IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – DofE Expeditions (COVID-19)

AS A LEADING DofE EXPEDITION PROVIDER, WE HAVE HAD TO MAKE A DIFFICULT DECISION, BUT ONE THAT IS A JUSTIFIED AND RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO THE CURRENT  SITUATION, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE FOR THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF, THEREFORE, THE STATEMENT BELOW HAS BEEN ISSUED TO PARTICIPANTS REGISTERED ON OUR ‘OPEN’ EXPEDITIONS’.  WE HAVE ALSO LIAISED WITH THE NUMEROUS SCHOOLS AND ORGANISATIONS WE SUPPORT ACROSS THE UK TO POSTPONE DofE EXPEDITIONS UNTIL GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE AND SAFETY PERMITS US TO RESUME DELIVERY AND SUPPORT FOR THE EXPEDITION SECTION.

Following the most recent announcement, given on 18th March 2020, from the Government to close all schools and further education colleges (although we are not directly governed by this for our ‘open’ expeditions), we believe it is both sensible and prudent that we postpone our planned ‘Open Gold DofE Expedition Week’, 5th – 10th April (combined training & practice expedition); 6th – 10th April (practice or qualifying expedition) in the Black Mountain area of the Brecon Beacons National Park as well as our ‘Open Bronze & Silver Expedition Week’ 13th – 18th April in the Long Mynd area of Shropshire, to comply with the continued advice from the Government, ensuring the safety and welfare of our customers and staff.

The DofE have also issued a statement relating to practice and qualifying expeditions for Gold & Silver levels that offers a positive approach to the completion of the Expedition section:

‘Some Gold students are unlikely to be able to do their practice expedition due to the coronavirus outbreak. Can they just do their qualifying expedition and still achieve their Award?

At Gold and Silver levels, practice expeditions are an important part of the preparation and training participants undertake to ensure that they can undertake a safe and enjoyable remotely supervised expedition. For that reason, all Gold and Silver participants will still have to do both a practice and qualifying expedition.
But we’re determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus. We’ll be sharing ideas about how participants can continue their programme at this time, as well as working with LOs and AAPs to help participants to access an expedition once the crisis is over. We’ll issue more updates in the next few days.

Remember, DofE expeditions can be run throughout the year, not just in the traditional ‘expedition season’. LOs and AAPs which choose to run expeditions later in the year may wish to consider using indoor accommodation to facilitate a safe and enjoyable expedition for their participants. In any event, the DofE charity will work with LOs to minimise any potential negative impact on a participant’s progress through their DofE.’

Currently, our planned ‘Open Gold DofE Expedition Week’, 25th – 30th May (combined training & practice expedition); 26th – 30th May 2020 (practice or qualifying expedition) and ‘Open Bronze & Silver Week, 25th – 30th May, with the same venues, will go ahead. Please see the relevant pages of our website for further details and online application form, or contact us for further information. However, these may also be affected by any future measures imposed by the Government to combat COVID-19 and postponed, if required. Therefore, if developments take place that affect the running of the expeditions, we will notify all those registered as soon as practically possible to offer alternative options.

CTS STAFF TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WISH ALL OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF A SAFE PASSAGE THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING TIMES.

DofE Expeditions & COVID-19

STATEMENT REGARDING DofE EXPEDITIONS AND COVID-19

Chase Training Solutions is currently following the Government’s guidance, which is taken from the expert advice from of Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor.

As of 16th March 2020, ‘COVID-19: travel guidance for the education sector’ issued by The Department for Education states:

  1. Travel for children under 18 organised by educational settings

 1.1 Overseas trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings

The government advises against any overseas trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings. This is because trip leaders would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare, should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate.

1.2 Domestic trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings

The Department for Education is not currently advising against domestic trips (residential and non-residential) for children under 18 organised by educational settings. However, educational settings should refresh their risk assessments to take into account the latest health advice and ensure measures are in place and agreed with parents in case children or adult supervisors believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 and exhibit symptoms that require self-isolation.

We will also follow the guidance in the following https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19 and amend our Risk Assessments accordingly.

Therefore, following the clear guidance above, as only trips abroad are advised not to take place, we are continuing to run UK based DofE expedition training, practice and qualifying expeditions currently organised with the schools and organisations we are supporting and, unless Government guidance changes, there is no current reason to cancel any planned DofE expeditions and we will monitor the guidance on a daily basis.  We do not intend to go against any Government advice and leave ourselves open to criticism or become liable for civil proceedings due to not following this advice.

Our own ‘Open Gold’ expedition, planned for the Easter holidays in the Brecon Beacons National Park, with twenty-seven young people booked onto it, will currently go ahead as planned, as well as ‘Open Bronze and Silver Expeditions’ being held during the same period in the Long Mynd area of Shropshire.

If Government guidance changes which prevent DofE expeditions taking place, as currently planned, then we would look to support schools and young people to rearrange DofE expeditions at a mutually convenient later date.  We could even look to extend, with the permission of Licenced Organisation’s and variations to the Expedition conditions, the ‘Expedition season’ allowing expeditions to take place beyond the end of October, with some amendments to locations, routes, Expedition conditions, etc.  This all could be achieved, thereby enabling students to successfully complete their Expedition section, even if it is delayed until the first quarter of next year, however, we do all need to be flexible at this uncertain time.