Accreditation for school trip providers
With so many school trip providers to choose from, how do you know which to trust. Which are well established, or offer tried and tested trips with real educational value and all the safety and assurances that you would expect for your school. The majority of providers sign up to a number of trusts and associations who inspect their potential members, before awarding them accreditation badges. In our "teacher checklist", which you will find on each trip provider's page, we show you these accreditations at a glance. But what do they all mean?
Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
The LOtC Quality Badge is a national award combining the essential elements of provision - learning and safety - into ONE easily recognisable and trusted accreditation scheme for ALL types of learning outside the classroom provider throughout the UK. This includes museums, art galleries, adventure centres, nature reserves, science learning centres and farms among many other provider types. If a site holds the LOtC Quality Badge, it means they have passed a robust assessment designed to ensure that they are meeting schools' learning and risk management needs, no matter what activities they offer. The scheme is managed and developed by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
School Travel Forum Assured
The School travel Forum (STF) is a non-profit organisation made up of school tour operators who promote safety and good practice in school travel. Working with the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the STF is responsible for the Study and Sports Tours sector of the LOtC quality badge, with all their Assured Members having been externally verified each year to ensure they meet the required Code of Practice and Safety Management standards. Teachers and Group Leaders organising study, sports and ski trips should look for tour operators who have the School Travel Forum Assured Member status, for reassurance that their needs relating to educational travel and safety will be understood and catered for.
The Association of British Travel Agents or ABTA as it is more commonly referred to, aims to assist in the growth of British Travel Agents and to give assurances and protection to their customers so they have confidence in their travel experience. ABTA members are their to give you advice and assistance to protect your travel arrangements so you don't lose out if your service provider fails financially, and they can help in the unlikely event that things go wrong.
ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser's Licensing and is a financial protection scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority. ATOL applies to all UK travel companies providing air travel or flights, and protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad in the case of your tour operator going out of business. The CAA will ensure you do not lose your money and they'll arrange for you to finish your trip and fly home.
The Adventure Activities Licensing Authority launched the Adventure Activities Licence in 1996 following concerns about difficulties in identifying safety standards at adventure activity centres. The authority performs compulsory inspection and licensing for activity centres providing adventure activities to young people of 17 years old and under in order to give the public confidence in those providers who have a licence. Those that have been granted a licence have been inspected by the AALA to ensure they comply with nationally accepted standards of safety management and good practice in the delivery of adventurous activities for young people. The ultimate aim of the AALA is to ensure there is minimal avoidable risk for young people participating in exciting outdoor activities.
Expedition Providers Association
The Expedition Providers Association is the awarding body of the LOtC Expedition Quality Badge Scheme. The EPA membership is made up of expedition providers catering for young adults under 25 in full-time education, who get together to discuss industry issues and share good practice.
WYSE Travel Confederation
The World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE) is the world's largest network of youth and student travel operators dedicated to promoting and developing opportunities for the youth, student and education travel industry. WYSE Travel Confederation members are regarded as leaders in youth, backpacking, educational and student travel and their activities are consistent with the organisations strict codes of conduct.