Ski Case Study
Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College, Basingstoke
Wagrain, Austria - February half term, 2012
Party Leader, Andy Kimber (PE Teacher and School Sports Coordinator) from Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College, Basingstoke, has been taking groups to the slopes with PGL since 2004.
Andy, a dedicated ski enthusiast, believes that the ski experience is unique on so many levels that he offers the trip to Years 8-11 every year and this year was accompanied by three like-minded staff from the PE and Art departments.
What did you want to do? Why take your school group skiing?
"Like most teachers, we are always looking for new experiences which take our students out of their natural environment and challenge them in new ways that they wouldn’t necessarily experience at home. When some of our students have some behaviour issues in school it makes it all the more challenging."
What did you do?
"We know from personal experience that the ski experience ticks so many boxes. It’s not just learning a demanding new physical skill, but also operating in a new, snowy and cold environment; doing things for themselves such as being responsible for and putting on their own equipment correctly ; making sure they have everything they need for the day on the slopes and, ultimately, building a sense of achievement, confidence and aspiration both individually and as a group as everyone demonstrates significant progress in a new skill by the end of the week. Many children do not have this specific opportunity with their own family."
"With rising fuel costs and exchange rates it is getting more and more difficult to fill a coach. This year is the second year that we are sharing a coach with another school – previously we filled the coach easily. 'Twinning' means we can still get our group to the slopes and we shared with a like minded school. The teachers and children from both schools got on well, and sharing a rep, a hotel as well as ski instructors keeps it very straightforward."
"We really like Wagrain as it offers plenty of opportunity for each ability group – we had ten who had never skied before, four beginners, four intermediates and two advanced. We shared instructors with our twinned group who had a similar spread of ability levels."
What else supported the success of the trip?
"As I qualified as an Alpine Ski Course Leader (ASCL) through PGL a few years ago, I was able to offer additional ski time to the small advanced group during lunch time at the beginning of the week and eventually to all by the end as they made good progress. This enabled them to maximize their time on the mountain."
"Every year I find PGL offers the best value – having our own PGL rep is priceless. I always ask for a hotel as close to the slopes as possible and a large ski area while still keeping costs low so it is affordable for as many children as possible. I have found that PGL are always competitive with pricing and this is one of the reasons for continuous bookings and loyalty."
"We maximize the experience for our group by organizing a variety of evening entertainments for them during the week. Après Ski activities at Wagrain included a visit to an amazing water park, a bowling and sports night in the hotel sports hall, a shopping night and finally a presentation night to hand out our skiers and boarders of the week awards. All these activities were either pre-booked by PGL head office or coordinated by our rep - one less thing for us to do."
What difference does the trip make to your group?
"I took some students who had some issues with behaviour at school. Whilst away they were perfect and I believe that this experience was a positive activity for them and us as relationships developed outside of the classroom and have continued in a positive manner upon returning home. The skiing experience itself was confidence-building and created a challenge that many, across all abilities, overcame. I also used the prospect of this trip as a way of focusing some pupils to display positive behavior throughout the year. This was a strategy that proved successful. They all came with us, with no ill effects and they have all loved and thrived on the experience. Now we are back at school, the group will be doing a presentation in assembly which means I’ll have next year’s hopefuls knocking at my door very soon – I hope!"