Now, more than ever before, we recognise the critical importance of schools and teachers in helping to shape our young people. Academically, yes absolutely. But also, in terms of offering invaluable extra-curricular opportunities. All to ensure students become well-rounded and confident individuals.
Over the past 18 months, schools, teachers and students have been put under immense pressure to perform and carry on in extraordinary circumstances. But with all this going on, we at Rayburn Tours are still working with dedicated teachers who are going above and beyond: putting plans in place for their students to experience the world outside of the classroom (and homes); giving them a taste of the ‘real world’, an opportunity to explore new and exciting places, experience different cultures, find out more about themselves and have fun.
One thing is certain, schools and teachers want the very best for their students. And we thank you for that!
More House School
One such school which puts the needs of each individual student at the forefront of what they do, is More House School in Farnham. More House is an independent boarding and day school, recognised internationally as a centre of excellence in supporting boys aged eight to 18 to transform their futures and overcome the barriers posed by Specific Learning Difficulties, Developmental Language Disorders and associated SEND conditions, by empowering them. The school truly affords an environment in which its children and young people are enabled to thrive.
While the school places a strong emphasis on academic learning for the boys, extra-curricular activities and learning outside of the classroom also plays a significant role in their education. Each year the school runs a number of trips for students, but for the very first time More House School is taking the leap and embarking on its first international football tour. And we’re delighted that Rayburn Tours have been chosen to help arrange this special trip. Originally planned for 2020, due to global events (need we say more?) the trip is now due to take place in October this year to the Netherlands.
Sport for all ethos
In the Physical Education department, there is a strong philosophy that all boys should be catered for as individuals. Embracing the sport for all ethos, every student is encouraged to take part in a wide range of sporting activities. From football to frisbee, whatever level of capability the student possesses there is a sport activity of some kind that will enable them to enjoy themselves in an active way. The school participates in local leagues and enters many local, district and national competitions: hosting and having been regular winners of the National Dyslexic U13 Football Tournament since 2000. From September, the school will also be linking with Chelsea Football Club in an exciting project, with a view to becoming their next champion school.
Sitting down with Andy Williamson, PE Teacher at More House
We chatted with Physical Education Teacher at More House and tour leader, Andy Williamson, along with two students to find out more about the school’s sports tour plans.
Clearly, there is a great deal of anticipation and excitement for the forthcoming trip. Having been delayed until October this year, understandably Andy, his fellow teaching staff and the students taking part in the tour, are eager to get to The Netherlands, where they’ll be playing two fixtures, training at AZ Alkmaar, visiting Ajax stadium and spending time in Amsterdam.
Speaking to Archie and James, who will be taking part in the trip, when asked what they’re looking forward to most, it’s quite simple:
“Probably just playing the football to be honest. It’s my main hobby and I just love playing football. I’m very excited about it and just can’t wait for it to happen.”
“Spending time with my friends doing something we all like to do. Having the opportunity to play as a team, not only against people we play all the time, but against other people we’ve never met before. I’m quite excited for the tour overall because I hope it will be a lot of fun.”
Andy elaborates on what he hopes the trip will achieve:
“It’s like any trip that we do, it’s creating memories. I tend to like trips as a way of learning more about the pupils, seeing them in a different light. And they gain an awful lot from seeing teachers in a different light too. We have a little bit more freedom, we can be more ourselves. That’s what the boys like. They see Sir as being human, in some ways. Continuing to build the bond with a pupil and them having that memory. Getting the boys talking, and learning, that’s the ultimate I think. They come back thinking, ‘I’ve done something different’. And they’ve done it with their friends. Friendships can continue to be built upon on those trips.”
Support from parents
Of course, the school needs the support of parents to get a trip off the ground and in the current climate Andy has witnessed only positivity and support from the parents throughout organising the trip. When the trip was launched back in 2019, 24 students were signed up to take part, but with pent up demand and parents eager to ensure their children no longer miss out on opportunities, 48 pupils are now due to take part.
“What people want is to get back to the normality of what we used to have. We’re a very active school in what we do in our trips and opportunities for our students, which we haven’t been able to do. But our parents are asking, ‘are we going to be doing it again?’ The easy option would be for us to say ‘let’s just wait’, but then I think we’re going to miss out on the opportunities because there’s going to be this big rush.”
Keeping the dream alive
For both Andy and the parents whose children will be taking part in the trip, it’s all about the children and giving them the opportunity to gain experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime.
“It’s about keeping the dream alive for the boys and the parents; the parents have bought into this. They’ve been on this journey with me. And I haven’t had any parents saying, ‘have you thought about knocking this on the head’. It’s always been, ‘thank you for trying’, or ‘I really appreciate the efforts in this because my son is so looking forward to this’. We want our children out there, experiencing as much of this world as we possibly can and these trips are what this is about.”
Raising funds with the support of Chelsea FC
One way in which the school, students and parents have all bought into the trip is through fundraising, which will pay for the boys’ touring kit. With help from Chelsea FC, Farnborough airport and donations from family and friends, the boys are well on their way to exceeding their target. Fellow staff member Mr Williams explains, “We’ve set a target of £6,000 for the 48 boys to try to raise. So that’s £100 per boy as a target and on top of that another £1,200 that we’re trying to make.”
“We wanted to make it a magical tour and we thought if we’re going to do this we want to do it properly. This is the first trip so we want to make it special for them. The boys have been part of it all the way along. We set a target for £100 per boy and they could raise that at home.
I know some of them have been running laps in their gardens, some have been doing chores. In school, we’ve done cake sales, they’ve come up with many ideas and projects on how we can do it. We have a raffle. Because a parent runs a hair care product business, she provided lots of those as raffle prizes.
Chelsea were kind enough to give us a current football signed by the first team squad. That’s raised a large sum of money, enhanced because they won the champion league. And recently we’ve just been provided with a framed ticket stub programme with information from the 1966 World Cup, which is signed by Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst. This weekend we’ve got a football match with a local team throughout one of our year groups, and one of our parents has hired the local football pitch for us for a couple of hours, and profits from the teas, coffees, donations will go into our tour fund.
The whole idea is to try to make it as professional as we can to make the boys feel good and look good. They’ll take a little bit more pride if they’re in a tracksuit with their name on with the school logo and the Netherlands logo that we’ve got designed.”
Advice for planning a tour
If Andy and his team at More House School have given you the inspiration you need to start thinking of a Sports Tour for your students, then Andy has a few words of advice:
“If you’re going to do something like this, do your research. Talk to people who have been away on tours. Use reputable companies. Use companies like, for example, Rayburn who have always been at the end of the phone and always got back to me within 24-48 hours. They have an answer for it all, if you have an issue or concern they’ll come back and say ‘have you thought about doing this?’ It’s also about careful planning and lots of talking to the company that you choose, finding out what’s happening, what the situation is, what are our options if this can’t take place. Almost being one step ahead.”
We know the trip has been a long time coming for Andy, his team, students and parents at More House School, but the wait is almost over and we can’t wait to help you kick off the school’s very first sports tour.
Keen to hear more? You can watch the interview here.