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What's happened to exchanges?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by musiclover1, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Is it true that exchanges have died out because child protection issues and because pupils aren't allowed to miss lessons to travel to a foreign country?
    My current school is the first one I've worked in that doesn't have an exchange, and I think it hugely affects motivation. But I've also been told that pupils don't want exchanges because they don't want to host.
    There are many trips, but they're really expensive compared to exchanges. I've been told that if I want to run an exchange it has to run during the holidays.
     
  2. castellano7

    castellano7 New commenter

    Hi,
    I'm a NQT and I received the same answer when I mentioned an exchange- too difficult to organise due to child protection issues and families here unwilling to host. I agree as well that other trips are very expensive, an exchange is much cheaper and in my opinion the kids get so much more out of it, linguistically and culturally. It's a great shame, but I'm not sure what the answer is.
     
  3. These things take quite a while to establish - sometimes years - but the effort is worth it. We currently run three exchanges a year (1 for each language, and approximately 30 pupils involved in each one). They are invaluable in sparking interest and letting the pupils see that what happens inside the classroom actually has a real context.
     
  4. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Glad to hear some schools still do exchanges. How many days of school are pupils allowed to miss?
     
  5. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    If a teacher can't be in front of a class of pupils without an enhanced CRB, it is nonsensical to be sending pupils to live with families abroad when they might be alone with a predatory adult.
    Equally, hosting foreign children in some UK homes, without enhanced CRBs for all the adults in the household could be problematic.
    The costs involved can be a deal-breaker and applications for the CRBs need to be completed well in advance.
    CRBs are only ever conducted on adults but I know of KS4 pupils who cannot be left alone with female pupils so there is the added issue of suspect children in some homes.
    I wouldn't touch an exchange trip with a bargepole for pupils under 16yrs and I'd be reluctant to take responsibility with some older pupils.
     
  6. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    with Rarely Cover, we are only to go away if we factot the cost of supply teachers into the costof the trip, making it prohibitively expensive unless we are prepared to give up our holidays/weekends (and, no, we are not allowed to do a mix and match either!)
     
  7. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    That was the case at many schools before rarely Cover too. School trips are expensive becasue the pupils pay for the accommodation and travel of the supervising staff and for the costs of the CS or teachers brought in to cover the supervising teachers' timetables.
    I don't think that Rarely Cover should be given as the excuse. When staff did cover for colleagues it was for a maximum of 38 Directed Time hours per year. With rarely Cover, those permanent teachers have one extra timetabled lesson per week instead, saving the school on costs for contract teachers. They then employ contract CS, whose use when teachers are out of school is not an added expense on the school's budget.
    The widespread use of supply CS instead of supply teachers has seen schools' extra staffing costs fall, I suspect, compared with pre- Rarely Cover, when qualified staff covered for all absent teachers.
     
  8. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I'm assuming that 'Rarely Cover' refers to the rule that states that teachers aren't supposed to cover for absent colleagues?
    I've never heard of pupils paying for cover teachers before. (I used to organise my school's 6th form exchange in the 90's and we spent a week in Germany, travelling on trains and buses. We took around 15 pupils and 2 members of staff, during term time).
     
  9. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    What does 'do a mix and match' mean?
     
  10. lifereallyistooshort

    lifereallyistooshort New commenter

    We have well-supported exchanges at our school. The unwritten rule seems to be that we can take one week of term time for each. I would say that they represent tremendous value for money for pupils and their families and a great learning experience, culturally as well as linguistically.
     
  11. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    sorry - take 2 days from term and 2 from holidays, say - it still is not sanctioned by SLT/.
    I agree that it is wrong. For this reason my Dept is refusing to any trip, even a day to Boulogne as the Spanish half of the year cannot do anything similar.
    We just want permission back to take school days off without having to add £250 per day per teacher.
     
  12. We have just set up an exchange with a German school and hosted 12 lovely pupils. I had to twist arms to take the pupils and only have a small amount of pupils who wish to make a return visit.
    In our school there are so many lovely trips abroad to New York, California, skiing in exotic locations etc... Many pupils just do not like the thought of staying in some one else's house and in our case they have already met the pupils they would be staying with.
    Our exchange has become expensive in case someone drops out and it is the norm that trip costs include the cost of supply cover. Ours will not this year due to the timing of the return visit which will involve us being out of school for five days. This is due to the fact that we will have two year groups out of school at this time, one year group on work placement and another doing activities elsewhere.
    I personally think it is ridiculous to expect an exchange trip to happen exclusively during the holidays. Surely its first-hand educational value far outweighs anything else?
     
  13. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    How many "predatory adults" do you think are out there? I have done exchanges for over 25 years. Never an issue with child protection. CRB checks are no guarantee of future behaviour anyway. We need to be realistic here, surely.
     
  14. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Yes. They are good value because of the reciprocal nature of exchanges. our school has always compromised on term time verssu holidays, though I have personally never objected to using holiday time. Less hassle setting work and the exchange feels a bit like a holiday anyway. We do not include cover in the cost, but only take one teacher, using other family members or assistants to help.
     
  15. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    So, 'lifereallyistooshort', how much do your exchanges cost?
    To summarise, it seems that there still are exchanges, but that there are few, and that one has to be lucky to get back-up from SMT.
    My main obstacle to organising an exchange (apart from everything else), is that I have three children who I can't easily leave on their own that long. I was thinking of taking my youngest on the exchange, (and run the exchange so that I can then stay with my parents in Germany and leave him there during the day), but I don't know if that's a silly idea. I went on an exchange as an NQT and one of my colleagues brought his wife and baby along, but I'm not sure whether the wife counted as a member of staff.
     
  16. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    How many predatory teachers do you think are out there? However small a number, we still require checks on all teachers before employing them and they deal with children in classroom situations, not on a possible 1:1 with them in an unknown house where the adults speak a foreign language and the child is surely more vulnerable?
    Social Services wouldn't place children in foster care without checking out all the adults in the house.
    My children (yeras ago) stayed abroad with a family that I know and went on school trips abroad staying in hotels/hostels. I wouldn't have wanted them staying with an unknown family after being party to all sorts of unsavoury information about supposedly upstanding members of the community when I worked for Social Services Family Services.
     
  17. lifereallyistooshort

    lifereallyistooshort New commenter

    Cost? Varies a bit, depending on number of participants and destination but generally about £300 - £350 per pupil all inclusive.
     
  18. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    You will need to be careful when taking family members along with you. We have just received new instructions that if a family member comes along, then you can no longer "count" as a member of staff in the official ratio (the argument being that in a case of emergency your "parent/partner" responsibility would take over from your teacher one - silly, I know!).
    Exchanges can take a very long time to set up. I've been setting things up with our twin town for almost 18 months and we are still nowhere near having something set up. The main issue is getting enough of our pupils to agree to go along. I'm not sure where I stand on that actually: do I push for an exchange (more beneficial from a language point of view) where only 10 pupils want to go or for a study trip (less beneficial) where I can take 30+ students? I'd say if you are setting up something new, why not go for an easier trip, organised by an educational agency, to gauge interest, and then once you have created momentum you could look at an exchange in the same region.
     
  19. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you for the information, noemie. Yes, it takes a long time to set anything up. At my old school I set up a 6th form exchange with the school of our language assistant - but it was a very small exchange, just for the year 12 - and they'd already had positive experiences with a middle school exchange. The reason for it was to give the Year 12 a different experience, in a different part of Germany - something tailored to their needs. But it folded after I left (after 3 successful runs), mainly because the German school couldn't really be bothered to go through all that effort just for 15 or so pupils.
    In terms of getting them to go, it was more or less understood that if they chose A-level they'd be motivated enough to go. Still, one or two did choose not to, and my HOD was not impressed. Getting them to host was more of a problem than getting them to go.
    I've got a year 12 at the moment, some of whom have never been to Germany, and only one out of 8 has signed up for an (admittedly very expensive) study trip organised by a colleague. I doubt they'd come if I offered them an exchange.
    I think doing a trip first - with more pupils - is a good idea. The main thing is to get as many pupils as possible to go to Germany, and then to go from there.
     
  20. I think that the twining movement used to be much more influential. In my first 2 jobs I worked in areas where there was a very strong link between the council/ county council and an area of France. The schools were allocated a twin school and we went from there. It was also common for other groups to do exchanges e.g. police, firemen, pensioners.
    Families were quite used to the idea of hosting as it was not just confined to school age students. It also had the advantage that we could coordinate visits with other local schools. This made it possible to fill a coach and keep down the travel costs. It also cut down on staffing as not every school had to send a male and a female staff member.
    I don't know what has happened to the twining movement. Has it died the death?
     

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