Information – Spring 2016 Placements
The dates, inclusive of all travel, are Friday 8 January – Friday 25 March 2016 and the Cumbria half-term dates are 12 February – 22 February 2016.
Please note, a number of different areas in both Northern England and Scotland are involved in our placements and some, if not all, may have slightly different half-term dates.
What to do as soon as you hear about your host family and school
1. Contact your school
Please see details on the placements list for contacting your new school and have a good look on their website. It is important that you contact your school immediately, using the contact details provided as there are now only days remaining before schools close for their Christmas break. It is important to introduce yourself to them and to check if they have a school uniform, which you may need to purchase when you arrive.
Over-sixteen subject choices
aged over sixteen will go into the sixth form of their school. Subjects in the sixth form are usually divided into teaching blocks, which means that certain subjects are taught at the same time as each other. Normally there are four or five blocks on offer (these should be on the school’s website) and you can choose only one subject from each block. Usually, visiting students are asked to choose a maximum of three or four subjects. You should email your school (or write to them if email is not available), introduce yourself and give five or six subject choices in order of preference – the ones you would most like to take and some others in case you cannot take the subjects you would like to. (It is important to give more choices than you need as some subjects may be full.) You must let the school have some idea of what you would like to study, as some of the options available will be different from those offered by your German school.
Under-sixteen subject choices
anyone under 16 will go into a non-sixth form class and take normal lessons alongside British pupils of the same age. In this case, you do not need to tell the school what subjects you wish to take, these will be discussed with you once you arrive. However, look at the school website and get some idea of what they offer so you will know what to ask for.
school is different. Some are very strict about the need to buy and wear uniforms and some are not: some require uniforms for all pupils and some only for pupils under 16. It is important that you ask your school as soon as possible exactly what uniform you must buy. You should also bring with you a white shirt or shirt-style blouse, a pair of black trousers or a black skirt and black shoes to wear until you can purchase any uniform you need in the UK.
2. Contact your host family
Although your host family already has a copy of your application form and the letter you wrote to them, it is still a good idea to try to give them a call or send them an email to say ‘hello’ and to get to know them a little before you arrive in the UK.
Further Information on Sixth Form Study
Sixth form timetables are similar to those at universities, you will have some lessons that you must attend and a number of what seem to be ‘free’ periods. These are not really free however, they are for personal study and pupils are expected to use them to do their own work in the library, the sixth form common room or using the school internet system. You must stay in school during these ‘free’ periods; don’t be tempted to leave school or go back to your host family. (Some other pupils may do this but it is discouraged and it will give the school a bad opinion of you and of German students in general if you do so.) As well as studying, you can also use the time in school to get to know other students, to become familiar with the everyday English that other students use when talking among themselves, for music or sports practice or to explore the background to your studies, e.g. reading other books by the authors you are studying in English lessons, or asking other students about what they have learnt in previous years.
Arrival in the UK
The group will be met by Mike & Fran at Manchester Airport, and then transferred by coach to Ambleside Youth Hostel, or another similar Lake District Hostel for an overnight stay. Occasionally, for some placements, it may be necessary for some students to be delivered directly to their families. When arriving at Manchester Airport, the Meeting Point is directly in front of the exit from the baggage area (see photo)
Wait here, to meet Mike and Fran, do not go outside. Ambleside is approximately 1.5 hrs by road from Manchester.
All bedding is supplied at the Hostel and you will be given an evening meal, breakfast next morning and a packed lunch. Large bags can be locked away at the Hostel so it is best to bring your wash bag, a towel (not provided) and a change of clothes with you in a small separate bag. This way, you do not have to carry your large bag up and down stairs with you.
Next day, everyone will be delivered directly to their host families by mini-bus but please note that the area covered by our programme is quite large, (see the map on our website) so this may take most of the day for some people. A schedule for all deliveries to host families can be downloaded here.
You will then be expected to start your school placement on Monday 12th and your host family will explain how to get to and from school and anything else that you need.
During your placement
Hundreds of German youngsters have now passed through our programme with very few difficulties or concerns but if you are worried or unhappy about anything connected to your placement it is important to let Mike or Fran know about this as soon as possible. All contact details are shown on the website and on various forms so please either ring, text or e-mail at any time and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Mike is in regular contact with your school, host family and the BJR and can easily contact your parent too, if necessary, so don’t worry or try to sort things out yourself, we understand UK systems and schools much better than you do.
Your host family are also available for any help or advice so don’t be afraid to ask. You will also find that you will be given a particular teacher in school to meet with regularly and he or she will also take an interest in all aspects of your placement and let us know if they have any concerns.