​Educational visits

​Outdoor learning

​Employer Guidance Policy

The following guidance policy has been issued to all Northamptonshire County Council controlled schools and settings and includes information on:

  • establishing and maintaining a trained EVC for each establishment or cluster of establishments 
  • responsibilities and categories of trips
  • maintaining an Outdoor Education Adviser
  • adopting and following the best practice from the Outdoor Education Advisers Panel National Guidance

Read the full policy:

Meet your Educational Visits Adviser

Mike Fawcett - Outdoor Education Adviser and Head of Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre.

Mike's love of outdoor learning began at an early age with a residential visit to Stibbington Field Studies Centre and a memorable day visit to Blakeney Point, Norfolk. He became involved in Cubs and then Scouts and loved all the activities and the annual summer camps.

He joined the Royal Navy after leaving school and developed a passion for adventure activities. In 1996 he left the Royal Navy to retrain as a teacher specialising in Outdoor Activities and Maths (Secondary), and has worked as a teacher in many different settings for almost 20 years. His most recent teaching post was as a Deputy Head Teacher of Cross Ash Primary School in Monmouthshire where he also led the programme of residential visits and was the school E.V.C. 

Mike has worked at 4 different residential education centres, most recently Longtown Outdoor Learning Centre where he is Head of Centre.

Mike Fawcett - Educational visits advisor

How we support schools

The council can offer guidance and support to members of staff through a service level agreement.

As part of this agreement, you will receive expert technical advice, a dedicated telephone number for support and enquiries and much more.

Educational visits advisory service

​Training courses

All Educational Visits Co-ordinators (EVC's) are advised to undertake an approved training course. The course remains valid for 3 years. Visit Leader training is also offered to all schools.

EVC training

This one-day nationally accredited training course covers aspects of the law related to educational visits, risk assessment of visits, and the administrative requirements associated with off-site educational activities.

The course will enable EVCs to plan and manage their schools' educational visits and off-site activities in line with national guidance and current good practice. It will also help to fulfil their health and safety obligations.

Who is the course aimed at?

This course is aimed at new and existing EVCs.

Key outcomes

  • Enhanced knowledge and understanding about the effective supervision of young people taking part in off-site activities and visits
  • Greater confidence and ability to act as the Education Visit Co-ordinator
  • Increased competence in risk assessing and managing risks on off-site visits


£95 per person.

​How to book

Contact Matt Roberts:
01933 666830

Visit Leader training

​Visit leader training is a one-day nationally accredited course directed at colleagues who lead or plan to lead visits off site with parties of young people.

It is a practical based course which deals with dynamic risk benefit assessments, and allows the sharing of best practice together with opportunities to raise issues directly related to your setting.

Part of the course is delivered outdoors, so you will need to bring stout footwear and suitable warm and waterproof clothing with you.

Key outcomes

  • Recognising hazards
  • Practical risk benefit assessment in the field
  • Party management
  • Presenting a balanced rational for offsite education
  • Learning outside the classroom
  • An overview of national best practice
  • An overview of legal requirements


Theory and practice module
Full day - delivered at your school
£600 for up to 20 people

Theory module only
Two twilight sessions
£750 for up to 25 people

How to book

Contact Matt Roberts:
01933 666830​​

​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. This person has access to this service and we can support with advice and guidance to ensure that staff plan effectively and are confident with their plans.

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 visit emergencies are included in their critical incident plans; these should include contact numbers of the Northamptonshire County Council emergency planning team for further support. These numbers are listed on the NCC Evolve website.

Schools with a service level agreement

We work actively with schools who have signed up to our SLA using the Evolve web tool to aid staff with planning and advice. We will assist you to ensure that your outdoor learning plans translate into memorable learning for young people.

Find out more about our SLA

​Risk assessments

Assessing and managing risks is part of the process of good planning and delivery of an educational visit. For advice on risk assessments view the document below: 

Specific activities

Section 7 offers a range of advice for specific activities, which provide a starting point for many activities, that can help with your plans. Please use the Outdoor Education Advisers' Panel National Guidance website as a starting point for advice and guidance using the information to inform you and your staff team on managing different parts of your visit. 

Our policy indicates that schools working with the local authority under a service level agreement should use this website for advice and guidance.

Choosing a provider   

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

The Adventurous Activities Licensing Service (AALS) license 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 license.

If you choose not to use a provider with one of these accreditations then you are recommended to download and use the choosing a provider guidance:

Category visit A

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 to the school site, visits to the local church, library, school sporting fixtures and other regular non-complex activity. It can also include transport if needed.

​Category visit B

These visits are to areas beyond the local area involving more complex environments and activity, 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 activity.

Category visit C

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

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 motor sports.

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

Educational visits advisory service

You will receive our Educational visits advisory service after signing up to our SLA.

Number of pupils on school roll Charge per pupil
​Up to 150 pupils ​£2.15
​150 to 2000 pupils ​£2.00
​More than 2000 pupils ​£1.90
​Multi Academy Trusts (number of pupils from subscribing schools exceeds 2,000 pupils) ​£1.90


A school that subscribes to the SLA (on any tariff) can opt to have the additional functionality of Evolve+ for an additional annual fee of £200.00.

Evolve+ offers the following optional functions:


  • Securely communicate with parents and carers
  • Gather consent electronically
  • Record consent information in one place
  • Eradicate paper forms
  • View real-time records of consent
  • Maintain audit trail of parents and carers decisions

​Authorised consent

  • Authorise your mobile phone or tablet for quick access to EVOLVE
  • Access current registers for easy completion
  • Easily switch to full version of EVOLVE
  • Perfect for taking registers when out on a visit
  • Simple and quick set up
  • Works on any internet-enabled device


  • Send emails and texts to parents and carers
  • 300 credits included
  • Alerts when credits are running low
  • Easily communicate in real-time with parents and carers
  • Send one single SMS to all parents and carers
  • Credits can be easily topped up online
  • Send individual messages to parents


  • Efficient and robust
  • No need for user involvement
  • Choose a regular time to run the synchronisation of information
  • Includes 10 optional fields to synchronise information of your choice
  • Removes the need for duplication of work as only one system is updated
  • Automatically synchronises staff and participant information from your MIS​

​Online approval

  • Maintains a robust audit trail
  • Users complete only the necessary parts of the form at early stage
  • Allows staff to gain initial approval before completing all of the form
  • Incorporate key staff members into the planning process at an early stage
  • Truer to existing working practices as the whole process is recorded in EVOLVE

​Shared calendars

  • Easy to set-up and amend if requirements change
  • Amend the shared calendar criteria in real-time
  • Live link to external calendars so all information is up-to-date
  • Create stronger communication links between schools, colleges and external stakeholders
  • Share key information with those external to EVOLVE e.g. parents and governors

​Sign up to the Service Level Agreement

Complete the online form and tell us what your requirements are:

First for Wellbeing delivering services on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council.