Blackland Farm

Where is Blackland Farm

Blackland Farm, Grinstead Lane, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 4HP.

Office Tel: 01342 810493 please note that we aren’t ‘Blackland Farm’ – we are ‘TrekCo’ who have our own facilities at Blackland Farm. The Blackland Farm office may not know which schools are with TrekCo – please call any of the TrekCo numbers first!

Camping

Do teachers have separate tents?

Of course! There is an individual dome tent for each teacher. To ensure we have enough tents ready, call us in advance and give us an idea of how many staff would be staying each night.

Do the tents have groundsheets?

Of course! We don’t supply insulated sleeping mats which you should bring with you, but groundsheets are standard.

How many pupils to a tent?

The average is 6 in a patrol tent. This is enough space, and makes it warmer. We don’t recommend more, although friendship groups could squeeze one in if vital. You may have fewer pupils in a tent; just let us know.

What is the food like and where do we eat?

If you’re camping, you’ll eat at tables and benches inside a large marquee – just your school, not sharing with another group -it’s your own marquee. The food is healthy and produced especially for us by a catering service – so we can choose our own menus. Since Jamie Oliver revitalised thinking about school meals a few years ago, the meals have been very healthy and students often comment that they eat things they wouldn’t eat at home!

The food varies according to the weather and the needs of pupils, but a typical menu can be found by clicking the link below. Please remember that this is typical of the type of food, not an actual menu. The school should request any special diets for individual or groups of pupils with dietary needs – please liaise with parents, as we are unable to discuss personal matters relating to pupils directly with them. Click here for the typical menu (link not present yet)

Do we get all of our meals provided?

Yes, three meals are provided. We ask all schools to bring a packed lunch on their first day as this is the busiest and most subject to timetable changes. Squash and biscuits are available all day, and there are tea and coffee making facilities available to teachers all of the time. For emergency coffee there is a Starbucks 5 minutes’ drive away in East Grinstead.

What happens if the weather is awful?

The weather is rarely as bad as you think. If it does rain for more than a day, we have strategies for ensuring that students keep their kit dry, and many years of experience in this. There is no accommodation in reserve ‘just in case’, but there are contingency plans in case of an emergency to get students inside – for real emergencies only.

Pastoral Responsibility

Who is responsible for the students?

We organise the activities, accommodation and the logistics of a trip. However, we are never in pastoral charge of students – this is entirely your responsibility as you would expect it to be. There is a duty instructor available at all times, but this is to provide emergency cover.

Where do we sleep?

Any indoor accommodation we use has separate staff rooms. When camping, your tents are near to the students but not immediately adjacent. You have individual staff tents (as mentioned above) and these can be placed wherever you prefer.

We have published some helpful notes for teaching staff, especially those who are new to camps. These explain what you should look out for, what to do if you’re new on camp and so on.

Payment/Money

Do we have to pay VAT on your prices?

Yes, we have to add VAT at 20%. In most cases the school can reclaim this so you don’t have to ask pupils to pay it. We just pass this VAT on to HMRC in any case. A very few schools can’t reclaim VAT. This is unusual, but by law we have to charge it, so your prices will be 20% higher.

We have excluded young David Cameron from school the week before the trip – can his money be refunded please?

Sorry, no. This wasn’t our decision, and anyone with a valid reason for withdrawing can claim on the school journey insurance.

Two pupils have dropped out – can their money be refunded please?

Again – sorry, no. Your course agreement says that deposits are non-refundable, and balances are non-refundable after two months before the trip. This is because we have had numbers change so drastically in some cases that we could have accepted other work in that period. This is no different to any holiday company and helps us plan the best course for your pupils.

Are there any extras or hidden costs, entrance fees or anything else?

No – nothing. The cost you agree is that which you pay. We don’t charge for members of staff and don’t set a limit, although about 1:10 is reasonable. We know that there can be many circumstances where extra staff are needed – please call us if you are thinking of bringing more than 1 teacher for 10 students.

What happens if you go bust – will we be stuck?

Your money is safe. We have a Client Account in which all monies are held until the trip is completed. This complies with the EU Directives on Package Travel.

Are you ABTA bonded?

No, this is for travel agents. We comply with the law by using our Client Account (see above).

Paperwork

Our LEA says we must have copies of your ‘Risk Assessment’ – can you send it to us please?

Our Risk Assessment is available on this website – just click here. However, please be sure to read the Important Note on the Risk Assessment page.

We also need your AALA licence and/or Public Liability Insurance

We can’t publish these here for fear of misuse, so please call the office on 01273 487509 and we’ll email these to you straight away. Please note that our insurance renewal date is 1st April every year, so our certificate for that summer isn’t available until just after that date.