A school residential trip is often a highlight of a pupil’s time at school but can also mark the first time a pupil has been away from family and home. At Plas Menai we recognise this can be a daunting prospect for both child and parent and we take responsibility for the welfare of the youngsters in our care very seriously.
It is our responsibility to provide a safe environment in which pupils can have great fun whilst also developing their self-confidence and communication skills. We hope the information below will help to answer any questions or queries you may have, but if you would like to speak directly to one of our team, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
What does my child need to bring?
Your child will need to bring a selection of clothing and footwear for their trip. We have developed a 'What to bring' list that you can download to help you with the packing for your child's trip. We would recommend that if you are undertaking the packing of your child’s things that you include them in this so that they will more easily recognise their own items when they are packing to return home. We also recommend that all your child's clothes and towels are clearly labelled with their name so that we are able to assist with locating any lost clothing.
Does my child need to bring any pocket money?
The Centre has a small range of merchandise available for children to purchase as a memento of their time here with us. Items include mugs, bags, notebooks, scarves, badges and magnets and range in price from 50p up to £10. There are also vending machines around the Centre for soft drinks and snacks. So we would say that between £15- £25 would be sufficient for the visit but we would recommend that you discuss this with your child's group leader prior to the start date of the trip.
Can my child bring valuables?
We recommend limiting the valuables your child brings with them. Your child should not bring any jewellery with them as they will not be able to wear necklaces, rings and any earrings other than studs during each activity for health and safety reasons. We also strongly encourage children to leave handheld games at home as they are coming for a different experience and these can detract from the overall experience of their visit.
We feel that as part of your child's visit they are here to learn how to be independent, but understand many children will arrive with mobile phones. During the day when participating in activities these should be kept in the safe in their room or given to the group leader for safe keeping. Should you need to urgently speak to your child please contact reception on 0300 300 3112 and we will get the message to your child.
Are you able to cater for any special dietary requirements?
Yes, we can cater for almost all dietary requirements provided we are informed in advance. We may require some input from parents for any particularly uncommon requirements or allergies, but we will ensure every child is catered for. A vegetarian option is always provided as a standard option at meal times. Examples of special dietary requirements include, gluten free, dairy free, nuts and halal.
Should you wish to speak to someone at the centre in relation to your child's dietary requirements you can contact our booking officer on 0300 300 3113.
It is my child’s birthday whilst they are away. Can I organise a cake?
Absolutely, provided that we are informed of the birthday prior to the arrival of the group we can arrange for a cake to be provided complete with candles to help ensure that they will have a special day.
My child cannot swim, can he/she still take part?
Funnily enough you don't have to be a strong swimmer, or even a swimmer at all, to enjoy our watersports activities, although it does help to be water confident. We provide buoyancy aids for all our students.
Photography & filming
Photographs and video clips may be taken whilst your child is at the Centre. The photos and videos may appear in our brochures, marketing materials or on our social media. If you do not wish your child to be photographed of filmed please ensure the school is aware of this.
What is included in my course fee?
- Use of all necessary personal protective clothing
- Tuition by fully qualified staff trained to national governing body standards
- All in-course transport; Fuel and marina fees (for cruising courses)
What is not included in my course fee?
- Personal insurance
- Suitable on-water footwear
Do I need to pay upfront?
Yes, all our courses need to be paid for at the time of booking, in order to secure a place on a particular course. Once you have paid for the course 25% of the course fee is classed as the deposit payment.
Will I receive a booking confirmation?
Yes, once your booking has been completed and payment taken, you will receive an automatic booking confirmation email outlining all items purchased. This will also include a links to our Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) and Welcome Notes. If you do not have an email address and have booked over the phone, you booking confirmation will be posted out to you along with a copy of our T&Cs and Welcome Notes.
Can I change my booking?
Yes you can change your booking, but all changes are subject to a £25 administration charge.
How do I book?
You can book your course online via the website, over the phone with a member of our bookings team or in person at the Centre. To book online you will require an email address. If you do not have an email address, please call 0300 300 3113 to book.
Do I need Insurance?
Personal insurance is not included in the course fee. Whilst you are in the best hands at Plas Menai, we strongly advise that you take out additional cover for your own peace of mind and to protect against any monetary loss, should you have to cancel your place on a course for reasons beyond your control.
I need to cancel my course, what should I do?
Is accommodation provided?
Accommodation is not included in the standard course fee. If you would like to stay at the Centre, please ensure you add the accommodation package at the time of booking. If we are full the accommodation package may be displayed on the booking page, but you will not be able to add it to your booking.
What is included in the accommodation package?
- Accommodation in ensuite rooms. Please note towels are NOT provided in the rooms.
- Breakfast, packed lunches and evening meals, however an evening meal is NOT included on Fridays.
- Free use of the fitness room. (You must complete a self-declaration form and hand it into Reception prior to first use)
Will I be sharing a room?
During busy periods there is a possibility you may be required to share a room if booking as an individual. In this case, we only ever put customers who are of the same gender and where possible of similar age and course together. If you do not want to share please add the single room supplement to your booking.
Can I pay a single room supplement?
Yes. The single room supplement is charged at £10pp per night. If you wish to pay this additional supplement, please ensure you add it at the time of booking.
Are there age limits?
- For most of our technical courses you must be at least 16yrs on the date the course starts, unless otherwise stated in the course information.
- For cruising courses you must be at least 18yrs on the date the course starts. However if you are a family/group taking up all spaces on board the minimum age is 10yrs.
- For family and youth activities the minimum age is 8yrs.
How fit do I need to be?
To enjoy your course, you should be confident in water. We don't expect you to swim the Channel, but you will get more out of your course with a reasonable level of general fitness. If you suffer from any form of illness, medical disability or access issues, please advise us when booking. If you suffer from asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, giddy spells, angina, or other heart conditions, you should check with your doctor before making a booking and be in a position to produce a note from your doctor if required.
Can I bring my own equipment?
You are very welcome to bring and use your own equipment whilst at Plas Menai, but please note that you bring and use it at your own risk and we cannot accept any responsibility for any damage or loss to your equipment, howsoever caused. If you require space to store your equipment during your stay, please contact the Centre in advance to confirm space available.
What are your safety procedures?
In addition to enjoyment and learning new skills, safety is of paramount importance on all Plas Menai's courses. Watersports and adventure activities are hazardous by their nature and participants, parents and guardians must accept that there are risks and the inevitable bumps and scrapes which happen during the thrills and spills of fast moving activities.
To manage the risks so far as we are able, Plas Menai has a 'safe system of work'; we only employ qualified experienced staff; we provide a range of quality personal protective and safety equipment for participants' comfort and safety; we provide up-to-date equipment for your course; we teach to national governing body recommendations and guidelines in small groups; we have robust management and safety systems which have been inspected by approved bodies such as AALA, RYA and British Canoeing; we reserve the right to modify or cancel an activity if we feel that there are unmanageable risks
I am not sure which course is the most suitable for me. What should I do?
If after reading the course descriptions, you are still unsure as to which course is the most suitable for you, please contact the Centre to talk to one of our instructors. Our instructors spend most of their time on the water so might not be available immediately, but if you leave a message and your daytime contact details, somebody will call you back to you to discuss it.
Is there any joining information?
General course outlines are published on our website and for the majority of our courses, we do not send out any further information about the course. However for some specialist courses a follow up email will be sent out within 48 hours of booking, containing additional information outlining any pre-course work that should be completed prior to your arrival, or login details for online theory courses.
On completing your booking, you will receive a booking confirmation email which does include links our Welcome guide and our Terms and Conditions.
When should I arrive?
All our courses start at 9.15am. Please ensure you arrive prior to this to allow time to register at Reception. If you have booked an accommodation package, your room will be available from 3pm the day before your course is scheduled to start.
Cruising Courses – These start on Friday evening for weekend courses and Sunday evening for week courses. Please be in Reception by 8pm to meet your Skipper. For courses starting on Sunday evening a meal is included and is served in the dining room between 5.30-7pm.
What should I bring with me?
A recommended list of what to bring with you can be found in our Welcome/Arrival guide on our website and via a link on your booking confirmation email. We do recommend warm clothing, on-water footwear and towels as these are not provided. For those on cruising courses, sailing wellies (not black soled) and a sleeping bag are essential.