ABOUT THE SCHOOL TRAVEL FORUM
Established in 2002 as a democratic, not-for-profit organisation, the STF has been supported by leading stakeholder bodies, including the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and the Outdoor Education Advisors Panel (OEAP), from the outset.
Today the STF is proud to manage both member and non-member applications for the awarding of the LOtC Quality Badge. Our standards are the benchmark for all companies operating in the educational travel sector and the requirements of the Quality Badge form part of our Code of Practice and Safety Management Standards.
We take our role seriously. In addition to supporting leading companies in the sector, we provide help, advice and support for teachers by offering free guidance papers, up to date research, news and views on new areas to visit.
SUPPORTING MEMBERS AND TEACHERS ALIKE
Schools, teachers, parents, industry stakeholders and all STF Assured Members are united by a common interest - that is to ensure that pupils experience the most rewarding LOtC opportunities possible. The STF is here to make that happen.
For members, joining the STF means that they can accredit the quality of their educational provision and increase their own risk management by following current good practice on safety management. In addition to overseeing this Code of Conduct, the STF also provides a forum for members to discuss non-competitive issues of common interest and concern. Our marketing activities, lobbying, placement of regular articles in educational magazines and the development of relationships with Tourist Boards all support the interests of STF members.
The STF is much more than a simple membership organisation, all Assured Members of the STF are required to adhere to a rigorous Code of Practice and Safety Management Standards and be audited each year by Argent Health & Safety, the UK’s leading Health and Safety Consultancy specialising in Travel, to ensure continuing compliance.
SCHOOL TRAVEL FORUM BOARD MEMBERS
Our members are supported by an elected committee and a General Manager.
The committee is responsible for the day-to-day running and operation of the affairs of the Association and for furthering the objectives of the School Travel Forum.
Gill Harvey - CEO
I joined the School Travel Forum in 2015 to take up the reins as CEO, responsible for strategy planning, health and safety standards and brand management, to ensure the continued success and growth of the membership.
Prior to joining the School Travel Forum, I worked for over 20 years within the travel sector, holding several senior and Board Level positions including Commercial Director Page and Moy Ltd and Managing Director Solo’s Holidays Ltd.
Since joining the STF, I have been excited to see and appreciate the opportunities and benefits a high standard of Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) can deliver to young people, helping to build resilient, healthy and culturally aware individuals.
Jamie Gardiner - Chair
I joined the School Travel Forum committee in late 2015 specifically to represent the smaller STF members, and this is a role I thoroughly enjoy. I have many years’ experience in the school travel sector, and am currently the Managing Director of Diverse School Travel, a new and rapidly growing school travel company. It’s always been important to me for school tours to be educational and memorable, with safety underpinning everything in a common-sense way rather than being a separate process or an administrative overload. I try to retain this focus when representing the STF in any capacity. Outside work my interests are too unvaried to list.
My role as Director of Study Experiences, Sport Experiences and Remembrance Travel for Schools and Young People, draws on over 20 years’ experience of delivering specialist educational, sporting and event-based travel experiences for schools, clubs and youth organisations.
I joined the committee in late 2016, having been involved with the School Travel Forum since it’s foundation. I value the opportunity to work with my fellow committee members to champion the benefits of educational travel, with an objective and balanced viewpoint that places the customer at the heart of what we stand for.
I was a Founding member of the STF and am delighted to still be involved with this highly regarded organisation.
My wife Fi and I are co-directors of Club Europe Group Travel, a school travel company my mother and father started back in 1980. We’re very proud to have been able to maintain Club Europe as a family business and to have retained its ethos of providing exceptional personal care and support for all the teachers and students who travel with us.
One of my earliest memories is of spending every summer and winter holiday in the back of a car driving around Europe or on a coach with a group. So thanks to Club Europe from an early age I had lots of fantastic experiences on trips spent with schools, ranging from skiing in Austria to windsurfing in the South of France.
We have a young family; our two young sons, Louis and Billy, both come with us as much as possible to see new places and be on the ground when we have groups out on tour. It’s history repeating itself!
I am passionate about travel and the multiple benefits it offers young people. It’s a great honour to be involved with STF, to work alongside others in the industry to continually improve and develop the service we provide to schools.
I joined the STF committee in 2014 and have been involved with the forum since its inception.
I have worked for European Study Tours for 25 years and have held my current role as Study Tours Director since 2009. Constant throughout has been my passion for our industry to provide safe, quality learning experiences for young people.
My involvement in the world of school travel has been long and varied. Originally from an operational background, which made excellent use of my language skills in French, Spanish, Portuguese and German, my career has provided experience of finance, accountancy and general management through my current role.
Outside of work, travel remains a huge passion, and I plan to add new destinations to my list for many years to come.
I am proud to support the STF and to help raise standards in educational travel for the benefit of teachers, parents, pupils and all members.
Keith Sharkey is Managing Director of the Halsbury Travel Keith was formerly a teacher of modern foreign languages, having taught for 17 years. The company was incorporated in 1986 by Keith and his wife, Sue, and has developed from a home-based business, in the early years, to an organisation with 60+ staff and around 50,000 passengers a year. Under Keith’s leadership, Halsbury has grown to organise group and educational tours to around 40 countries for some 42 curriculum areas, including languages, history, ski, sports, music and work experience trips. With 30+ years' experience of growing in a market dominated by large, often multi-national firms, we are proud of our family-firm origins (the 3rd generation now involved!) and friendly personalised customer service. We look forward to continuing to grow and to helping Schools, Groups and other STF members in any way we can.
I am the product manager at Discover the World Education; prior to working in travel I have 12 years’ experience as a Geography teacher. This included planning various overseas trips for my own students, so I have experience of managing health and safety from both a tour operator's and a school's perspective. In both of my careers, my aim has been to give young people perspective and awareness of the world in which they live. Having joined the committee in 2018, it is a privilege to work alongside my colleagues seeking to make school group travel as practicable, efficient, safe and inspiring as it can be. Outside of work, I enjoy going to the gym, playing piano, travelling, and am learning Icelandic.