LATEST UPDATE: COVID-19

We are constantly reviewing and responding to the COVID-19 situation, supporting young people through their DofE programme and giving a potential positive outcome to the current times.

Light at the end of the tunnel?  We believe so, therefore, as a leading DofE expedition Approved Activity Provider, with caution and precaution is how we’ll proceed with our popular Open Bronze, Silver & Gold DofE expeditions during August and the foreseeable future, offering ‘best practice’ to give a safe and positive experience for the many young people that take part 🙂 

We’ve continued to develop our business with a number of ‘new’ schools who have contacted us to arrange delivery of the DofE Expedition section to their students from the new academic year and these are in addition to our existing schools and organisations from across the UK who, over the past few weeks, have been rearranging the many expeditions that have had to be postponed due to COVID-19.

Continue to keep safe.

LATEST UPDATE: COVID-19

As we are constantly evaluating and responding to the COVID-19 situation, further ‘open’ Gold DofE expeditions have been organised to support young people through their DofE programme and to give a potential positive outcome to the current position, with new dates being advertised on our website.

We are continually liaising with all the schools and organisations we work with across the UK, in a similar way, and all have postponed their DofE expeditions to later in the year, or the early part of next year, so we have been also working hard to accommodate all these with very positive outcomes.  We have also had extensive discussions with our insurance company (Activities Industry Mutual) who are happy for our DofE expeditions to take place, as long as we are following government guidance and with the relevant risk assessments in place, which we have!

We may, if necessary, need to limit the number of participants on each of the expeditions to comply with any ‘social distancing’ measures being undertaken at the time of the expedition and meet any other requirements indicated by government guidance, which may include, although not exclusively, the following:

Sleeping in separate tents, with some individual tents being transported to and from the campsite for the duration of the expedition; the wearing of face masks and gloves for some aspects of the expedition; minimum distance between participants during all aspects of the expedition; cooking on separate stoves with some individual stoves being transported to and from the campsite for the duration of the expedition; items of equipment being subject to a sanitation prior to and after use; provision and availability of appropriate (high alcohol content/soap-based) hand-sanitiser and washing facilities; planning aspects of the expedition using online Microsoft Teams (we have the ability as a business to offer and coordinate this facility); provision of individual maps and/or daily laminated maps of the expedition route; adapted emergency procedures and closer supervision of the expedition.

Currently, the Welsh Assembly, under their COVID-19 rules, state that members of the public are not allowed to travel more than five miles from their home, which also means that other UK citizens are not allowed to travel into Wales, however, we have extensive (over 40 years!) experience of using national parks within England, particularly Dartmoor and for our expeditions to take place (government restrictions permitting) in this area.  Dartmoor has a distinct advantage, as 70% of the national park is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall Estate (Prince Charles’ property) who allow wild-camping on the moors and this aspect could reopen once government guidance permits, which eliminates the possible issues regarding campsites and gives more flexibility when planning routes.  We have supervised many thousands of DofE participants on Dartmoor over the years, including those that have wished to wild-camp, therefore, have vast experience in supporting many young people in this aspect of their expedition.

May we take this opportunity to wish all our customers and staff, a continued safe passage through these difficult times.

UPDATE: COVID-19

AS A LEADING DofE EXPEDITION PROVIDER, WE CONTINUE TO MAKE A JUSTIFIED AND RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO THE CURRENT SITUATION WITH COVID-19, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE FOR THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF AND THIS WILL ALWAYS BE AT THE HEART OF OUR DECISIONS.

Following our previous update on our website, we apologise for not updating our website ‘News’ section since 13th April 2020.  We are constantly reviewing and evaluating the situation with COVID-19 and have been waiting for the Government’s outline and details for the slight relaxation of current ‘social distancing’ measures, generally known as the ‘lockdown’; hence the main reason for the delay of this latest update. An extensive briefing is expected to be given by the Prime Minister later this week, in which further details of the future measures to be undertaken, to limit further spread of the virus and see the country come out of the current ‘lockdown’ period.

Taking into account the limited information about the expected outcomes of the PM’s briefing, it is wise, at this stage, to assume that it will be too early to run our planned Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE ‘open’ expeditions, originally planned for the end of May 2020, and to postpone them to a future date. Various options will be emailed to all participants to consider as an alternative. There are also a number of differing methods available, enabling us to support participants through the DofE Expedition section, all of which we have carefully considered to give young people the best possible opportunity to complete the Expedition section, and for us to work alongside and liaise with their school or organisation, who are also in a similar position to ourselves and many others, to support them through this period as well, offering further options for delivering the Expedition section to their participants. Therefore, the different methods of enabling this will be emailed to participants that have registered with us at all levels of the Award. However, these may be subject to change, if required, by measures imposed by Government guidance, ensuring the continued safety and welfare of our customers and staff.

We are currently liaising with all the schools and organisations we work with across the UK, in a similar way, and all have postponed their DofE expeditions to the summer, later in the year, or the early part of next year, so we have been working hard to accommodate all these changes along with reorganising our own ‘open’ Bronze, Silver and Gold expedition weeks, and all these are under constant review. This has been a difficult process, but one in which we are now ‘on top of’ and are looking positively towards the future.

PLEASE NOTE THAT VARIOUS GOLD EXPEDITION DATES HAVE BEEN ARRANGED, IN ADDITION TO THE ONES ADVERTISED ON OUR WEBSITE, AS WE ARE CONSTANTLY RESPONDING TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION AND GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE. PLEASE CONTACT US FOR FURTHER DETAILS AND TO DISCUSS THE VARIOUS OPTIONS AVAILABLE.

The DofE’s position has remained constant throughout this period and the statement issued in March, relating to the Expedition section, is still current:

‘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.

You may also decide to take a break from your activities and pick them up again later on, and that is fine too. Don’t forget: you’ve got until you’re 25 to achieve your Award, and if you’re near your 25th birthday please speak to your DofE Leader about an age extension.’

We will continue to update all our customers, both through email and this website news section, as and when we have further information regarding our DofE expeditions and training courses.

May we take this opportunity to wish all our customers and staff, a continued safe passage through these difficult times.

UPDATE: COVID-19

AS A LEADING DofE EXPEDITION PROVIDER, WE HAVE TO MAKE A JUSTIFIED AND RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO THE CURRENT SITUATION WITH COVID-19, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE RESPONSIBILITY WE HAVE FOR THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF AND THIS WILL ALWAYS BE AT THE HEART OF OUR DECISIONS.

We should have a clearer picture of the Government’s extension of ‘social distancing’ advice by Friday 17th April 2020, plus the additional period of intent and maybe a potential exit strategy (although this may not be announced in the immediate future), therefore, will be able to notify all registered participants by the end of this month, beginning of next, of the increasingly likely need to postpone our ‘open’ Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE expedition weeks, scheduled at the end of May, to a later date. Unfortunately, we are unable to give any more clearer advice, until we know what the Government’s future intentions are with lifting restrictions, the timings of these, what limitations are likely to still be in place, and the nature of these.

Once we know timings, etc., we can then confirm additional future dates for DofE expeditions, as we do have alternative plans already in place, over and above those currently advertised, but are not in a position to publicise these at present, until we have confirmed guidance from the Government. We do not want to confirm postponement of the expeditions in May until we can offer definite alternative dates and options to support participants, enabling them to complete their Expedition section and achieve a positive outcome to the current situation.

WE CONTINUE TO WISH ALL OUR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF A SAFE PASSAGE THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING TIMES.

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.

Insurance

A member of our team has been to Mendip Outdoor Pursuits today, having been invited onto a working group to develop an online accident reporting system for Activities Industry Mutual (AIM), our insurance company, which also covers a further 837 outdoor activity providers! 😊