School tours - Notes on planning your tour

Guidelines

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The following guidelines are to help staff members planning a school tour and to guide anyone who may need to respond to parental queries or concerns.

1. Preliminary planning

1.1. Approval process

A Staff member wishing to plan a school tour should detail the pertinent information on a Tour Proposal Form and submit the information in the first instance to the Director of Activities (senior school) or the Director of Pastoral Care, Planning & Co-Curricular (prep school) for comment (on proposed dates, staffing, etc.).  This will be returned to the relevant staff member with a comment to confirm or otherwise approval of the tour. A meeting to discuss specific details should be scheduled with the Director of Activities prior to submitting a proposal.

The staff member submitting the documentation for approval and engaging in this process will become the ‘tour leader’ and therefore take ultimate responsibility for co-ordinating all aspects of the tour.  This will in many cases necessitate delegation of certain tasks to accompanying staff to facilitate the tour coming to fruition.

1.2. Staff/student ratio

Each tour will have a minimum of 2 staff travel with students unless there are exceptional circumstances, which has been approved by the Director of Activities (senior school) or the Director of Pastoral Care, Planning & Co-Curricular (prep school).

For example:

0 – 10 students   = 2 staff (this number is negotiable depending on other adults on tour)

10 – 20 students = 2/3 staff

20 – 30 students = 3/4 staff

for every 8 extra students 1 extra staff member is to travel with them.

Ratio nominally = 1:8

NB:          Ratios are conditional on the nature of activities on the tour. Higher risk activities normally require a higher staff:student ratio.

1.3. Costing

Trips involving heavy expenses are to be budgeted well in advance. This will be based around a proposed itinerary, including fights and accommodation inclusions, along with reasonable allowances for meals and spending money. Staff who have conducted tours and reputable travel agents can assist in this process. A minimum and maximum number should be agreed upon to make the tour viable. Contingency should be in place for both under and over subscription and the action to be implemented in either case.

If the tour leader wishes to deal with a particular travel provider, the tour leaders will need to obtain two quotes for the proposed tour for the flight/travel and the accommodation components. In selecting a travel provider, price may not be the only reason for selection, but an explanation/justification as to why a particular travel agent has not been selected must be provided to the Director of Activities (senior school) or the Director of Pastoral Care, Planning & Co-Curricular (prep school) before a company is engaged to make bookings for the proposed tour.  If the justification is based on pricing, the tour leader will need to provide evidence of both quotes.

Where relevant (for example, in the case of a trip that is not voluntary but is planned for a specific team/group) parents should be informally approached about the idea and about probable costs before the boys hear of definite plans.

Trips must be self-funding. Supervisory staff costs are to be built into the budget. You will need to contact the Academic Administrator in the Studies office to sort out the costing of bringing in a relief teacher while you are on tour. (This obviously would only apply during the school terms).  Sensible levels of staffing (see above)will vary according to factors such as the number of boys involved and the nature of the activity and should be determined for budgeting purposes in consultation with the Director of Activities (senior school) or the Director of Pastoral Care, Planning & Co-Curricular (prep school). Fundraising opportunities are available through consultation with staff indicated above.

An extra staff member may well join the party, in which case the trip organiser will need to make a decision about the appropriateness or otherwise of dividing his or her reasonable travel costs between all accompanying staff.  A copy of the Finance and guidelines for school tours document is available to download from the Intranet.

1.4. Finances

Trip leaders, as agents of the school, are accountable for the use of trip funds. There is nothing new in this, but it is important to stress that it is sensible to keep a progressive record of actual costs, compared to expected ones, in order to respond readily to proper parental questions about expenditure. In some cases there will be refunds of some portion of trip monies after the event. In these cases the refund should be sent to parents with a summary of tour finances.

Although, in the past many tour planners have organised trip finances perfectly well via special purpose accounts set up and managed by themselves, in the future, all special accounts are to be arranged through the Finance Officer.

Before any monies are collected, a Finance Activity Form (Appendix 1) needs to be completed to set up an active account for monies within the school accounting system which will be easier to account for all monies for which the school is ultimately responsible and to satisfactorily answer parental questions about the use of funds.

If you and/or students need to carry foreign currency on the trip, Exchange Now can provide a Mastercard® Multi-currency Cash Passport™ which allows the holder and/or parents to easily manage foreign currency cash.  More information about this is available in Appendix 1 of this document.

1.5. Promotion

The tour will need to be advertised to the school community to secure enough students to make it viable.  Promoting the tour to student and parents via the Bulletin and the e-Newsletter is the initial approach. This should be done through a flyer that can be collected by students or attached to the e-Newsletter and downloaded.

It might be appropriate to have a promotional meeting with interested boys and parents to ensure that questions can be answered effectively and better gauge support and levels of commitment to a tour.  To secure genuine interest a refundable deposit should be sought in the first instance so that viability of the trip can be ascertained in a relatively short period.

1.6. Confirmation of the tour

The tour will need to be determined as viable within a reasonable period after promotion so that resources can be secured and bookings can be confirmed. This period will vary but usually within a month to six weeks viability can be determined given appropriate promotion. Once a decision is made the Director of Activities (senior school) or the Director of Pastoral Care, Planning & Co-Curricular (prep school) need to be informed of the decision for planning purposes in a whole school context.  This will include an approximate itinerary for the tour.

2. Preparation for the tour

2.1. Database of touring party/tour tags

Once you have a final list of tour members, the Trip leader will:

  • Email the surname and preferred name  of all the tour members on a CCGS data template form
  • Tour staff names need to be submitted with accommodation details and contact numbers for construction of tour tags.
  • Email a final list of tour members to all Heads of Houses, the Director or Planning & Co-curricular and the Director of Activities.  If the tour occurs during the school term, the tour leader is also required to notify the Director of Sport and the Academic Administrator.
  • Obtain Head of House feedback, as required.

2.2. Fundraising

Please see Philanthropy Guidelines for CCGS for fundraising at this link on the Intranet here

2.3. Insurance

The school has an insurance policy in place, which must be used unless an approved alternative is arranged. The cost of any additional insurance must be borne by the tour and it needs to be arranged well beforehand.

Please consult the Business Manager before any alternative insurance is arranged. Appropriate contact numbers in case of emergency of the insurer, must be carried by the tour leader.

2.4. Emergencies/risk planning

Tour leaders need to make assessments of the risks involved in carrying out their tour. To assist in this process, an Activity Risk Assessment (ARA) Form  must be completed and submitted with the documentation left at school. Depending on the nature of a tour and the activities being included the ARA form will vary.  Please discuss with the Director of Activities to ensure that documentation is acceptable. This document must be downloaded and corrected before a final copy is printed.

The school All Tours: Information & Code of Conduct form must be signed by each student going on tour. Trip leaders are to ensure the student’s Consent2Go medical forms have been completed within 3 months of the tour, downloaded and reviewed prior to departure, so staff are aware of any medical conditions of tour members.

This will form a major part of your Tour file.  All staff must have copies of the medical forms whilst on tour and a “set” must be lodged with the information submitted prior to departure.

All volunteers involved in a tour must have a current Working with Children (WWC) card. Photocopies of which must be included in tour documentation.

A Tour Tag Form document (ie supervisors on tour and their mobile numbers; where tour is staying; addresses and phone contacts, time away etc.) must be constructed by the tour leader.  This is then used as a basis for ID tags which carry emergency contact details and medical information.  These tags will be carried by all tour members in wallets during the tour (these tag are compiled by the Executive Assistant to the Director of Planning & Co-curricular).

All touring members’ passports (inside covers) must be copied and carried by a staff member on the tour. Copies of these passport details are submitted with the documentation left at School.

In the event of an emergency, the tour leader will manage the tour group to ensure the group is safe and then contact the Director of Planning and Co-curricular or the Director of Activities, for further directions once the situation is contained.

2.6. Tour clothing

All tours need to make use of current school clothing items.  The school gold/blue polo, along with the school tracksuit are key clothing items for all tours.

Using these two items will eliminate the proliferation of tour tops that affect the integrity of the current school uniform.

The polo top and tracksuit top can be embroided, in line with current font style and size for clothing items, through the uniform shop, e.g., 20xx Soccer Tour on the right breast panel at the height of the crest.  In some cases a tour may require an additional top for specialist activities, e.g., a playing top for games.

All tour embroidery and requests for specialist tops need to be approved by the Director of Planning & Co-curricular.

3. Setting guidelines for the tours

3.1. Behavioural expectations

It is important to set out an agreed set of acceptable behaviours which are outlined for students on tour. This should include acceptable practices in regards to airport check-ins, accommodation and free time. Students and parents are asked to sign and date the ‘All Tours: Information and Code of Conduct’ document to indicate their acceptance of standards and the consequences for non-compliance whilst on tour.

3.2. Communication guidelines

It is a school policy that each tour leader checks in by either phone or email every 48 hours. This contact is to be with either the Director of Activities or the Director of Planning and Co-curricular.  Boys are also required to contact their parents by email or phone every week of the tour.

3.2.1 Staff leaders mobile phones

All tour leaders will need access to a mobile phone. Any tour group will carry 2 phones at a minimum. One of these can be a school phone (with international roaming set up).

NB:  All number prefixes need to be ascertained and confirmed before departure. An allowance for phone calls needs to be included in the tour budget.

3.2.2  Student mobile phones (no hired phones)

It is recommended that all students on tour carry a mobile phone that has international roaming set up. This phone is for emergency only and is to be carried by boys at all times. It is recommended the phone is not used to text other tour members while on tour because of excessive costs.  The phones could be used for tour members to contact parents but considerations about costs need to be explained to students.

3.3. Electronic items

It is recommended that clear guidelines are set for the use of items like ipods and electronic game units.  It is the tour leader/s who will make the final policy on these items.

3.4. Billets

If boys are being billeted, it is essential that all the billets are approved by the school that CCGS is visiting. It is also essential that a list of billets, the boy being billeted and the phone number of the billet is available to both tour leader (and other tour staff) and the contact staff member at the school being visited.

3.5. Alcohol/drugs

3.5.1  Staff

It is fair and reasonable that during a tour staff will consume alcohol. At any time whilst on tour, one of the staff will have a blood alcohol level of 0.00 (i.e. will abstain from consuming alcohol). Staff may consume alcohol on a rotation basis but excess alcohol consumption to the point of intoxication is not permitted. At no time should staff drive vehicles having consumed alcohol. It is also expected that staff will not take any non-prescription drugs whilst on tour.

3.5.2  Students

The consumption of alcohol or use of tobacco or any other non-prescription drug is prohibited by students when on tour. If a billet is over 18, the consumption of alcohol is technically legal and permitted in moderation at the discretion of the host parents in their company (e.g. at home or with a meal in a restaurant).

  • Proof of age should be sighted and great care taken.
  • Please check with the school if you have any doubts.

3.6. Hosting visiting groups:  guidelines for billeting families

During their stay with the billet family, the same duty of care as for the billet family’s own children applies. Parents should expect high standards of behavior from visiting students and have the same degree of authority as with their own children. The billet family parents must familiarise themselves with the visiting students’ itinerary and note when meals and transport may be required.

Invitations to social events or any other activity not outlined on the official itinerary should be carefully checked out and the billet family’s parental permission must be sought by the visiting students to attend such events or to go anywhere unattended by an adult.

  • No visiting student may go anywhere alone at any time.
  • If the billet family’s parents allow their billets to go anywhere not attended by the host parents apart from official itinerary activities they must go in groups of two or more. The billet family’s parents must also know where they are going, who they will be with and when they will return.

Please ensure that the visiting students have the billet family’s parent’s contact telephone numbers and address. Billet families are asked to allow their billets to telephone their own parents occasionally. You may ask them to pay for the calls. The Christ Church Grammar School rules  apply to visiting students, the most important being the Common Sense Rule.

  • It is now a requirement by law that all members of the exchange household over the age of 18 hold a Working with Children
  • Please download the Working with Children card requirements document here for families who are hosting students from other schools.

3.7. Tour reports

3.7.1  Senior school

During the tour it is important to nominate a group of students to produce a brief audio visual report of the tour for the school community. The report will be presented on return to school at a Principal’s Assembly, as determined by the Director of Planning & Co-curricular, and also submitted to the coordinator for Mitre. The verbal report should be 3 – 4 minutes in duration and a set of pictures should be selected and grouped in a file for electronic transfer to the AV co-ordinator prior to the assembly. These pictures can then form a backdrop to the report.

3.7.2 Prep school

Tour reports will be presented as determined by the Director of Planning & Co-Curricular (Prep School) and also submitted to the coordinator for Mitre.

3.8. Incidents, accidents and injuries

3.8.1 Any problems, which occur on tour (behaviour, injury, sickness or critical incidents), should be immediately reported to the co-ordinator on tour, the Director of Planning & Co-Curricular/Director of Activities (Senior School) or the Director of Pastoral Care, Planning & Co-curricular (Prep School).

3.8.2 Any incident resulting in a tour member visiting or being referred to a hospital is to be communicated to parents/carers/guardians by the co-ordinator on tour and an Injury/Incident form is to be completed as soon as practically possible.

4. Documentation to be submitted prior to departure

4.1. Document cover

The tour leader needs to download a School Tour Doc Cover that provides a list of items to be considered in tour preparation and submitted one week prior to departure date.

This list includes:

  • An Activity Risk Assessment (ARA) Form (or during the transition period the RAMS Excursions & Tours Form is still acceptable) identifying risks and procedures.
  • An Excel Spreadsheet of all tour participants, staff, students and others with all contact details.
  • An Itinerary including all flights, on ground transport, accommodation and visits etc.
  • Copies of C2G documents; students.
  • Copies of all medicals for staff.
  • Copies of parent/student declarations (if required)
  • Passport copies (overseas trips only).
  • Deviation from Tour (if required)

Appendix 1 – Foreign currency