List of available trips
In total we operate about 130 trips per year, ranging from theatre visits to jungle expeditions. Most trips are available only to one or two year groups. We maintain a list of planned trips at: kes.org.uk/tripdates. At the start of the year this is a short list but it grows substantially during the year. For boys joining the Shells (year 7), an e-mail is sent to parents early in the autumn term describing the trips available for their son’s year group. Well over half our total number of trips are free or cost less than £100. About a dozen trips each year take place abroad and these are considerably more expensive. To help with your planning, we list the trips abroad on the website rather earlier than other trips.
Applying for a place
Information about trips is usually sent to parents by e-mail. To apply for a trip you will normally log in at: www.schoolgateway.com where you will pay and give permission for the trip. In the unlikely event that payment cannot be made on the website we can provide details for sending a bank transfer. We are unable to accept cash or cheques for trips.
Please note that sending payment is not a guarantee of a place. Some trips are oversubscribed and if we are unable to find a place for your son, we will of course refund your payment. Allocation of places depends on the nature of the trip. For many trips we operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so an early application always helps, but we also need to ensure that the party is appropriate to the visit – for example, on ski trips we need groups of an appropriate size with differing abilities.
For more costly trips we normally split the cost into a number of instalments to spread out the amount parents have to pay. Once you have paid the deposit and the trip leader has confirmed your son’s place, you are liable for the full cost of your son’s place on the trip (unless there is an amount which is not yet committed).
We reserve the right to withdraw a child from a trip, when an instalment deadline has been missed. Refunds of amounts paid to date will depend on the place being filled by another child. Please contact the Finance Office if you are finding it difficult to meet payment deadlines, as they may be able to help.
If your son is on an assisted place, we may be able to offer financial assistance for compulsory school visits, namely Shell Form Camps, Removes Activities Week and some field study visits. An assisted place does not guarantee financial support so please enquire with the finance office to see if your son is eligible.
Cancellation of a place
Should you need to cancel your son’s place on a school trip, please let us know as soon as possible. Where possible we will refund monies you have paid for a trip, particularly if we are able to find another child to take your son’s place, but please bear in mind that this is not always possible. If we cannot fill the place you will be liable for the costs of the trip already committed to by the School.
For our trips abroad which involve greater expense, we will formally offer your son a place, and will list the names of other boys taking part. Provided that you notify us that your son does not wish to take part within two weeks of receiving our offer of a place on a trip abroad, we will refund your deposit in full (unless the letter about the trip gives a different deadline). Thereafter, refunds will depend on the circumstances listed above.
Change of plans
Occasionally we will have to change plans in response to events at the time: perhaps the weather, or possibly due to a travel advisory note from the Foreign Office reflecting a situation abroad. In this event we will make any amendments to the itinerary we consider necessary for the safety of pupils and staff.
Very occasionally we may have to curtail or cancel a trip, for example due to extreme weather making travel impossible. If we cancel a trip before it has started, you will receive a full refund.
Refunds can only be made if a trip is cancelled before starting. If we have to change plans once a trip has commenced, our insurance would cover the cost of the changes but not any refund to parents.
As you would expect, the school conducts a detailed risk assessment for the whole of the outdoor activities programme. Adventurous activities are always led by staff or instructors holding an appropriate National Governing Body qualification.
As pupils gain more experience, and as they get older, they are expected to behave more responsibly. They may be included in taking a role in planning part of a visit, and for all pupils having an awareness of safety. As part of this philosophy pupils may not necessarily be under the direct control of a teacher throughout a trip. Indeed as pupils get older there will be elements of a trip where they are under ‘remote supervision’ – in other words, travelling in a group of youngsters, in contact with staff but not directly accompanied.
A high standard of behaviour is expected of pupils on school visits. School rules and discipline continue to apply during school trips and in addition pupils must observe UK law and the law of the country they are visiting. If a pupil misbehaves very seriously, it may be necessary for the school to require the pupil to return home, with any additional transport costs being met by the parent.
Validity of passports to enter Europe on school trips
Passports must be valid for at least three months after the date of your visit, but the ‘recommended’ limit is actually six months of validity (apparently some border guards ask for this, though probably more for adults than children, due to a suspicion that travellers may try to stay for longer than 3 months).
For children the relevant date on the passport is five years following date of issue of the passport. This may not be the same as the printed expiry date: if you renewed your child’s passport a few months early, then the expiry date will run from the date of the previous passport. Now that Brexit has happened, this extension no longer applies.
Children who are not UK or EU citizens must obtain a visa to enter the specific European country, well in advance – don’t wait until the week of travel.
UK Citizens will soon need a visa to enter to European Union, but as yet the visa scheme has not been launched and so a visa is not required.
Health and Parental Contact Information
We keep an electronic database (called SIMS) of all pupils, containing data relevant to their schooling, and including diet and health information, plus contact numbers for parents and carers. We write to parents annually with a print out of this information for you to check. Staff organising trips will use this information, so if any details change, it is important for you to let us know as soon as possible. An e-mail to: email@example.com will usually do the trick.
Note: parents are particularly asked NOT to hand a piece of paper to a trip organiser with new contact numbers on the day of departure! Lists of contact numbers are prepared a couple of weeks in advance and distributed to all staff taking part, and to the school’s senior leadership team. A piece of paper handed in on the day of departure will not appear on these lists.
Diets and Allergies
To operate trips we need to know your contact details and your son’s medical and dietary requirements together with any special needs he may have. Rather than asking you to complete these again for every trip, we ask you to provide that information when your son joins the school. If any of that information changes it is important that you tell us, usually by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also provided with a print-out of that information annually to check.
Parents whose sons have a life-threatening allergy are also strongly recommended to make personal contact with the trip leader, in the weeks leading up to a trip, to confirm arrangements.
If you have any queries, concerns or suggestions about trips, please contact the Safety Coordinator, Mr Boardman at: email@example.com.