Accommodating additional needs on school visits 

Policy statement

At NST we are continually working to enable all guests to enjoy the many benefits of our school visits. Most educational objectives can be met at a variety of locations and we request an open and flexible approach to help us meet your needs. If a participant has additional requirements which you will need to accommodation on your educational tour, relating – for example – to disability, culture, diet, etc, we will be pleased to discuss these with you. We will need you to provide us with full details as soon as possible to ensure that a fair assessment of service provision can be made, and appropriate resources identified with reference to such considerations as access, programming, successful participation and health and safety.

Advance warning

Properly accommodating additional needs on your school visit requires advance notification, assessment, agreement and planning. All requests for additional needs must be confirmed in writing to and by your NST Educational Tour Co-ordinator. Please note that we can only take responsibility for arrangements that have been discussed and agreed with us as soon as possible and before we confirm your school travel booking.

Additional needs can result from:

  • Religious requirements

  • Cultural requirements

  • Dietary requirements

  • Behavioural difficulties

  • Disability

Religious Requirements

We will be pleased to support participants’ needs to opt out of any activity on religious grounds on your school visit, if an activity or event is felt inappropriate, in order to pray or attend a religious ceremony, or for any other purpose confirmed by a parent or teacher. An opt out may mean that the participant will have to occupy themselves for a period, under teacher supervision, so please ensure your ratios can accommodate this.

The facility to attend a religious ceremony will depend on its availability in the area of the accommodation. Any extra travel costs incurred will be borne by the participant, parents or school. Escort arrangements will need to be arranged between the school staff in the case of an individual participant aged under 18 years.

Cultural requirements

We will attempt to assist participants with cultural needs, e.g. special dress code or special domestic arrangements, where the adjustments required to standard arrangements are reasonably practicable and do not represent a health and safety risk. Please advise us of specific requirements.

Dietary requirements

We strive to deliver catering provision for most dietary requirements as specified by culture, religion and medical concerns, but they are on a prearranged, subject to availability basis. We do not cater for weight management programmes or “faddy” diets. We request as much notice as possible for Coeliac, Nut-free, Dairy Intolerance, Vegetarianism, Vegan, Kosher and Halal menus. Leaders should be aware that overseas interpretations of vegetarianism can vary widely. Where we are not able to provide a special diet, we will assist individuals in making alternative arrangements on your educational tour.

Behavioural difficulties

We recognise that there is a full spectrum of behavioural traits and that most needn’t concern us at all. Teachers are reminded that group management is primarily their concern, but we can help by providing advice on suitable accommodation and visits.

Where the situation necessitates it, we will consider increasing the free / discount adult places available to a group to ensure that supervision is not compromised.

On NST tours, we require all participants to conform to our Code of Conduct and reserve the right to exclude anyone whose behaviour is unacceptable.

Disability

The main questions to resolve with disability are: suitability of school travel arrangements; access to all necessary domestic facilities; access to sufficient activities (where relevant); and physical ability to participate safely and enjoyably in as much as possible of the programme. Early notification and exact details are essential to help us meet your needs correctly.

Coaches with lifts for wheelchairs are scarce, so advance booking is vital. Coach companies usually charge more for these vehicles.

Accommodation and visits world-wide do not always include good access features for disabled visitors. We can advise on suitability and make specific enquiries on your behalf.

Where a disabled participant requires the services of a personal carer, we cannot provide an additional person ourselves, but will be pleased to consider providing an extra place at a discount rate for a carer you provide.

Insurance

Insurers cannot discriminate against disabled persons. However, insurers need to know about medical problems, e.g. if a person is in a wheelchair because of an illness, the illness needs to be declared rather than the fact they are in a wheelchair.

Summary

A step by step guide to accommodating participants’ additional needs. Some of the following points may not be relevant in every case:

  • You should advise us of any additional needs at the enquiry stage. In the case of accessibility for a disabled participant, it may affect your choice of accommodation/destination/excursions/dates, but these should still meet your educational objectives.

  • We will need to discuss details and options with you over the phone. We will also ask you to confirm full details of the additional needs in writing.

  • We will then confirm what level of service we can provide and will provisionally book any special facilities for you.

  • We ask you to confirm acceptance in writing, so that the additional arrangements are included as part of the booking and won’t be overlooked.