Frequently asked questions
What can my child expect to do during the day
It’s impossible to say exactly: we do not run programmed activities and move children from one to the other at set times. In fact that’s the opposite of what we do: we believe that children spend far too much time having their time organised and examined by adults, and that they need time and space to make their own decisions and follow their own interests. We try to give them that (as far as we can). So, we often have plans for a particular day that get quickly abandoned when it becomes clear that the children want to do something different! However, there are a huge number of things that we can do, and they include:
- den building
- assault courses
- rope bridges
- wild art
- fire lighting (on sites that allow it)
- potion making (but not drinking!)
- face painting
- tracking and trailing
- stealth and hiding games
- ninja frisbee
- kite flying
- minibeast hunts
- leaf printing
I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture: the day can go in lots of directions (sometimes more than one at a time!) and it’s that set of possibilities, and the power to decide what happens, that is so empowering for many of the children who come to us. But it does mean I can’t tell you exactly what they’ll be doing on a particular Tuesday in June. Sorry.
Where do you run your activity days?
We have a number of different sites across London and the South East. Click here for the list of locations.
How do I find out what days are available?
Click on the Book Now button on the home page to bring up a list of all the sites. Click on Book Now to the right of the location you are interested in and it will show all the dates we are running on, with the number of spaces left on each day.
How do I make a booking?
The quickest way is to book through our website using the Book Now button on the homepage.
Click on Book Now to the right of the location you are interested in and it will show all the dates we are running on, with the number of spaces left on each day. Select the number of children you want to book in, click on the date you want, then click Continue and follow the instructions.
(Please note: we have moved to a new booking system so the first time you book with us from September 2016 you will need to register as a new customer, even if you have previously booked with us. Sorry for the one-off inconvenience but we are confident you will find future bookings much easier to make with the new system!)
If you have any problems call us on 01483 424 400.
What time does the day start/end?
Depending on the site, the days either start at 10am and finish at 4pm, or start at 10.30am and finish at 4.15pm. When you select a site from the Book Now list the start time will be shown
Can I drop off any earlier as I need to get away?
We cannot accept children any earlier than the stated start time. Our staff will be setting up camp and will not be there to supervise your children before the start time. Also please be aware that all children need to be signed in by the parent/carer with the Site Leader, so you should allow at least 15 minutes for the registration process.
What do I do if I am late arriving in the morning?
If you are running just a few minutes late don’t worry, the group will be at the drop-off point for around half an hour.
However, if you are going to be more than 10 minutes late please call the office number 01483 424 400. If it goes to voicemail, please leave a detailed message. We will do our best to accommodate your late arrival, however if you are more than 25 minutes late we cannot guarantee that someone will be able to meet you.
If you are later than 25 minutes then we can give you instructions to find the group and you will need to walk through the woods to find the group. Please ring 01483 424400 – please bear in mind that head office need to contact the leader to find out where they are. If the leaders are busy with the children they may not answer their phone immediately, so it can take a while for us to get back to you. It’s much easier if you are not late!
What do I do if I get stuck in traffic and running late for pick up?
Please call us on 01483 424 400 to tell us if you will be more than a few minutes late in picking up your child. If you are more than 15 minutes late in collecting your child, without having agreed this with us previously, we will call the emergency contact details you have provided to find out the cause for the delay, and how long it is likely to last. We’ll do our best to contact you and always leave a message if we can. Please note that if you are more than 15 minutes late to pick up you will be charged an additional £15 for every half hour, or part thereof.
While waiting to be collected, we’ll look after your child and give them as much support and reassurance as necessary. Try to keep us informed though – it’s scary for them (and us) if you don’t turn up when we think you should.
How much does a day cost?
Depending on the site, the current cost for a day is £38 or £45. Broadly speaking, sites inside the M25 are £45 and outside the M25 are £38. (We reserve the right to amend the cost at anytime, but once you have booked and paid you will not be subject to an increase for that booking).
Do you take childcare vouchers?
No, sorry we do not accept childcare vouchers.
Do you do group booking discounts?
We do offer discounts, they vary according to which site you are attending.
- For sites outside the M25: on group or multiple bookings of 5 places or more we offer a 5 for 4. discount
- For sites inside the M25: for bookings of 5 or more we offer a discount of 10% for all the booking
In order to qualify for the discount places must be booked in one transaction.
Please note that if you make a multiple booking and qualify for a discount as a result, but subsequently cancel some of the booked places such that your total booking would no longer qualify for the discount, then we will deduct the total value of the discount from your refund, so that you will have paid the full (non-discounted) price for those places remaining.
If you make a group booking for children who are not all your own and therefore benefit from our reduced rates you will be expected to give your contact details and be the point of contact for the entire group of children you book. Parents who prefer to have their specific contact details logged against their child are free to make a separate booking, but they then do not benefit from our group discount unless they are booking sufficient spaces in their own right.
What does my child need to bring?
Please click here for full details on what you need to ensure your child brings with them.
Where do we drop off and collect?
Please click here for details (and maps where appropriate) for each site.
What age children do you take?
Our days are suitable for children from age 5 to 11.
We cannot accept children who have not had their 5th birthday. We are not insured to take children under 5 years. We ask for every child’s age on the booking form and we will not take a booking for a child under 5 years. If we discover on the day that a child under 5 has been booked in on the pretence that they were already 5 years old, we will insist that they are collected immediately and no refund or credit will be given.
Do you take children with special needs / disabilities / learning difficulties / behavioural issues?
If you have a child with special needs and you would like him or her to attend then please call us before booking on 01483 424 400. We will be happy to talk to you about your child’s needs and how we can help. If we can possibly accept them, then we will. There is more about our criteria for accepting children with special needs here.
However, our sessions are not suitable for every type of special need. We work outdoors, in woodland settings, with few or no physical boundaries, and our days are physically strenuous. Additionally, we encourage a fluid, child-led approach to activities, which can result in plans changing with very little notice if the group decides it wants to do something new. Finally, we have large(ish) groups of children (up to 30), who may all be strangers at the beginning of the day.
Do you cancel if it rains?
The Scandinavians have it right: “No such thing as bad weather,” they say, “only the wrong clothes.” We insist that your child brings waterproof trousers and coat if there is the chance of rain, and we will carry on unless the weather turns extreme.
Courses will not run if the Met Office weather forecast shows a predicted wind speed (gust or continual speed) of 42mph or above for any part of the day, or if heavy snow is forecast. In these circumstances we will make a decision to cancel by 4pm on the previous day. We will inform parents/guardians by email and text using the information you supply at booking. We will also put a note on the home page of our website. If we cancel because of adverse weather you will be offered a day in lieu.
If unpredicted high winds, lightning, heavy snow or the likelihood of them develops over one of our sites during a session then we will evacuate the site immediately. In that instance we will contact you via the emergency numbers you give at booking and ask you to arrange to collect your child from the drop-off point. We do not offer refunds or days in lieu for cancellations due to lightning/high winds developing during the day.
What do you do about the toilet?
On most of our sites we use a drop toilet, with a toilet tent for privacy. The childen are shown the toilet and told how to use it, and there is help available if they need it (usually they don’t). It’s surprising how often the toilet features in the highlights of the day!
What about hand washing?
We have clean cold (sorry!) water plus clinical-grade antibacterial handwash and a towel for drying hands. Children wash their hands after using the toilet and before meals. Apart from that we encourage a little healthy dirt.
What if I need to cancel the booking?
If you cancel your booking more than 21 days before you’re due to come to us, then we’ll either refund your money or offer you a credit note. Cancellations made with 21 days’ or less notice but more than 7 days’ notice will qualify for a credit note for a day in lieu.
If you need to cancel because of illness then see below .
What if my child is ill on the day?
Please ensure that your child is well enough to come to our activities. In particular if your child has a fever or has suffered from vomiting or diarrhoea within 48 hours then please tell us and remove your child from the day. In these circumstances we will offer you another date in lieu, provided you inform us before 8.00 am on the day they are due to attend. You can let us know about an ill child by calling the office number 01483 424 400 and either speaking to someone or leaving a voicemail, or by email. If your child becomes ill with any of these symptoms during a session we’ll contact you and we’ll expect you to make arrangements to take them home. We do not offer refunds in the case of illness during the day.
Do you do birthday parties?
Do you run Saturday clubs?
Not at the moment. We tried it and it didn’t work for us.
Do you do work with schools?
Yes we do work with schools, both on their premises or on our sites. We can do one off days, a week at a time, or one day a week for a term (or longer). For more information, please email info or ring 01483 424 400.
Do you do after-school clubs?
No we don’t do after school clubs, sorry.
What qualifications do your staff have?
All staff are Enhanced DBS-checked. Site Leaders all have Forest School L3 qualifications or equivalent, and many years’ experience of working with children in the outdoors. All our Site Leaders also have a specialist outdoor First Aid qualification.
What is the adult to child ratio?
We always operate with a minimum of two staff and an adult:child ratio of 1:8 maximum. It is often more adults with fewer children than this.