An important part of our work at Derwent Hill is the Educational Visits Advisory Service (EVAS). This blog gives an outline of what we do, who we work with and who we are.
What does the EVAS do?
We provide advice, guidance and training for schools, youth services and other establishments to help them provide safe high quality educational visits and offsite activities for children and young people.
As part of Sunderland City Council, we work with the Council’s Health and Safety Team to ensure that policies and procedures are in place for the safe management of Educational Visits. We also work with other employers, such as academy trusts, to advise them about their policies and procedures.
It is recognised as good practice for establishments to appoint an Educational Visits Co-ordinator (EVC). Their role is to ensure that visits are planned and managed effectively, that appropriate risk assessments are carried out, and that visit leaders are competent in their roles. We provide initial training and regular refresher training for EVCs.
We provide advice and guidance for EVCs, Headteachers and service managers to support them with specific issues relevant to their visits. For example, we have recently been working with a number of establishments to review their plans for visits to France and Belgium following the terrorist incidents.
We use an online system to approve , on behalf of the Council or other employers, plans for visits overseas or to remote and hazardous locations or that include adventure activities.
Who uses the EVAS?
We work with all Sunderland City Council schools, and also with Council services including youth services and children’s homes. Almost all academies in Sunderland, although they are no longer part of the Council, have also chosen to use us.
We provide the EVAS for the Northern Education Trust and its twenty academies.
We also work with a number of independent academies outside Sunderland, including Ash Trees Academy, Excelsior Academy, Freebrough Academy, Glendene Arts Academy, Ian Ramsay Academy, Thomas Welling Academy and Thornaby Academy.
We provide EVC training to County Durham schools on behalf of Durham County Council.
Who delivers the EVAS?
The service is delivered by Andy Morris, one of our Senior Tutors, and Steve Lenartowicz, our Centre Director. Both are members of the national Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel which accredits our EVC training and provides a forum for the sharing of good practice nationally and continuing professional development.
How do I find out more?