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Offsite visits: terrorism threat

Last updated on 06 November 2020

Responding to the current terrorism threat

Schools should keep their safeguarding and security arrangements under review, and be extra vigilant during the school day when there is a high volume of visitors to sites.

Off-site visits

The level of threat of International Terrorism is published by the British security services. Please see the MI5 website for the current threat level.

MI5: Threat levels

In the event that an off-site school visit is planned, any decision as to whether this should go ahead or not lies with the school, based on appropriate risk assessments being undertaken. It is recommended that Headteachers inform their Chair of Governors and Governing Body of any decision to either proceed with, or to cancel, a planned off-site visit. It is acknowledged that parents may take a personal view on whether their child should attend, and they are of course entitled to withdraw consent if they feel it necessary.

As always, schools should reflect upon their risk assessments and make any necessary adjustments based upon the considerations below.

Please be aware that revised security arrangements in central London and other major city centres may result in additional delays and that extra time should be allowed for this eventuality. This may also be the case if travelling overseas.

When planning trips, please ensure you consider areas such as (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • understanding coach operators' emergency protocols. There may be limits as to how quickly coaches may be able to return to pick up your group in an emergency
  • ensuring all group leaders are aware of actions to be taken in the event of an incident i.e. getting to a place of safety and following the directions of the emergency services;
  • ensuring the designated Emergency Contact "back at base” is contactable for the entire duration of the visit to ensure support can be provided;
  • ensuring all members of staff on the visit have:
    • fully charged mobiles (and chargers available if necessary)
    • sufficient credit available for the duration of the visit
    • relevant contact details pre-programmed into the phones before the visit commences  
  • all staff must be in a position to answer their mobile phone at all times should contact need to be made

A checklist of the roles and responsibilities of the educational visit leader can be found in section 2.8 of the example School Emergency Response plan template (available as an option for schools to use) which can be found on The Grid:

Critical incidents in school

Some national websites that  provide up to date information and guidance are available at:

MI5: Threat levels

Gov.UK: National Counter Terrorism Security Office

Gov.UK: News and communications

Gov.UK: Foreign travel advice

Should there be any need for you to take a decision to close your school, the information on the Everbridge school closure notification system is available:

Severe weather conditions and public emergency plan for schools

At this point in time, no further communications to schools are anticipated unless the current situation in the country escalates further.

Statement regarding visits to London and European countries

Schools planning to visit London are advised to check the MI5 website for the current threat levels of terrorism in the UK.

MI5: Threat levels

Groups planning to visit European countries should expect delays due to increased security checks and may have to adjust their travel arrangements accordingly. Visit Leaders are advised to check with their tour operators and/or transport providers.

Any significant changes to advice given on the FCO website:

Gov.UK: Foreign travel advice

And will be posted on the login page of EVOLVE:


First published 06 November 2020 - Last updated on 06 November 2020