Frequently Asked Questions
Wondering how to make a booking, what we need for the day and whether we come to your area? You are not alone — we are happy to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
- What do you need for the day?
- How many staff will you bring?
- Why do you need so many adults on the day?
- Why doesn’t Off the Page provide the food requested?
- Can we do the day in classrooms?
- Do you offer half-day workshops?
- What should we wear?
- How can I make a booking?
- Can I make a provisional booking?
- Why can’t I see your prices online?
- Is there a deposit? When do we pay?
- Why should I choose Off the Page instead of a field trip?
- Do you travel to my area?
- Can you change the day to better suit my topic?
- What is your cancellation policy?
What do you need for the day?
Depending on the type of day you have requested, we ask each school to provide a few things:
- A certain number of adults to help supervise the day? (Usually between 6 and 12, depending on the size of your group.)
- A certain number of tables (again, this depends on the size of your group).
- Use of the hall for the day (it is not a problem, however, if it is needed for lunch).
- A meagre amount of food for the afternoon (this does not need to be much, as the children will have already eaten. It is usually just bread and cheese in bite-sized pieces, plus a bit of squash, to help set the scene).
We also encourage the children to wear costumes.
More information about each of the above can be found on your booking form and in your information booklet, which should both arrive a few weeks before your booking day.
How many staff will you bring?
One Teacher will come to lead the day. He or she will work with your teachers and other adults you provide to make the day happen.
Why do you need so many adults on the day?
Much like a field trip, we need adults to help supervise small groups of children. In our case, each adult will oversee one of the work stations that we bring on the day. We have found that groups of no more than eight children are best — in part to ensure each child gets the help they need to enhance their learning, and in part so the participating adults do not become overwhelmed. There is also an element of health and safety, as there are crafting tools on the tables which require close supervision. So the more adults, the better.
Why doesn’t Off the Page provide the food requested?
There are two reasons: We do not have the licensing to be a food provider, and we could not hope to know your children’s allergies and dietary intolerances as well as you do. For those reasons, we ask the school to provide any food needed on the day. But we must stress that it is a meagre amount of food — too much, and serving/eating takes over the afternoon. We recommend one roll/piece of bread for every 2-3 children, plus cubes of cheese and a bit of squash. Finger fruits such as sliced apples or grapes are lovely if the budget stretches that far, but they are not necessary. We also recommend that you prepare the food in advance as the day is very busy and there may not be time otherwise.
If you have any food concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Can we do the day in classrooms?
Regrettably, no. We ask to use your school hall for the day rather than classrooms.
Our days are active and free-flowing — the children are allowed to move between activities as they please, and some may be given tasks by our Teacher that require traveling around the room, too. Even for a group of 30 children, that entails all the children, 6 adults and our Teacher trying to move around 10 tables. It requires a lot of space to move.
In a classroom, there may be filing cabinets, desks, storage cabinets and other ephemera that take up space. It is best to be in the hall, where the space is clearer.
There is also an element of health and safety to be considered. With so many people in a room, there needs to be adequate space to move and escape routes in case of a fire. We find school halls are better equipped for such considerations.
We recognise that there is a lot of pressure on halls, especially at certain times of year. And some schools may be in converted buildings that do not have proper halls. We do our best to work with each school individually — some have us visit their local sports hall, village hall or church rather than come to the school — but our default answer will always be that we need the hall.
Do you offer half-day workshops?
No — all of our days are full-day experiences. Our days are built around a narrative, with the afternoon activities reinforcing the morning’s learning. So half-day workshops are not feasible.
What should we wear?
We encourage the children to dress in simple costumes to help them get into the spirit of the day. They need not be super fancy — often an oversized T-shirt can go a long way. Costume ideas can be found in the information booklet that will arrive shortly before our visit, or parents can visit our sister site, History Off the Peg, to purchase costumes.
Incidentally, the adults are welcome to wear costumes, too, if they choose to.
How can I make a booking?
We thought you would never ask! You are welcome to use our Contact Form, e-mail us or call us directly at 01954 212281. It is tricky to coordinate multiple Teachers and multiple kits going to multiple places, so it is our office staff, not an automated system, that makes the booking for you. We will work the best we can with your diary dates to find a suitable date for you. (It is best to book early to avoid disappointment.)
Can I make a provisional booking?
Of course! We are happy to “pencil” a date into our diary for you while you get permission from your head teacher or seek support from your parents. There is no obligation as long as the booking is provisional. But we do ask that you let us know as quickly as possible if the day is not going ahead, so that we may offer the date to another school. If we have not heard from you one month before the day, we reserve the right to cancel the booking.
Why can’t I see your prices online?
Our prices vary based on the size of your group and how far we need to travel to reach you. We find it is much easier to take your particulars and offer a bespoke costing rather than try to offer a one-size-fits-all approach. Please feel free to contact us via our Contact Form, e-mail or at 01954 212281 to receive your quote.
Is there a deposit? When do we pay?
We do not ask a deposit, and you do not have to pay in advance. The school is always welcome to pay in advance by BACS if it chooses to, but we simply ask for payment on the day. Payment details can be found on your invoice.
Why should I choose Off the Page instead of a field trip?
We offer convenience, engagement and value for money. Consider what goes into your average field trip — booking the coach, travelling a long distance, having only a few hours at a site where the children will likely be jostling with the general public to see things, then travelling back.
We come to you, so there is no costly coach. We are ready to start with the children by 9.15 am, and they have the full day to engage with the topic in-depth while having fun. It all happens in your school hall, so there is no need to travel, no need to jostle with the crowds.
Do you travel to my area?
More than likely, yes. Our teachers travel anywhere between Brighton and Liverpool, between Bristol and Margate, and a few places on the continent, to boot! But our home areas are Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire — anywhere very far from our offices will incur increased mileage costs, as well as a fee to cover a night or two in a bed and breakfast.
Please note that there is great demand for our teachers to travel long distances, and we have to plan such trips carefully to ensure our Teachers are not overstretched. We are happy to help find dates for your trip, but there is a limited number of long-distance trips we can make each term.
Can you change the day to better suit my topic?
It depends. If it is something simple, such as referring to children as Celts during a Life in Roman Britain Day, then our Teachers may be able to help. But we are unable to offer bespoke days, or make major modifications to our existing days (such as turning a Life in Tudor England Day into an Elizabethan Day, for instance.)
Many hours go into researching and creating our days, but it is not feasible to put that much time and effort into a one-off event. Bespoke days regrettably are not cost effective for us.
What is your cancellation policy?
Sometimes, despite best-laid plans, life gets in the way. We do understand that cancellations sometimes happen.
If you are able to cancel about a month or more before your scheduled visit, we do not ask a cancellation fee. This is because there should be enough time for us to offer your date to another school.
Once we get within about three weeks of your scheduled visit, however, we do start to request a cancellation fee. The fee is a percentage of the base fee you were quoted. For bookings received after 1st January 2020, the schedule of fees is as follows:
- More than 14 working days before our visit: 10% of fee
- 5-14 working days before our visit: 50% of fee
- Less than 4 working days before our visit: 100% of fee
To clarify, the cancellation fee is a percentage of only your base fee. It does not include materials or mileage costs, as we have not used them. For an average-sized group of 60 children, the base fee in 2019-20 is £440.00. Therefore the cancellation fee would range from £44.00 up to £440.00, depending on when you cancel.