COVID-19: Education Groups


Update on residentials for English schools

We are delighted that Department for Education has said that English schools can resume residentials. Government has released partial guidance on how these residentials can be run in a COVID-secure way. Additional guidance is due shortly

We are working with other providers across the sector, and with schools, to see what this guidance means in practice. When we receive all the guidance from government, and understood what this means for schools, we hope to be able to supply risk assessments and associated information about summer residentials.

We thank schools with existing bookings for your patience as we work this through.

Update on residentials for Welsh schools

The Welsh Government is continuing to advise against school residentials for schools in Wales. We await further updates to understand when residentials can start for Welsh schools.

Existing residential bookings summer 2021

While we await full guidance from English and Welsh governments on running residentials in a COVID-secure way, we are intending to reopen some hostels for residentials from June 21st 2021 (subject to guidance and government approval).  

Once full guidance is available and we have worked through what it means for schools, we will be contacting customers with existing bookings to discuss your options.

We anticipate this may involve the need to amend some bookings to ensure we can operate safely. 

We hope to accommodate as many school residentials as possible, but for those who can no longer travel due to COVID restrictions, or we cannot accommodate due to operational COVID safety measures, our COVID-19 Flexibility Guarantee means you can request to transfer your booking to a later date, another hostel, or request a full refund.

If you want to move or cancel  your booking

Demand is high this summer, and current government restrictions mean that we have fewer hostels available than normal. If you can no longer stay with us, please contact us to release your booking at the earliest opportunity to ensure we can help as many people as possible get away this summer.

To amend or cancel your booking please use this form and one of our team will contact you to discuss transferring or refunding your booking.

We value your custom and are doing everything we can to enable residentials to happen safely and responsibly. We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

Frequently asked questions

Please find answers to the most common questions about group and educational travel below. For more information, refer to our latest Covid-19 statement.

What assurances can you give me that your COVID-19 procedures are suitable?

  • We developed our Covid-19 secure measures to meet the stringent requirements of the Visit Britain “We’re Good to Go” industry standard and consumer mark, to demonstrate that we adhere to Government and public health guidance
  • Our Covid-19 secure measures have been externally audited by our independent auditors
  • Every hostel that we have reopened has undergone a rigorous risk assessment for Covid-19
  • All hostel staff have undergone Covid-19 safety training
  • We constantly review and enhance our Covid-19 practices in line with Government,  public health and sector-specific guidance

Will group leaders still be able to run familiarisation trips?

  • Yes, however we may need more lead time to arrange this, so please arrange as early possible
  • We may ask you to allocate more time than usual for this if the hostel is under sole occupancy in the lead up to your visit, particularly if the group staying at the time of your familiarisation visit do not want interruptions from other visitors.
  • We will honour a similar request from you in the same way when you are staying with us.

How many groups can we have staying at a hostel at any one time – are there any limits on this?

  • Our sites are unique and therefore we can’t offer a universal answer to this
  • If you contact us we can talk you through your requirements and how best we can facilitate them

Will the hostel be the same as when I’ve stayed before?

  • We have set up our hostels to be Covid-19 secure, which has necessitated changes to the way we operate them to ensure they operate safely for all hostel users
  • This means some of the rooms, spaces and facilities you have had access to previously may not be available or may have a different look to them. If you have any concerns the best thing to do is to contact us and ask.

How will communal spaces for multiple groups be provided safely?

  • Where we can, each group will be allocated its own private space for their sole use, and if possible this will be reserved for your group throughout your stay
  • Where we have other groups in the hostel we will use allocated timings to occupy spaces such as dining rooms; we will need you to be prompt and manage your group’s time in these spaces as cleaning between groups will become an essential risk control
  • Please discuss your requirements with us when you make your booking

Will you allocate additional beds or rooms for our stay to ensure that we can socially distance?

  • Your risk assessment will determine your social distancing requirements in the rooms
  • We will allocate you the rooms or beds that you tell us you require
  • If your needs change between booking and arrival, you will need to let us know as far in advance as you can to enable us to attempt to secure the space you need

Will we be charged for extra beds that we are not using but need to have due to social distancing?

  • We will seek to keep the cost as affordable as possible; however, if you request more space it may impact on the price you need to pay
  • Costs will vary dependant on the time of year and popularity of the site
  • Speak to our specialist advisors who will look to place you to meet your specific needs

Will group leaders be able to share rooms?

  • This is a decision for you based on your risk assessment and your own social distancing needs. We will do our best to meet your needs

How will activities be run to ensure social distancing?

  • We are currently running low-level activities at some of our hostels, where social distancing can be maintained
  • We are reviewing our adventure activities programme to determine how we will be able to deliver these safely.

How will groups be catered for?

  • This will depend on whether you are in a sole-use hostel or if you are sharing a hostel with other guests; due to the uniqueness of each hostel we will have to assess your specific needs.
  • If you are in a hostel with another group, each group will be given an allocated start and finish time for meals; your group will have sufficient time to enjoy their meal but we will ask you to be prompt so that we are able to clean properly between every group.

My group booking includes meals, are you continuing to offer these?

  • Yes – there are some minor changes due to Covid-19, however we continue to offer a full meals service
  • Please contact us nearer your stay for a full list of menu options

What happens if a child tests positive for Covid-19 before a stay, will they be entitled to a refund?

  • Yes, we would ask that you don’t bring anyone with you who should be isolating and therefore we would refer you to our Covid-19 Flexibility Guarantee. If the rest of your group are able to travel though we look forward to welcoming them.

What happens if a child becomes ill during their stay?

  • We will work with you and your school to meet your needs, it may be that it’s best for the child to depart but we will work with you to resolve this to the best of our ability.

Is YHA participating in the NHS Test and Trace service?

Yes we are, for school and youth groups however we are only taking the details of the leaders, should we be contacted by NHS Test and Trace we will notify your group leaders

What would happen if the hostel is required to close due to Government restrictions or NHS Test and Trace?

  • We may need to close the hostel within the timeframes dictated by the Government. Any bookings for stays during this period would be cancelled. We will notify you if this affects you as soon as possible to talk through alternative options available to you.
  • Please also see the local lockdown section in the All guest FAQs

Are we able to have sole occupancy at a hostel?

  • We do offer sole-use of many of our hostels, particularly our smaller hostels that are more affordable on sole-use
  • The cost will depend on the size of the hostel and the number of people it can accommodate – the larger the property the higher the price will be

COVID-19 secure risk assessment

COVID-19 flexibility guarantee

COVID-19 Education Groups