Outdoor Learning - Excursions

This page provides advice and guidance for planning and delivering off-site excursions for Moray Council schools and establishments.  An off-site excursion is defined as any event involving young people outside the immediate vicinity of the school or establishment.  This includes one-off or regular trips (for example; visits to local parks, sports facilities or events, museums or cultural events), residential experiences or any event that involves adventurous activity.

The links below contain Moray Council Policy and guidance for managing excursions

This guidance is built on the principles and framework of the Scottish Government's "Going Out There" website with the aim of promoting outdoor education, keeping things simple by focusing on real risks and keep paperwork to a minimum.

Notification and Approval

Moray Council uses EVOLVE for planning, approval and management of all off-site excursions

EVOLVE is an on-line system that records planning details of excursions and allows information to be easily seen by all members of staff involved in the excursion. The system tracks the approval process and provides audible records for each excursion.

To log on to EVOLVE use this link: http://evolve.edufocus.co.uk.

Head Teachers, (Head of Establishment for non-school based activity) retain responsibility for authorising all visits.  Each school or establishment will have an Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC) who is responsible for overseeing EVOLVE procedures.  All members of staff involved in planning off-site excursions or visits will be issued with an EVOLVE account and login details by their EVC.

The Quality Improvement Manager, Willem Smit, is responsible for overseeing all International visits.  International visits must be approved by the Head of Education, Vivienne Cross.

Moray Council is responsible for delivering training on EVOLVE to Head Teachers and EVCs.  Further information on planning and recording visits can be found in the Guidance for Off-Site Excursions.

Moray Council's Outdoor Learning Office will provide additional advice and/or training please contact Andy Greenhalgh or Chris Gransden on DofEMoray@moray.gov.uk.

The Outdoor Learning Office will also provide regular updates on EVOLVE using a newsletter which will be posted onto EVOLVE.

Covid Update

Current Scottish Government guidance on reducing risks in schools can be found at this link.

Risk Assessments

All off-site activities must be risk assessed.  The amount of time spent on the assessment process should be proportional to the activity being planned. The generic risk assessments at the links below will help you complete a visit specific risk assessment.  These generic risk assessments and other examples are available on EVOLVE.

See the Guidance for Off Site Excursions for more information on how to carry out a risk assessment.

Further advice is available from the Outdoor Learning Office.

Example Risk Assessments for Curricular and Non-Adventurous Activities:

Generic Risk Assessments for Adventurous Activities

Adventurous Activity

EVOLVE visit requests which include adventurous activity will be sent to the Outdoor Learning Office, who will assess the visit plan and make a recommendation to the Head Teacher/Head of Establishment before the visit can be approved.

Information to help plan your excursion is available in the Adventurous Activities Standard Operating Procedures document.

.Further advice is available from the Outdoor Learning Office.

EVOLVE Timescales

In order to enable effective processing of visit requests and allow and recommendations or queries to be resolved, EVOLVE visit requests must be submitted within the following timescales:

  • Local area visits - 2 weeks before the planned visit
  • Residential and/or visits including adventurous activities - 4 weeks before planned departure date
  • International visits - 12 weeks before planned departure date.

Points of Contact

For general EVOLVE queries:

Willem Smit, Quality Improvement Manager - willem.smit@moray.gov.uk.

Chris Gransden, Outdoor Learning Officer - chris.gransden@moray.gov.uk
Telephone 07890 275514

For administrative queries:

Jeannie Henderson - MISSupport@moray.gov.uk

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