List of available trips
In total we operate about 150 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
Letters for most trips appear at: kes.org.uk/letters, and in some cases may be handed out directly by teachers. 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 online, payment can be made by a cheque made payable to “KES Trips”. Charges up to the value of £30.00 may be paid in cash if no other payment options are available.
If payment is made by cheque or cash please ensure your son is in the relevant year group for the trip, and enclose the payment in an envelope with a letter giving permission for your son to take part. The envelope should be addressed to ‘Finance Office’ and be placed in the black box which can be found outside the Finance Office. Your letter needs to state:
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.
We are only able to offer assistance with compulsory school visits, namely Shell Form Camps, Removes’ Activities Week and some field study visits. Assistance is available for families with very low incomes – it is not available for all pupils on assisted places. If you wish to find out about this, please contact the finance office.
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. Trips are run on a not-for-profit basis and we have to make commitments for transport, accommodation, instructors and equipment. 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. Even then, it is possible that there will be a small cost involved in changing the name on a flight ticket for a trip abroad. However, if another child does not take your son’s place, we may not be able to make any refund.
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. In that event we will attempt to negotiate a reduction in costs from accommodation and transport providers, and we will also put in a travel insurance claim. However, we need to be clear that it is possible we will not be able to refund some of what you have paid if a trip has to be cancelled in a situation such as this.
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.
All our school visits are covered by our travel insurance policy which you can see at kes.org.uk/insurance. If your son is ill or injured during a trip, his treatment is covered by the insurance. Equally, if your son has to cancel his place on a trip prior to departure as a result of illness or injury, it is possible for you to claim back all the money you have paid for that trip. You will need to complete an insurance claim form, and a doctor will need to complete part of the form. Our travel insurance also covers loss of possessions whilst on a school visit.
Children who are citizens of countries outside the European Union will normally need a visa to take part in a school trip abroad. For trips within the EU, the school can obtain a school visa exemption on behalf of your child, which is free. If your son is taking part in a school visit to an EU country, and is not an EU citizen, please complete the short form available here and return it to the teacher running the trip, asking them to obtain a visa exemption for you from the British Council.
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 management 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 e-mailing 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 Co-ordinator, Mr Boardman at email@example.com.