Find out more about the expert panel of judges who will be judging the inaugural My Best School Trip Award, ahead of the School Travel Awards on Thursday 10th November.

My Best School Trip Award Judges

Almost four months after the My Best School Trip Award was launched, all the entries are in and the judging process has started.

Entries for the award came in from schools all over the country. Teachers entered their pupils’ reviews of trips to everywhere from Greece to Plymouth.

The best entries have now been sent to an expert panel of judges, who will decide on the top four.

The winner and three other finalists will be announced at the School Travel Awards, which will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London, on Thursday 10th November.

The judges

Elaine Skates

Elaine Skates, chief executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is an independent charity set up to champion learning outside the classroom (LOtC) and encourage young people to get out and about. The council worked with the government to establish the LOtC Quality Badge, which is awarded to educational trip providers in recognition of quality and safety standards.

Elaine’s role at the council entails expanding and developing the organisation and leading the communication strategy to raise the profile of learning outside the classroom.

Elaine also acts as an ambassador for LOtC and is a regular speaker at conferences on the benefits and implementation of the practice.

Peter Carne

Peter Carne OBE, project leader for Learning Away

Peter is an expert in learning outside the classroom and his career has included everything from Geography teaching to being the director of operations at the school grounds charity Learning Through Landscapes.

Between 2006 and 2009 Peter was seconded to the Department for Children, Schools and Families as one of two learning outside the classroom manifesto champions, responsible for promoting the importance and impact of LOtC with a variety of partners and key stakeholders and across government.

More recently, Peter has acted as the project leader for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s special initiative, Learning Away, which aimed to support schools in significantly enhancing young people’s learning, achievement and wellbeing by using innovative residential experiences as an integral part of the curriculum. He is currently working with the new Learning Away Consortium as their national advisor.

Gill Harvey

Gill Harvey, general manager of the School Travel Forum

The School Travel Forum is a not for profit association of leading school tour operators promoting  good practice and safety in overseas residential school travel.

The STF was also appointed one of the awarding bodies for the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, which provides a national accreditation combining the essential elements of provision – learning and safety – into one easily recognisable and trusted Quality Badge for all types of learning outside the classroom.

Prior to joining the School Travel Forum Gill held several senior roles at director and board level within the travel industry including commercial director at the Page and Moy Travel Group, managing director at Travelzest plc and managing director of Solos Holiday Ltd.

Sarah Holt

Sarah Holt, editor of School Travel Organiser magazine

Sarah has been the editor of School Travel Organiser magazine since 2014. Originally from a newspaper background she joined the magazine at an exciting time; the Learning Away report into the benefits of school residentials was released, and the University of Plymouth’s Institute of Education was preparing for a major conference that would bring together UK and international delegates to discuss the benefits of LOtC on a global scale.

Sarah says: “My favourite moments of the past two years have been the times when I’ve been soaking up all the latest news and insight into the field of LOtC at conferences and been with schools watching as LOtC unfolds. I’m so excited about the My Best School Trip Award, because it’s all about recognising the people who are putting the concept of LOtC into practice every day and changing lives as a result.”

Sarah is responsible for each issue of the magazine, its accompanying website, monthly newsletter and a range of other titles published by the company.

Rob Yandell

Rob Yandell, publisher of School Travel Organiser magazine

Rob is the publisher and a former editor of School Travel Organiser and has been with the title since 2001. He comes from an editorial background which has seen him work on several magazines, websites and events across education, travel and food.

Having produced and edited STO for over 15 years Rob has written and read about a seemingly endless list of school trips, from simple local experiences to long haul travel. But what interests him the most is meeting the people who work within the field of learning outside the classroom.

He says: “I have met some of the most passionate and inspiring people working for School Travel Organiser and our awards have taken our interaction with the readership to an exciting new level. Recognising fantastic people and the schools they work in is a real privilege.”