March 2017 Feedback Here is a collection of feedback we have received for March 2017. Another successful month! Helen Newton – Shirebrook Academy ..
Making a booking
Please click here to make an enquiry about a booking.
Our services are very popular and during busy times of the year, you may need to book a few months in advance to secure the date you want. To ensure you get the date you want, we are happy to provisionally book your school in and hold the date until you have made a decision (dates will be held up to 1 month for quiet periods and 2 weeks for busy periods). It is therefore essential that once you have made a decision, you contact us as soon as possible so we can secure your booking. Once your booking is secure you will receive a booking form as confirmation.
However we will always try our best to fit you in on the day you require or as close as possible to this date.
Please also remember that we are only able to offer this service because the places we visit are willing to open themselves to us in the best interest of community understanding. We are very grateful for this cooperation and it has benefited tens of thousands of pupils over the last 30 years. We do not want to jeopardise the excellent relationships we have built up with the places of worship we use.
Minimum Group Size
Our minimum group size (to make our work financially viable) is 25, although we can cater for smaller groups so please
Contact us if your group will be smaller than this.
Special Schools or Information on Supporting Children with Special Needs
Since the Open Centre has been around for the last 30 years, we are therefore very experienced with supporting Special Schools or children with Special Educational Needs. As a result, when making a booking please state the types of needs your pupils may have so we can create a specially tailored experience for you and your pupils to ensure everyone has the best experience possible.
Important Notes for Schools Visiting by Coach
- Please tell coach drivers to drop off on Pear Tree road outside Pear Tree Baptist Church. Please see the address on our contacts page.
- If you are visiting more than one place of worship, please arrange with your coach company to go first to the Open Centre (Pear Tree Road) so that pupils may drop off bags etc especially as food other than what comes from the places of worships kitchen is not allowed in the places of worship. Pupils will then walk to all places of worship from here and then walk back to the Open Centre to collect any belongings.
- As Normanton is a busy area, there are limited suitable places for coaches to park up. We therefore recommend coaches park up at Pride Park (DE24 8XL), especially if you are visiting for more than a couple of hours. We can advise drivers of this upon your arrival. It is recommended that schools get the phone number of their coach driver in case you need to contact them to amend any timings.
Support for Schools
At the Open Centre, we want to ensure that all visitors have the best experience as possible as a result, when you make a booking you will be sent detailed information regarding your visit.
Health and Safety is very important to us so as part of your booking you will be sent all appropriate risk assessments, that have been carried out based on our premises, places of worships and all our activities. However please note – these risk assessments cover general risks that apply to the majority of visitors to the Open Centre and is only a guide. Schools and organisations should carry out additional risk assessments of their own to ensure specific needs are accounted for regarding visitors.
Letters to Parents/Carers
If you would like any help with what to send out to parents, in your letter for the trip, please download our Template Letter for Schools which you can edit and amend based on your trip. We recommend sending out trip letters at least 4 weeks in advance.
Some schools are finding that some parents have reservations about their child becoming involved in activities concerning other cultures. If this is the case for you, the Open Centre has created a leaflet with a step by step guide on how to help you with situations such as this. Please email Sam Mitchell, Manager, on email@example.com for this support guide.
Local Education Authorities for Religious Education Advisors Recommend
LEA RE Advisors recommend that all organisations/schools use the Open Centre to book visits. All our visits are led by our trained and DBS certified staff, who are also members of the local community – they know how to present appropriate information in a sympathetic manner which can be appreciated by all visitors. The Open Centre also carries out detailed risk assessments for each place of worship which is sent to all organisations/schools when they make a booking.
Warning about Booking Direct with Places of Worship
We (and all LEA RE advisors) strongly advise you against making a direct booking with a place of worship.
We have had unfortunate reports of inappropriate language and material being used with groups in some places of worship where schools have not booked through the Open Centre, as these visits can be led by anyone that may or may not have been trained or DBS checked.