Parents

Acorn Adventure is a well-established, leading provider of Adventure trips for schools, groups and families. With almost 35 years of experience, we have built up an excellent reputation for delivering quality, safe adventure residentials in France, Spain, Italy and the UK. We realise that sending your children on them can be a daunting prospect for parents! So this page is for you, to try and answer some questions that regularly come up from other parents, you’re certainly not alone!

Did you know?
Acorn Adventure also organises Family Adventures for you all to enjoy together. Fantastic family experiences and memories at great prices. Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with all the latest news.

FAQ’s

Q. Will my child need any particular clothing or equipment?
A. We will provide all the specialist equipment necessary for your child to undertake activities. We ensure all of our equipment conforms to the British or European standards. Daily safety and equipment checks are made and recorded at all of our centres. Risk assessments have also been carried out for all activities at our camps. You can download a kit list from this site which identifies clothing that will be required to pack for your child. Please select the camp your child is travelling on this page to find the appropriate kit list. You may not win the argument (!), but we suggest that your child brings old clothes and items that you won’t mind them getting dirty/ damaged. It’s an adventure trip, and they will be getting muddy and wet, as well as staying in a tent or cabins where expensive items cannot always be locked away.


Q. What type of food will be provided?
A. Our number one aim is to deliver healthy and nutritious meals, which will keep children and adults fuelled for the day. A well-balanced diet is essential which is why we make sure our meals consist of fruit, vegetables, starchy foods, dairy products and protein.

• No food is deep-fried, we prefer to grill, roast, poach or bake it!
• Meals are produced using fresh ingredients and minimal salt
• All dietary and allergen requirements can be catered for
• Fresh fruit and water is always available This may vary slightly in Cala Llevado where food is served buffet style in the Spanish run on-site canteen. Here there are several hot options to choose from at dinner time and there is always fruit and veg available as well as soft drinks.


Q. Is previous experience necessary for some of your more specialised activities?
A. No previous experience is necessary. All our staff are fully qualified through UK National Governing Bodies and they will be able to make sure everyone is learning while having loads of fun!


Q: My child can’t swim, can he/she still take part in watersports?
A. Yes, all watersport participants wear buoyancy aids. If your child cannot swim 50m unaided, we do ask to be told this in advance so that our instructors can be made aware and can offer your child additional supervision and support. Please let your teacher or group leader know this before your child travels.


Q. Are all of your staff DBS checked?
A. Yes, all staff working with your child will be DBS checked (Disclosure Barring Service).


Q: It is my child’s birthday whist they are away, can you provide them with a cake?
A. Of course, all we ask is that you let your teacher or group leader know in advance so they can make sure we are aware.


Q: My child recently returned from a trip with Acorn and had a brilliant time. Do you arrange similar trips for families?
A: Absolutely, check out our Family Holidays at www.acornfamilyholidays.co.uk – we offer a 10% discount to those who book a family holiday with us in the same year that their child travelled as a group with Acorn Adventure. This offer is not available online so please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to claim this offer.


Q.I need to withdraw from the trip and have paid a deposit, will I get this back?
A. Once you have paid your deposit, it is unlikely that you will be reimbursed, unless it is reclaimable through your insurance company. Paying a deposit for a trip confirms your child’s place, meaning that plans are put in place, the per person price is set (often based on the group party size) and sometimes other children are turned away because the trip is full. It is therefore important that when paying a deposit, you understand the level of commitment you are making and the knock on effect that changing your mind can have on Party Leaders and the other children. Cancellations, for example, can sometimes mean the price goes up for the remaining participants due to the change in numbers. In some cases, trips have to be cancelled. However, we are aware that sometimes it is necessary for you to cancel your child’s trip due to unforeseen events or commitments. Please speak directly with your Party Leader about your situation or for more information. Our terms and conditions can be found here.


Q. The school/organisation we are travelling with have opted to take out the Fogg insurance policy offered by Acorn. My child has some medical requirements, what do I need to do?
A. You will also need to make sure that the insurance company is contacted and informed of the details to make sure your child is fully covered. The insurance company will need to speak to you directly, to ensure they have all the information they need. Please liaise with the Party Leader of the trip on this and make sure that they are also aware of all the details.


Q. What accreditations do you have?
A. Acorn is a fully accredited company, with an excellent reputation for safety. You can find out more about our accreditations here.


Q. What does our insurance include?
A. If the group your child is travelling with has opted for our insurance, it will cover the following.

What teachers say!

Learning outside the classroom

Acorn Adventure was one of the first providers of outdoor adventure for schools and groups in the UK. Set up by a former teacher in the early 80’s, Acorn originated from the strong belief that learning outside the classroom provides enormous benefits for young people. This came from Andrew Gardiner’s (Acorn’s founder and owner) personal experience of working with children in and outside of the classroom.

Andrew Gardiner writes:

“My experiences working with children as a teacher in the early ‘80s gave me the passion to set up Acorn Adventure.
A key source of inspiration was to give teachers and young people strong foundations for teaching, learning and life. For several years I had taken students camping and trekking in the Welsh countryside, driven by my own love of the outdoors and childhood memories.  I discovered that these trips were enhancing my relationships with students and improving behaviour and learning back at school.  This made my job easier and more enjoyable and I could see that others could also benefit. Today, the great outdoors is widely accepted to offer powerful learning experiences and of course a valuable counterbalance to the gadget culture. I still remember my own childhood where we were sent outside in the morning and were told not to come back until tea time! Now children rarely explore beyond their back gardens, so the experience Acorn offers is even more important that when we began”.

Acorn is a member of the CLOtC (Council for Learning Outside the Classroom) and a LOtC Quality and Adventure Mark holder. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is the national voice for learning outside the classroom. They believe that every young person (0-19yrs) should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances. You can learn more about the CLOtC by visiting their website http://www.lotc.org.uk/ Here is an interesting article from the CLOtC website about the benefits of outdoor learning and its links to Ofsted inspections and personal and social development:

LOtC website article

http://www.lotc.org.uk/why/personal-and-social-development/
In 2015, Ofsted announced that the new common inspection framework would include a judgment on ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’. Learning outside the classroom can offer significant support to schools’ delivery of this area of the framework.

Attitudes and values

  • Talking about an object in a museum, or visiting a place of worship can give insight into issues, other cultures or periods of history
  • Creating your own work of art can give rise to explorations and understandings about the world and our place in it.
  • A visit to a farm can stimulate debate about animal husbandry and food production, and provide a context for designing a Fairtrade enterprise.
  • Adventure education can provide opportunities to show different skills, such as leadership or teamwork.
  • Seeing a play on the stage can bring a text alive and stimulate conversations about the values and actions of the characters.
  • A residential can provide a different setting for conversations about what we believe and what we think is important.

Adventure education enables young people to test themselves in various ways


Confidence and resilience

  • Learning a new skill, such as map-reading or how to look at a painting, builds independence and confidence.
  • Adventure education enables young people to test themselves in various ways and develop new aptitudes and dispositions.
  • For young people with disabilities, a residential trip can foster independence and give them a rare opportunity to build close relationships outside the family.
  • Planning their own experience or activity helps young people to gain confidence in a wide range of project planning skills. It can develop resilience in dealing with conflicting opinions, and in finding solutions to project challenges.

Communication and social skill

  • A drama workshop requires teamwork and helps to strengthen friendship groups.
  • A residential experience enables staff to get to know young people, and young people get to know each other, discovering different aspects of each others’ personalities.
  • An experience, such as visiting a power station, stimulates discussion and encourages young people to share ideas and opinions.
  • A musical performance gives young people a feeling of achievement and a sense of personal success.
  • Young people planning their own programme or activities gives them a voice and choice and ensures their active involvement.
  • Undertaking voluntary work in the community gives young people a sense of making a positive contribution

Knowledge of the world beyond the classroom

  • Young people who live in the country may encounter a town or city for the first time or vice versa.
  • Environmentalists, town planners, artists, curators, scientists, politicians, musicians, dancers and actors can all act as new and powerful role models.
  • Going to an arts venue can encourage young people to try the experience again.
  • Recording the reminiscences of older people gives young people new insight into their community, and brings

Physical development and well-being

  • Visiting a park, field studies centre or making a school garden all provide physical activity and develop an interest in the environment.
  • Participating in recreational activities help to develop physical well-being and the growth of confidence.
  • Many learning outside the classroom activities can also provide attractive alternatives to competitive sports and can lead to a lifelong interest in healthy physical recreation.Emotional, spiritual and moral development
  • An integrated dance workshop with able bodied and disabled participants can help young people empathise and develop awareness of disability.
  • Activities in the natural environment can encourage a feeling of awe and wonder, and an appreciation of silence and solitude.
  • Visiting a place of worship develops an understanding of religion, reflection and spirituality.
  • Engaging young people in conversations about values and beliefs, right and wrong, good and bad supports their moral development.

Acorn Adventure are members of the Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL), an organisation who supports individuals and organisations who use the outdoors to make a difference for others. - See more at: http://www.outdoorlearning.org.

Here is an interesting article about the benefits of outdoor learning. Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL) website article: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/default.aspx?tabid=213

The potential benefits of outdoor learning are so many that they are grouped below in four broad categories: background, planned, bonus and wider benefits. Background benefits of Outdoor Learning are benefits that arise from spending time in the natural environment.

5 key ways in which exposure to the natural environment is beneficial to human health:

  • Enhanced personal and social communication skills
  • Increased physical health
  • Enhanced mental and spiritual health
  • Enhanced spiritual, sensory, and aesthetic awareness
  • The ability to assert personal control and increased sensitivity to one's own well-being.

Source: Health, Well-Being and Open Space, Literature Review by Nina Morris, OPENspace Research Centre, (2003).


Planned benefits of Outdoor Learning are benefits that are determined by or negotiated with, the provider of Outdoor Learning. For example, the City of Salford expects Educational Trips and Visits to help young people to:

  • Develop self-esteem, take personal responsibility, co-operate with and respect the needs of others;
  • Extend their personal horizons through greater appreciation and understanding of the world and its peoples around them;
  • Understand the need for sustainable relationships between people and their environment;
  • Enhance practical problem solving and teamwork skills.
  • Promote a positive and knowledgeable response towards personal health and well-being.

"Educational Trips and Visits are particularly effective when young people engage in well-planned and structured first-hand experiences in small groups, with opportunities to reflect and build upon those experiences".
Source: Educational Trips and Visits, Health and Safety Guidance Notes, City of Salford (Revised 2003)

Bonus benefits of Outdoor Learning arise where participants gain more value than was expected. Such benefits happen more by chance than by design, but they are more likely to happen when there is a highly supportive climate for learning. Wider benefits of Outdoor Learning are benefits to stakeholders such as; families, schools, sponsors, society and future generations (especially in relation to sustainability). Ultimately we are all stakeholders in the success of Outdoor Learning. The more that wider stakeholders are involved, the greater the opportunities for achieving these wider benefits. See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/default.aspx?tabid=213

 


 

Independent schools

Independent schools in particular compliment us on our ethos of real adventure. We aim to offer a wider range of technical activities, facilitated by more experienced instructors than many adventure providers in addition to providing a more adventurous range of accommodation options, from bivouacs and cabins to tents and tipis.

Our tented villages enable groups to really bond as a team as there is free space for fun and games when they are not busy on technical activities, although our instructors usually keep them busy until about 9pm. We also find independent schools share our belief that the students should get involved in some of the camp chores, teaching them valuable life skills and respect for others.

The new Woodland adventure is already getting much interest from prep schools, offering a fun and very different camping experience to the mainstream. Sleeping and dining in giant tipis in a clearing in the woods is simply magical. Even more so when you hear the lions roar from the adjacent West Midlands Safari Park! Despite this being a camping experience, you also benefit from 'glamping' luxuries, such as wood floors, electricity, proper showers and fire pits. Activities range from climbing and orienteering to bushcraft and target sports. Not to mention a day at the safari park.

You’re given a direct number and email of a dedicated contact in the office who will arrange everything for you, including your travel arrangements. During your trip, you’ll have your own Village Manager to take care of your needs and our staff are on duty 24/7 so you can rest easy.

Acorn Adventure is privately owned and was set up by a former English teacher who remains focused on the quality of experience over profit. Families who are paying for school fees need trip costs to be realistic which is why we strive to keep our prices as low as possible.

Download our new brochure!

 

Find out more here!

 

Primary schools

Primary schools have been coming to us for nearly 35 years and keep on coming back because they recognise the tremendous benefits of the whole camping experience, combined with outdoor adventure. Teachers also love the privacy and sense of community within our village camps. And our tents are surprisingly comfortable! Action packed itineraries and activities have been prepared specifically for primary adventure residentials (KS2 pupils) and are run by staff experienced in working with children who may be on their first adventure away from home.

We know some Primary teachers are nervous about taking their class camping but our camps have enough comforts to provide a perfect introduction.  Our standing-height tents have real beds, mattresses and solid floors but retain all the excitement of sleeping under canvas.

New for 2017, we are opening a brand new Woodland Adventure camp in the West Midlands, exclusively for primary schools. This offers each school group of 35 or more use of the whole camp, an exciting onsite woodland activity programme designed specifically for primary KS2 groups and brand new, high-quality tipi accommodation, with fixed toilet/shower facilities close by.

We want to make the whole experience as easy as possible for you and as we were founded and remain owned by a former teacher, you’re never far from our minds. You’re given a direct number and email of a dedicated contact in the office who will arrange everything for you, including your travel arrangements. During your trip, you’ll have your own Village Manager to take care of your needs and our staff are on duty 24/7.

Download our new brochure!



Secondary schools

Secondary school groups tell us what they love most about Acorn’s adventure camps is the challenge and thrill of our wide range of more technical activities combined with the buzz of the ‘village life’ in the private camps. Teachers also like the fact that the groups are kept active until around 9pm every evening providing some valuable down time for marking, calling home or just relaxing.

All activities are facilitated by more experienced, highly qualified instructors who become positive role models for the students, impacting heavily on their engagement, enjoyment and learning outcomes.

We want to make the whole experience as easy as possible for you and as we were founded and remain owned by a former teacher, you’re never far from our minds. You’re given a direct number and email of a dedicated contact in the office who will arrange everything for you, including your travel arrangements. During your trip, you’ll have your own Village Manager to take care of your needs and our staff are on duty 24/7.

As a family run business focussed on the quality of experience over profit, we strive to keep our prices as low as possible so we’re proud to publish them up front. And with prices as low as £49pp (+Vat) for a weekend in the Brecon Beacons, why wouldn’t we be?

Download our new brochure!