacity to accommodate new bookings.  If you are interested in making a booking please get in touch to discuss the options.

Outdoor learning days at school:

Thornbridge Outdoors can come to you. Activities that can be offered in your school grounds include

  • Team building challenges.
  • Orienteering.
  • Denbuilding.
  • Firelighting.
  • Bouldering (if you have a traverse wall at your school).

In the near future we also hope to be able to provide rock climbing on a mobile climbing tower.

Outdoor learning days at Thornbridge Outdoors:

Now that day visits to the centre are possible we can offer the majority of our activities to groups.  We are keen to work creatively with schools to provide meaningful day visits to the centre.

How about a series of day visits to provide a range of outdoor adventures or an extended day at the centre – you’re welcome to arrive anytime from 9am and can stay until 9pm if you still want to have your campfire or to enjoy the nightline.

Actions already taken to enable us to accommodate day visits at the centre in line with with COVID-19 secure measures in place include:

  • Installation of hand sanitiser points around the centre.
  • Installation of hand washing sinks by the stores area where activities typically start and finish.
  • Revised cleaning schedules including the use of viruscide cleaning products.
  • Equipment quarantining.
  • Lateral flow testing of customer facing staff.

Outdoor learning day visits to other venues in the Peak District:

We are fortunate that many of our activity venues are within range for day visits from many of the schools that we work with.  If you would like your pupils to experience activities such as weaselling, rock climbing and hillwalking our experienced instructors can meet you at there to make the most of the time available.

Whist we are still waiting for the Government to confirm ‘what coronavirus (COVID-19) secure residential visits will look like’ with our separate accommodation buildings, multiple dining and meeting rooms and camping options we’re confident that we can offer Covid-secure residentials to schools once step 3 of the roadmap is reached.

Actions already taken to enable us to accommodate groups with COVID-19  secure measures in place include:

  • Installation of hand sanitiser points around the centre.
  • Installation of hand washing sinks by the stores area where activities typically start and finish.
  • Making additional accommodation available onsite in case visiting staff are unable to share accommodation.
  • Installation of a dishwasher in the Farm House, meaning all accommodation areas now have a dishwasher.
  • Revised cleaning schedules including the use of viruscide cleaning products.
  • Equipment quarantining.
  • Lateral flow testing of customer facing staff.

Our protocols will be updated once the Government guidance is released and shared with schools.

If at all possible please continue to plan for the residential to go ahead by collecting payments, getting in touch to arrange your programme etc.  If hesitancy regarding your booking possibly being affected by Covid-19 rule changes or attendees having to isolate is affecting your confidence to book please contact us to discuss these scenarios.

If you know that you need to cancel your residential booking please get in touch as soon as possible and we’ll do everything that we can to reschedule another school into your booked accommodation to reduce the number of missed opportunities for young people.

Rescheduling your residential:

If the pupils you were planning to bring are still with you in the autumn term (i.e. they aren’t in Y6 for primary schools) please consider rescheduling their residential to the autumn/winter for those pupils.

Should you have to cancel your residential some of the following options below may be possible:

  • Outdoor learning days at school.
  • Outdoor learning days visits to Thornbridge Outdoors.
  • Outdoor learning day visits to other venues in the Peak District.

Please be aware that the availability of these options depends on the availability of staff, activities and facilities at the centre and that we have to give priority to groups that are staying at the centre.  If you would like to explore these options please get in touch and we will try our best to accommodate your requirements.

Outdoor learning days at school:

Thornbridge Outdoors can come to you. Activities that can be offered in your school grounds include

  • Team building challenges.
  • Orienteering.
  • Denbuilding.
  • Firelighting.
  • Bouldering (if you have a traverse wall at your school).

In the near future we also hope to be able to provide rock climbing on a mobile climbing tower.

Outdoor learning days at Thornbridge Outdoors:

Now that day visits to the centre are possible we can offer the majority of our activities to groups.  We are keen to work creatively with schools to provide meaningful day visits to the centre.

How about a series of day visits to provide a range of outdoor adventures or an extended day at the centre – you’re welcome to arrive anytime from 9am and can stay until 9pm if you still want to have your campfire or to enjoy the nightline.

Outdoor learning day visits to other venues in the Peak District:

We are fortunate that many of our activity venues are within range for day visits from many of the schools that we work with.  If you would like your pupils to experience activities such as weaselling, rock climbing and hillwalking our experienced instructors can meet you at there to make the most of the time available.

We are hoping that all types of visits will be able to go ahead in the autumn and encourage all schools to plan accordingly.

Already have a booking?

If you already have a booking please get in touch after May half term to discuss the plans for your visit.

Want to make a booking?

To find out our availability and to discuss your options please email info@thornbridgeoutdoors.co.uk and one of the team will get in touch.

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