Some of the very best learning takes place away from school, when students spend time together on a residential trip to an unfamiliar, exciting and challenging location. There are opportunities to be involved in new activities and work with different people. Students always come back from these trips tired, happy, and a little more ‘grown up’.
Many of your sons and daughters will have experienced the excitement of a residential school trip before, while for a small number this might be the first time that they are going to be away from home for a few days at a time. In both cases, we wish to assure you that both you and they will survive the separation! To allay any worries that you may have, we have prepared some answers to what we feel will be your most common questions. If we have missed any out please feel free to contact the trip leader, Ms Holly Mitchell at any time on email@example.com.
1.WHERE IS THE TRIP DESTINATION?
The group will be going to Inner Mongolia, northern China. They will be travelling in two separate groups and will not be together for the duration of the trip. Group A will fly to Hohhot and return from Baotou and Group B will fly to Baotou and return from Hohhot.
2. WHAT ARE THE TRAVEL DETAILS?
Sunday 18 June
- Depart Shanghai-Hongqiao 09:20
- Arrive Hohhot 12:20
Friday 23 June
- Depart Baotou 13:15
- Arrive Shanghai-Pudong T1 15:50
Sunday 18 June
- Depart Shanghai-Pudong 09:25
- Arrive Hohhot 12:30
Friday 23 June
- Depart Hohhot 14:50
- Arrive Shanghai-Hongqiao T2 17:30
If this changes significantly, due to a flight delay for example, we will inform you via the school website. Students should be dropped off and collected promptly at either end of the trip by their parents.
3. WHAT ACTIVITIES WILL THE STUDENTS BE DOING?
Over the course of the week, the students will have opportunities to experience hiking, Mongolian wrestling, sand sledding, camp cooking and tree planting. They will also have the chance to experience and learn about a range of aspects of Mongolian culture. The exact itinerary may be subject to change as it is to some extent weather dependent, but it will be a busy week.
One of the aims of the trip is to take students out of their comfort zones and experience new challenges. This will involve interviewing the local people of Inner Mongolia, eating local cuisine and sleeping in local style accommodation. Toilet facilities at the grassland sites will be very basic and to get the most out the trip, students need to be prepared to give up the comforts of modern city living.
4. WHAT WILL THE ACCOMMODATION BE LIKE?
We will be staying in a variety of accommodation styles. Two nights will be spent in a hotel with twin rooms and en suite bathrooms. For another two nights, the students will sleep in traditional Mongolian yurts. Two people will sleep in each, with separate yurts for boys and girls. For one night, the students will be camping.
5. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD?
We will have some meals in the hotel and nearby restaurants. Some food will be prepared at the grassland sites. These meals will be a mixture of traditional Chinese food and local Mongolian style cuisine.
6. WHAT CLOTHES AND EQUIPMENT WILL THEY NEED?
A full packing list is included. Some clothes may get muddy so please do not pack anything that you cannot bear to see ruined.
7. CAN THE STUDENTS BRING THEIR MOBILE PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES?
Electronic devices are not needed on the trip as students will be very busy. Devices will not be used during activities or meal times, and all members of staff will be taking photos of the experiences. If a student is insistent on bringing a camera they can do so, but this is at their own risk. Students need to be aware that electronic devices which are taken on the trip will be brought at the owner’s risk. They may not be suitable for some of the water-based activities and desert sand does not mix well with any electronic device – we strongly advise that a zip-up plastic wallet is used for storage. In the grasslands, there may be limited electricity and little opportunity for charging electronic devices.
8. HOW MUCH SPENDING MONEY SHOULD STUDENTS TAKE?
Although there may be an opportunity to purchase souvenirs, there will be little time for shopping in our busy schedule of activities. It will not be necessary for students to bring any more money than they would normally spend on snacks and drinks.
9. WHICH STAFF MEMBERS WILL BE GOING ON THE TRIP?
There will be eight school staff members supervising students on the trip. Holly Mitchell will be leading the trip, supported by Luke Thompson, Katherine Cooper, Michael Dunphy, Eimear Reen, Irina Brannasch, Jonathan Doherty, Khadak Kumar Gurung, Marie Ma, Sean Rowley and Laurie Reeve. During the activities, the students will be supervised by expert instructors.
10. WILL MY CHILD BE SAFE?
The risk management plan for the trip includes first aid training for Insight staff and evacuation procedures. It also considers the safety of students for each activity that they take part in, ensuring that clear guidance is given to them before they begin and that plans are in place if accidents do occur.
Students will be covered by medical insurance for the duration of the trip and International SOS will coordinate the medical care and evacuation in the unlikely event of a serious injury. This means that your child is in good hands. Please do ensure that we have your child’s most up-to-date medical information and medical insurance details.
11. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IF MY CHILD IS TAKING ANY MEDICATION?
Please ensure any medication your son or daughter needs to take is given to their group leader before the trip leaves school. Any personal medication must be in a sealed plastic bag clearly labelled with the child’s name and fully typed instructions in English as to when and how often the medication should be taken. It is vital that these instructions are clear and if the medication needs to be given with food or water, or in a specific order, this should also be recorded. If you are confident that your child can be in charge of his/her own medication then he/she should keep it in his/her rucksack etc. If however, your child needs supervision with the medication, please email the trip leader and include all the relevant information mentioned above.
12. HOW WILL I KNOW IF THE TRIP IS GOING WELL?
We will post updates on our We Chat and Facebook accounts so parents can see the exciting experiences that their children are taking part in during the trip each day. If a flight is delayed we will publish a notice on the homepage of the school website and send messages via the secondary room parent network.
13. IS THERE A PHONE NUMBER IN CASE OF EMERGENCY?
Staff will have mobile phones, which you can ring in case of emergency. Holly Mitchell can be contacted on 15801790781 for Group A students and Eimear Reen can be contacted on 13917642404 for Group B students.
14. HOW CLOSELY WILL THE STUDENTS BE SUPERVISED?
The supervision ratio will vary according to the activity the students are doing, but will always be in line with health and safety recommendations. Girls and boys will sleep in separate areas. They will be expected to go to bed at the specified times and to stay in their rooms until the morning. Male members of staff will supervise the areas that the boys are sleeping in and the female staff will supervise the girls’ areas.
15. WILL THE STUDENTS NEED THEIR PASSPORTS?
Yes they will. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that students bring their own passports and that they are up to date. All students travelling will be taking internal flights but will still require their passport or Chinese ID card. Macau, Taiwanese and Hong Kong passport holders must bring their passport and their Chinese ID card / booklet. Those with dual citizenship must ensure they have the passport they submitted details for on the school emergency registration form. The passports will be looked after by the trip leaders while we are away for the week.
16. HOW DO YOU DECIDE HOW MUCH THE TRIP WILL COST?
All of our trips are run on a not for profit basis. The vast majority of the cost for this trip goes towards the payment to Insight, the company which is facilitating the trip, and covers flights and other transport, accommodation, activities and their specialist staffing, food and other expenses.
17. WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
We hope that this answers most, if not all of your questions. Please feel free to contact me by email if you have any further queries, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children should bring with them:
- Passport or Hong Kong / Taiwan / Macau ID card
- High-factor sunscreen
- Day bag for excursions
- 2 pairs shorts
- 1 pair long trousers
- 5 shirts
- 1 lightweight fleece/vest/jumper/hoodie
- 1 waterproof jacket
- 1 bathing suit
- 7 pairs underwear
- 7 pairs socks
- 1 towel
- 1 sun hat/cap
- 2 pair of trainers/ strong walking shoes
- 1 pair of flip flops/sandals/comfortable shoes for around camp at night
- 1 water bottle
- 1 small torch
- 1 small personal first aid kit
- Small bottle of insect repellent
- Plastic bag for dirty clothes
- A lightweight sleeping bag (for extra warmth at night in the grasslands)
- Personal toiletries, including one toilet roll for use at the grassland sites
- Any required medication (This needs to be delivered in a zip lock bag with typed instructions)
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Wet wipes