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 General Manager, 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.
It has been a privilege to serve as an STF committee member for the last three years.
As Managing Director of a large educational travel company, I understand first-hand the importance of maintaining quality and safety standards within the industry.
Travel and inspiring young people is my passion and I have spent 20 years in senior roles at a number of travel companies including MyTravel and Holidaybreak PLC.
I have also grown my current organisation from a team of four to over 40 in just five years, so I also understand the challenges faced by smaller companies in the marketplace and I am determined to ensure that their interests are represented at committee level.
Teachers, tour group organisers and all STF Assured Members have a common interest and that is to deliver cultural opportunities that inspire young people.
It’s an exciting journey and I look forward to continuing to support the STF and promoting the benefits of LOtC experiences.
Co-opted on to the committee in late 2016, I have been involved with the School Travel Forum since it’s foundation.
My role as Director of Study Experiences, Sport Experiences and Remembrance Travel for Schools and Young People, draws on my 18 years’ experience of delivering specialist educational, sporting and Remembrance-based travel experiences for schools, clubs and youth organisations.
Upon graduating from the University of South Wales, Gordon has spent 13 years travelling around the world working with luxury tour operator companies and cruise liners.
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.
My two years on the STF committee have been thoroughly rewarding and I am proud of our achievements and the future plans we have for the forum.
I have worked for Equity for over six years and I am currently responsible for the operations team who deliver all tours and ski trips.
My career has offered a wealth of experience in all aspects of educational travel, which has been useful in my position on the committee. I initially started overseas in Equity’s alpine club hotel program and was lucky enough to be based in both America and Europe. The time in the mountains gave me a superb understanding of the ski industry and offered a fantastic chance to work, live and ski in the mountains for six months a year.
I returned to the UK three years ago, working full time in our office in Brighton as Head of Operations.