OEAP – School visit guidance, support and training

Teens on ski slope

In the ever-changing world of school trips, here’s how can you keep up-to-date with the latest advice and guidance…

Thomas Booth
by Thomas Booth

The Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP) is the lead body for guidance, advice and training related to outdoor learning and educational visits in England and Wales. It has around 120 members and provides information and training to support these advisers in their work with schools.

The OEAP was set up in 1978 as a professional support network for staff advising local authorities and schools on issues relating to outdoor education and educational visits. Prior to its formation, these advisers often worked in isolation. In order to join the network, advisers had to be nominated by their chief education officer.

Over time, various government guidance documents defined the important role of these advisers. This advice has been refined over the years. You can now find it on the OEAP website. It’s endorsed by the DfE, HSE, NAHT and NEU, among others.

The OEAP believes that every child should have access to a comprehensive programme of high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities as an integral part of their school curriculum. As a teacher, you should be able to take pupils on exciting visits that broaden their horizons.

What can the OEAP offer me?

Specialist training

Selected OEAP members can provide you with up-to-date, focused and relevant training. This ensures that your staff are working to the very highest standards. This reputation for excellence has been built up over many years.

There’s visit leader training for staff who plan and lead visits or who are looking to lead or support visits in the future. Educational visits co-ordinator training is available for staff members who oversee the planning and management of visits for schools.

Also on offer is management of visit emergency training. This helps members of SLT know how to deal with the management of off-site emergencies.


The OEAP’s outdoor and environmental learning cards feature a range of activities that can support schools in the delivery of outdoor and environmental learning.


The OEAP has developed national guidance to help anyone who organises high-quality outdoor learning, educational visits and adventurous activities. This includes residential visits and overseas visits. The guidance supports safe learning experiences for young people and is enabling, rather than restrictive. It covers provision across England and Wales, but much of it is applicable elsewhere too.

The guidance helps visit leaders and schools to plan and deliver high-quality and safe learning experiences. The starting point for planning school trips is being clear about your rationale. Once you’ve identified your aims and thought about how you’ll measure the trip’s impact, you can effectively plan the location and method of delivery.

The OEAP’s national guidance is referenced in DfE guidance and is also supported by Welsh government and the Health and Safety Executive. The guidance comprises eight sections, from basic essentials through to FAQs and more.

It’s an online resource which the OEAP continually improves and updates to reflect a developing understanding of good practice. This is rather than it being a printed, static ‘manual’. Don’t forget that as a visit leader you should also always follow your school’s own trip policies and guidance.

Can I join the OEAP?

Yes! OEAP members can progress through a series of membership levels as they develop. An Associate supports ‘full’ members in the delivery of their role. ‘Full’ membership includes Ordinary, Accredited and Fellow.

Ordinary membership is when your contracted role includes or supports the functions of an Outdoor Education Adviser and/or Educational Visits Adviser. An Ordinary member hasn’t had their competencies verified by the OEAP, and employers may need to confirm those competencies to match up with the national guidance document defining the role.

Accredited members are verified by the OEAP as having the competencies to fulfil the role of an Outdoor Education Adviser. A Fellow is an individual who meets the Accredited Member definition and demonstrates through an application process that they have made significant contribution to the work of OEAP.

Thomas Booth is an Education Visits Advisor employed by Rochdale Borough Council. He works with a number of neighbouring LAs and MATs to provide advice, guidance and training. Find out more about the OEAP.

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