Parent Zone

Answering all the questions you may have

Welcome, Parents & Guardians

Information for school residentials

We know and understand that many children can be nervous about being away from home. To help, we have put together this Parent Zone with lots of useful information to help you best prepare for your child’s residential and to give you a little insight into what your children will be doing while they stay with us.

Our mission

School residentials are one of the most exciting parts of the school year, with children often talking about their school camp for years to come.  At Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre, we make it our mission to ensure every child has the best possible experience with us, so creating memories which are full of adventures, friendships, and laughter.

Whilst we are passionate about the outdoors and adventure, our aim is to go beyond the fun of the high ropes course and the laughs aboard our Mega SUPs… we believe a school residential should consider every waking moment (whilst of course offering comfy surroundings for those moments less active!). We never underestimate the power of a friendly face or a helping hand. We know how important a good breakfast is. We appreciate how important clean facilities are. We ensure no aspect of a residential is overlooked and commit to treating every child as a valued paying guest.

For children on an outdoor residential, it is a chance to break away from the everyday and experience the great outdoors in all its glory. We strive to offer children a chance to learn new life skills, show inner confidence they thought they never had, make new friends, hear new stories, challenge their fears, and laugh like they have never done before.

OUR STAFF

Whilst we’re a jolly friendly bunch of individuals, our team are also competent, responsible, and safety-focused. All front line staff at Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre are DBS-checked and undergo rigorous employment screening and induction.

The senior management team at Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre have been working with schools and children for over 15 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • So, what will my child be doing at Porthpean OEC?

    For school residential bookings, every school will be provided with a dedicated timetable to include daytime activities, evening entertainment, and meal times.  Your child’s timetable will resemble the one as displayed on our residentials page, although it cannot be confirmed until the day of arrival.  School Activity Day trippers will also get a timetable, which will look the one displayed on the day activity day page.

  • Is there overnight cover at the centre?

    Yes, we offer 24 hour support at Porthpean OEC.  Once our evening staff leave for the day, our overnight staff step in to ensure all guests are looked after.  Our overnight team are trained in dealing with all manner of situations that may unfold.  As with all front-line staff at the centre, our overnight team are DBS-checked and are recruited and trained in accordance with our robust in-house systems.

  • What should my child bring?

    Check out our suggestions on the Kit List above, although your child’s school may suggest an alternative list.

  • Do children have their own showers and toilets?

    Yes, they do.  We have dedicated boys facilities and dedicated girls facilities, plus accessible facilities.  All showers are in individual cubicles- no old-school communal showers here! Teaching staff and our own team have their own dedicated facilities.

  • What is the menu like? Will there be a choice of meals?

    Your school will be issued with our menu. However, please rest assured all meals are designed with children in mind and all dietary requests are passed on to us via the school.  We do offer a choice of meals, including desserts.

  • My child has a food allergy. Can you accommodate?

    Of course.  We treat all food allergies and intolerances very seriously.  Your school will be asked to collect all relevant details for the entire group in order to pass on to our catering team.

  • My child cannot swim very well. Will they be able to take part in water-based activities?

    All children taking part in activities in the water will be wearing a buoyancy aid.  We can adapt all activities accordingly, ensuring your child’s safety is first in our thoughts.

  • What if my child gets scared when doing an activity?

    Your child’s teachers and our instructors are experienced with children and how to encourage them when facing challenges.  Whilst as an outdoor education centre we encourage risk in order to see the many rewards that come with it, we listen to every single child and put measures in place to ensure their trust is met and they feel safe and secure in during an activity.  We operate a Challenge by Choice method of activity instruction, meaning children are always in control.

  • Who allocates who stays with whom?

    Your school will be charged with the accommodation allocation.

  • Can my child bring their phone to call me in case of an emergency?

    We strongly advise against bringing any screens and/or valuables.  Porthpean OEC offers a fantastic opportunity to engage with the outdoors and take a break from screens.  Your school will have a policy in place as a means of parental contact in an emergency.

  • Can my child bring their iPad to watch a film at night?

    As above, we strongly advise against any screens and/or valuables.

  • Can my child bring a soft toy or comforter?

    Soft toys are often taken on school residentials, but please be aware that items are exposed to being damaged or lost on such trips; we strongly advise against bringing a particularly special toy.

  • What happens if my child needs the toilet in the middle of the night?

    Our toilets are open throughout the night, with a path lit up to guide people when dark.

  • Will they have to walk to the beach from the centre?

    Yes.  The beach is accessed from our centre via a footpath and road.  Your children will be led and accompanied by teaching staff and centre staff at all times.

  • My child is nervous about staying overnight on a school residential. Is there anyone I can talk to?

    We must always point parents (and children) to their teacher.  Both pre-stay and whilst in residence, teaching staff will assume ultimate responsibility for your child.  However, our centre staff are experienced with working with children and will happily listen to any concerns that a child may have when nervous or worried.  A safeguarding policy is enforced to ensure all interaction is safe for all parties.

  • My child wants to go on camp, but doesn't want to stay the night. Is that OK?

    Yes, of course.  A couple of things to bear in mind, however.  Firstly, we cannot offer a discount from our standard rates for those children who wish to stay at home overnight.  Secondly, you will need to arrange drop-offs and pick-ups with the school- we are unable to manage the process of individual drop-offs/pick-ups.  As addressed in another FAQ response, we cannot allow parents access into our centre.  This includes our car park.  We ask parents to drop off and pick up from the entrance to the centre at set times– your school can provide these times.  We will ask the school to accompany your child to the entrance to ensure they are collected safely (and met, in the instance of a drop-off). We ask the school to inform Reception when a child has arrived/departed.

  • How much is a school residential at Porthpean OEC?

    Your school will inform you of the cost of your school residential.

  • The school has asked us to drop off and collect my child. What is the procedure?

    Due to a lack of guest parking space at Porthpean Outdoor, unfortunately we are unable to open our car park to parents. For this reason, and to help traffic congestion on the road outside the centre, we would appreciate the help of parents with lift sharing to reduce the amount of vehicles visiting the centre.

    For those vehicles that do visit us, we ask you to drop your child off at the entrance, where they will be met by a member of school staff and Porthpean Outdoor staff.  In the continued interest of easing traffic issues outside the centre, we must ask the process of dropping off (in particular) to be as swift as possible.  We understand there may be some big hugs needed (or not!) from mum or dad and we feel bad for having to highlight it, but if the above can please be considered, we’d be super grateful.

    You will be advised of the specific times for drop-off and collection from the school.  We be aware that we be unable to accommodate times outside those issued by your school.

  • My child has just decided they want to go? Can they join the booking?

    You will need to communicate this request through your school.  However, please be advised, in accordance with our terms and conditions, no amendments to a school group booking can be made after 4 weeks prior to arrival.

  • My child has a wetsuit. Can we pack it?

    Please ask your school first, but we will not have an objection, although please bear in mind that wetsuits will be left to dry and stored with our own wetsuits.  Your child will not be allowed to dry their wetsuit in/near their accommodation.

  • My child absolutely loved their school residential at Porthpean OEC. Can we book again as a family?

    That is the ultimate compliment!  As a dedicated residential centre for young people, we are unable to accommodate families overnight. however, through the summer holidays we do open our centre to families for activity days and hire from Porthpean beach.  For details please contact us.

  • Lost property... can I get it returned?

    Yes, of course.  We hold left items for 28 days.  You will need to complete the form as below.

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