Safety First: Keeping Our Students Happy & Safe

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Date of Publication: 17 December 2019

 

Here at Oxford Summer Courses, we take the well-being and safety of our students extremely seriously. Our on-course team is carefully selected, well trained and given 24/7 support to ensure that our students have the best experience possible. 

We use the same standards that are applied in UK schools, and we are regularly inspected by the British Accreditation Council and (for our EFL courses) the British Council. From the moment students arrive on our courses or meet our staff at the airport pick-up, they are in safe hands. 

We know that you’ll probably have a lot of questions on what we’ll be doing to ensure that your children are well looked after.  Find answers to any concerns you may have below:

 

What measures do you take to care for the safety of all students?

We have robust policies around safety and risk and we have very carefully constructed processes around:

 

  •     The way we accommodate and supervise our students

We have a fantastic team of people who are here to look after our students and their well-being. The Course Director manages the site, and he or she has a team of leaders and helpers who will look after groups of students. There will always be staff members on hand, at all hours of the day, to help with any issues which may arise.   All of our accommodation sites for under 16s are closed – that is, the entrance and exit is security controlled. Our staff have their own bedrooms amongst the students’ bedrooms, with female staff always with female students.

Depending on their age, the students are accompanied by staff members to and from classes and always during the social and cultural activities. Staff members will also be present before and after classes and activities, and at mealtimes. 

Registrations and checks take place regularly; at the beginning of the day, regularly throughout, and at the end of the day.

 

  •   Training our tutors and pastoral teams

Our team is trained specifically in child safeguarding and also in supporting the social and emotional needs of young people. We take our approach extremely seriously and recognise the weight of responsibility we have to our students, staff and partners.

 

  •   Our staff to student ratios

We maintain a strict pastoral staff to student ratio throughout the entirety of every course. This ensures that our students are well looked after and safe. Please contact our admissions team if you’d like to know the exact ratios for your course, as this varies slightly between courses and age groups.  Our staffing levels are set to support student supervision levels. Supervision levels are dependent on the activity. For example, a film night in the boarding house will have different supervision needs by comparison with a day trip to London. All activities are risk assessed.

 

Will my child be allowed to go out on their own during the course?

We are fortunate in the UK to have good traffic and pedestrian laws, and a culture of safety and social responsibility.  We also have some wonderful buskers, street artists and independent shops which our teenage students love. There is some free time in all of the course programmes and you will be asked for parental consent before the course begins to approve or deny unsupervised walking out.  Our rules are:

  • 13-15 year olds.  In groups of at least 3, for short durations (eg an hour), and only with charged phones and clear timings.
  • 16-17 year olds.  In at least pairs, for short durations (eg an hour), and only with charged phones and clear timings.   

Unaccompanied walking out is always at the group leaders discretion, and only ever in the daytime. 9-12 year olds will always have staff members with them. 

 

What happens if my child gets sick during the course?

We hope that no one gets ill but sometimes it happens. If your child does get ill, our staff will make sure that they can access appropriate medical services to be diagnosed and treated. The on-course team and house parents will make sure that they are looked after properly.  Even though children, generally, are quick to tell their parents if they have been poorly, we will always make sure that you know exactly what is happening, and we will keep you updated.

 

Will my child be covered by medical/travel insurance?

All of our students studying in the UK are covered under a travel and medical insurance policy – included in your course fee. For further details on what this insurance covers, please speak to our admissions team.

 

My child has special requirements (medical, learning, dietary, accessibility). Can they still come?

We can cater for any dietary specifications (religious or health), and have often in the past had students fasting; we can arrange meals outside scheduled times where necessary.  All other requirements are dealt with on a case by case basis so please contact us and we will make every effort for your child to be able to attend.

We will collect all essential details about our students in an information form, sent to you before they join us on their course. 

 

How will my child get from the airport to the course?

We offer a Transfer Service to and from Heathrow Airport at no extra cost, subject to arrival and departure times, to all of our UK locations. Any 9-15 year olds who are travelling on their own must use our airport transfer service. It is optional but recommended for our 16-17 year old students. 

We endeavour to keep all of our parents well informed throughout this process with a number of measures:

  • We recharge your child’s phone if needed (often out of charge after a long journey) at the earliest opportunity
  • We will, or your child will under our supervision, contact you to let you know they are safely with us
  • Keep your child supervised until they are in the care of their course team

The transfer day can be a long and sometimes boring one because there is inevitably some waiting.  Whilst we aim to make this process as efficient as possible, the welfare of the students is our primary concern.   

All transfers must be arranged before arrival day. The Airport Transfer Service can be booked when you know your travel arrangements,  up to 4 weeks before your course begins. Additional information about transfers or alternative ways to get to courses can be found on our Transfer Service page.

 

I want my child to travel with an airline using their Unaccompanied Minors service – who will the airline hand my child over to?

All of our staff waiting at Heathrow Airport will carry proof of identity and an official letter from Oxford Summer Courses confirming their role in the collection of students arriving into the UK.  We will have a full manifest of all students we are to meet at the airport, and which of these are in the care of an airline. This is information which parents/guardians will provide to us in the weeks running up to the course, when they make their request for our airport transfer service. If your airline requires a specifically named individual when you book their Unaccompanied Minors service, please contact us.

 

Will you take my child’s photograph? 

In addition to the images we may take for any marketing purposes (which you may opt out of), we find it very helpful for our group leaders to have their students’ photographs on their devices.  These are deleted at the end of the course. The images we take of activities and of the students during their course are also used for course blogs. Each course team runs a blog and the link will be shared with you at the beginning of the course.  We find that these blogs are reassuring and are enjoyed by parents who are able to see what their children have been doing each day.

 

How will I know my child has arrived at the school or college?

At the arrivals talk on the first evening of the course, all of our students are asked to contact their parents or guardians to let them know that they are safe and well in their college or school.  For the younger students, for whom we operate a screen policy, devices will not be handed in until they have sent a message or made a call home. 

 

How will you use my data? 

Since the 25th May 2018 we — and our venue partners — have been compliant with a new UK Data Protection Bill based on the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

We ask for information about our prospective students to help us process their application and to make sure that we can cater for any requirements.  We pass on relevant data such as dietary requirements, names and ages to our venue partners. We abide by UK and EU law when data is required by authorities, although this will be on a case by case basis.  

You must give consent for us to use you and your child’s data in this way so that they can attend our courses.  We will not hold personal information about our students beyond October of the year after attending the course. You can also tell us not to use this information in which case we will delete your contact details.  

You can read more about data protection in our privacy policy.

 

Want to know more?

If you have any more questions or concerns about the well-being and safety of the  students on our courses, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

 

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