Trips and Visits
At FSG, one of our central values is to help our students to leave us feeling bold & spectacular; 10ft tall and ready to take on the world. We do this in school through a broad and balanced curriculum reflecting a healthy balance between academic and character education; through both our FSGBacc programme and our Global Dimension & International School Status. We are lucky to have beautiful grounds and a wide variety of activities on site – climbing walls, bike trails, archery, even our own escape room. We have overnight camps on site too – for transition camps or outdoor cinema nights to support us in that endeavour, all offered at no cost to students – but the world is bigger than Folkestone and as an International School and a Global school we are fully committed to opening eyes to a broader experience, a wider perspective and an international and global outlook! We want our girls to know that as human beings there is much more that unites us than divides us and whilst we have an extensive penpal programme, an international partner school network allowing us to beam children ‘virtually’ from all around the world, via our international school conferencing suite and the power of the internet, clearly there’s nothing quite like a physical visit and getting up close and personal with the countries and cultures of the world!
We are then in no doubt as to the power of school trips and visits - this could be a theatre, gallery or museum visit or a day trip to the WWI battlefields around Ypres! An adventure trip, a cultural trip, a day trip or a residential; from Iceland to America, Cuba to Namibia, these trips can play a vital part in helping the students develop. They build cultural capital and can, not only provide memories that can last a lifetime, but create opportunities and experiences that can help shape a lifetime. As such we want to enable as many students as possible to benefit from the experiences they offer. Whilst national agendas have talked of ‘narrowing the gap’ and ‘closing gaps’ we have been busily ‘filling gaps’ in the breadth of the curricular & co-curricular opportunities we offer.
It is essential to support personal growth that we allow the students to see and investigate the world around them and expose them to different countries and culture. Furthermore, trips provide an opportunity to be independent from home; to build other key skills such as communication and teamwork. As we have expanded our extra-curricular development of students, the number of trips has increased – from Duke of Edinburgh expeditions to CCF exercises & camps to International School Exchange trips – a whole host of new adventures to be had. This has a potentially significant cost for parents/carers within the school community. We must also of course balance the opportunities we provide for the students with the impact on education for those left behind (in lessons & requiring cover) and with staff workload. Groups sizes must be viable numbers for the trips we run. As a result, we operate a tier system to identify and plan the types of trips available as best we can. Trips also rely on the good will of staff to run and organise them so this too is a factor in considering a trip being run.
We offer an extensive array of trips – typically over 140 a year in pre-Covid times – and as the world begins to return to normality, we are now once again beginning to offer that unparalleled programme of trips. However, to maximise the opportunities for all we go one step further. Whilst most schools offer trips on a first come, first served basis or randomly select students from a list, we aim to track student engagement with trips across a school career so that we can prioritise those who have not yet been on a school trip over those who have.
Student reports and records are also able to list, then, not only the academic grades that a student attains but also aim to paint the ‘whole picture’; all of their other achievements and experiences whilst at the school; all else they have accomplished as a Cadet perhaps or through the Duke of Edinburgh Award; their engagement with extra-curricular activities such as music, sport and adventure; their FSGBacc Awards and a record of the trips they’ve been on, the places they’ve been and the things they’ve seen!
We also aim to publish to parents in advance, to support their own planning, a list of the intended future opportunities and trips we offer over the 7 years their daughters will spend with us. In this way we aim to ensure notice of any planned visits will be given well in advance with details of the likely expenses involved.
To remove barriers to attending, we are able to offer limited financial support to students who are currently eligible for free school meals.
Two types of trips
As a school there are many types of educational visit that are held every single year and throughout their time here there will be a chance for girls to attend many of these. The trips range in terms of destination, duration and purpose from day trips to the local beach to study coastal erosion to 4-week safaris in Namibia!
We define educational visits in to two groups:
- Curriculum trips - these are a direct requirement of the subject curriculum. For example, Geography students need to complete field work so the students may visit Canterbury to look at the role tourism plays in the life of the city or visit the coast to study erosion. These trips are compulsory for students. We ask parents/carers for a voluntary contribution to these trips if they can afford to.
- Co-curricular trips - these trips are designed to enrich or enhance the curriculum or school experience and are optional. These trips are at cost to the students (parents/carers).
Where a trip is regarded as co-curricular and has a limited number of places, there can be more students who wish to go than there are places. We have to limit places on some trips as they require specific staffing ratios and logistically can be challenging. Transport, accommodation and the nature of the activities/destinations can prove limiting factors. This will usually apply to overseas residential trips. We must also of course balance the opportunities we provide for the students travelling with the impact on education for those left behind (in lessons & requiring cover) and with staff workload.
In the event of a proposed trip, expressions of interest will be sent out via Wisepay. The expressions of interest will be collated and names will be drawn from the pool of students interested. Rather than do this entirely randomly, or on a first come, first served basis as is the case at most schools, here at FSG we take a different approach. We track student engagement with trips across their school career so that we can prioritise those who have not yet been on a school trip over those who have; so for example given a choice of two students for a trip to Iceland, one of whom has already been on a residential to Spain in a previous year we’d favour the student who had not yet been on an overseas trip over the one who had! The students selected through this process will then be eligible to proceed with the trip. Should a trip be very heavily oversubscribed we may well priortise older year groups as this could be their last chance to attend; younger years would have further chances. The remaining students will be drawn, placed on the waiting list, in the order they are drawn. The exception to this will be for looked after children. They will receive first refusal on any trip and will not need to be placed in the pool of expression of interest. Should they decline their place this will be available to the main pool of students. In the event a trip is undersubscribed then younger year groups may be approached.
The school’s decision on which students make trip lists will be final and we are not able to explain the reasons behind an individual student’s selection or non-selection for a trip in anything but the broadest possible terms.
The school has a fundamental legal obligation, to always ensure it has at all times, in all activities, whether on the school site or otherwise, Employer Liability and separate Public Liability insurance policies in place. No child can be allowed to take part in trips and outings, without full insurance cover by the schools DFE recommended insurers. This is a statutory duty and not a policy decision that the Principal is allowed to make, whatever the circumstances.
Students and parents/carers should be aware that failure to comply with our school Code of Conduct and therefore to behave reasonably and responsibly in school is a strong indicator that students may fail to behave reasonably and responsibly on any school trips or adventures. Therefore, poor behaviour in school could jeopardise any student being accepted onto school trips and adventures. Similarly, students who have poor attendance would be similarly de-prioritised unless there is good reason for such low levels of attendance.
Expressions of Interest
Expressions of interests are taken as a serious intention to commit to a school trip and we’d ask parents not to express an interest for every trip going with the intention of choosing the best offer! Expressions of interest are made through a student's Wisepay account.
Consent and Payments
The school maintains an online payment facility, Wisepay, which can be accessed here.
Each student has an individual Wisepay account. We are now a cashless school, and all payments should be made through Wisepay.
Before taking a student off site it is vital that we have legal permission to do so, and that we have consent for medical treatment should the need arise. This permission can be given online, and the letter inviting your child on the trip will give you details of how to do this. Please note that payment for a trip does not mean that this legal permission has been given, this is a separate requirement before your child can go on a trip.
Deadlines are given for consent and payment in all letters regarding trips. It would be appreciated if these deadlines are met to aid the smooth running of the trip.
If you have any Wisepay, trip or consent queries, please send them to email@example.com.