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.
Deborah Beckett - Treasurer
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.
Tim Johnson - STF Chair
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.
Deborah Beckett - Treasurer
I am delighted to be working on the STF committee on behalf of members. I firmly believe that we have a unique opportunity to work together to do the best for our customers and never has this been more the case than during the past year and the year ahead . The impact from Covid on our market has reawakened my passion to use my School Travel experience to help members to survive the economic and political challenges which we currently face.
As a Founder of Next Generation Travel Group, together with my previous experience at My Travel and Holidaybreak, I also understand at first-hand the importance of maintaining quality and safety standards within the travel industry . Having been involved in school travel for over 14 years working in both small and large organisations I also understand the challenges faced by smaller companies in the marketplace so am determined to ensure that their interests are represented at committee level so we can rebuild our market together and continue our mission to raise standards for our students.
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.
I am one of the two founder-owners of the specialist music tour company OneStage; and currently also the Operations Director. I originally trained as a musician, but my love of travel, and treasured memories of concert tours led me into the travel industry early on in my working life. I set up Onestage with a friend in February 2000 and the company recently celebrated its twentieth birthday. Twenty years of experience in starting, growing and running a small tour operator has given me a broad range of disciplines in all aspects of travel. Our industry is one of the most exciting places to be, and I am looking forward to working towards its safe and viable continuation in 2021.
As owner and Managing Director of Absolute Travel and Tours – a business that I set up, initially as Sports Travel International back in 1992 – I’ve now enjoyed 30 years in the school and group travel industry that I love. Although very different today, we’re still a small, friendly, independent, family-owned and operated team, organising sports tours, ski trips and educational trips for schools, colleges and academies.
With a wide experience covering all aspects of the business, I personally look after a number of high-profile sports teams, travel widely to visit our ski resorts and hotels overseas and enjoy the challenge, variety and relationships that our privileged work allows. I am proud to join the STF committee at a time when we all need positive collective collaboration, to drive our recovery and to facilitate the fabulous travel opportunities we offer young people in the future.
I caught the travel bug on a school Art and Language trip to Barcelona as a fresh-faced 12 year old. The excitement and buzz of a 24 hour coach journey, being away from home completely immersed in a culture that seemed so foreign to me is something that I will never forget. Having now worked in the school travel industry for some fifteen years, and being a keen worldwide traveller, I couldn’t see myself working in any other industry!
In my current role as Head of Operations and Customer Relations at Rayburn Tours, I oversee all aspects of STF compliance and Safety Management, a responsibility that has become ever more important as the nature of travel has changed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. I was motivated to join the STF committee having seen the challenges and complex issues the school travel industry faces in its recovery and to be a part of safeguarding school trips for future generations.
I am passionate about the importance of school trips, and an outspoken advocate for their capacity to improve educational outcomes and to facilitate greater social mobility in future life. Increasing pupils’ cultural capital is at the heart of what we do at Schools Into Europe, and as longstanding members of the School Travel Forum, we are committed to the core values of safety and quality which underpin their rigorous requirements. Although my academic background is in History and Literature, I greatly enjoy working on tours for a wide variety of subject specialisms and find the diversity which is intrinsic to our industry enduringly stimulating and rewarding.