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Yr 3 staying in a youth hostel open to other residents

(183 Posts)
luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 17:54:47

Hello -haven't been on MN for ages but wondered if anyone had experienced the following:
Next year, my DD is potentially going on a 2 night residential trip and they're all staying in a youth hostel (a really nice one). However, when questioned, the school have said that the children will be staying in unlocked rooms of about 3. Once the staff go to bed at night, any other of the hostel residents could enter their rooms. I am very NOT ok with this set (case of Caroline Dickinson, Brittany 1996)and feel that further measures could be taken to ensure more security at night. I have written to the hostel to double check what they say and they said they issue group leaders with keys to lock all rooms but the school told me they can't lock the rooms due to fire regs. I need to talk the head about the risk assessment but she's sooooo keen on the whole school trip (as I am in an ideal world) and I fear she'll shoot me down in flames before I've begun. What's a good way to approach this and get a satisfactory outcome that doesn't result in my child not going (which is what we'd decide if nothing is done).

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 17:59:57

Is this a YHA Youth Hostel? Or an Independant Youth Hostel.

Goblinchild Thu 15-Oct-09 18:02:15

Usually school trips book the entire hostel for the time they are there, is that not the case this time?

Ivykaty44 Thu 15-Oct-09 18:02:29

I stayed in a youth hostel the otehr weekend and all the doors were locked - actually with a key code pad they were not unlocked

I can understand your conserns about the said incident - how do you know that they will make the doors stay unlocked?

Ivykaty44 Thu 15-Oct-09 18:03:16

sorry

Ivykaty44 Thu 15-Oct-09 18:03:40

distracted and didn't read properly

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 18:04:55

What Goblinchild says is correst (if its a YHA Youth Hostel). It is very unusual for a school NOT to have sole use of the hostel and there should be no 'other ' residents on the site.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:06:33

It's a YHA one. The school said that all room doors would be left unlocked due to fire risks but today I mailed the place and asked them directly about their safeguarding children policy and they told me that 15 rooms in the main house are being used by the school but there were 4 other rooms in that area available for anyone else to book. They have a key code for the main door which is changed daily but if other residents are booked into the other 4 rooms, how are we to know they won't just wander in to the kids' rooms in the middle of the night?!
The dep head said it was no different than taking your kids to a holiday hotel and putting them in the room next door..........I told her we would never even consider doing that.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:07:38

The hostel has 131 places and so if there are only 50 of the yr 3 kids going, they have plenty of room left to book in other guests (not necessarily other schools they said).

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 18:10:42

You say that there 15 rooms in the main house and 4 others 'in that area'. Is 'in that area' actually in the main house?

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 18:12:25

Even if the hostel holds only 50 children but has capacity for more, if the school has booked 'sole use' then the hostel will not sell the empty beds.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:13:05

yes - imagine the big manor house with 19 rooms - 15 are taken up with the kids and the other 4 could be anyone. I think she said one of the other rooms is on the bottom level but the other 3 are on the same level as the school rooms. Wouldn't you have thought they could have just not booked the other 4 rooms?!!! and then the building would be secure. Might tell that to head actually.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:14:21

Sqishabelle - didn't know that. So if the school requests that, they should do it? Cool - will ask school to discuss that perhaps.

Tombliboobs Thu 15-Oct-09 18:14:45

It is unacceptable and I think you just need to be up front about the concerns that you have. Say how keen you are for DD to go, but that you feel it is an unnecessary risk to have the rooms unlocked and open to other guest that are not from then school party.

I am amazed that they are considering doing this TBH. The school are putting themselves in a very vulnerable position, should anything happen.

FWIW, I wouldn't let my DC go in the circumstances you have described and if you have no luck with the Head I would make as many parents aware as possible about your worries or go through the governors.

Hulababy Thu 15-Oct-09 18:18:09

I think if the bedrooms doors are to remain open/unlocked then the school need to have sole use of the main house, with only them having access.

It is not the same as having chldren in a hotel room adjacent to your own. Presumably one would local the room when they went to bed in such a situation.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:18:46

thank you - makes me feel good to know it's not just me being neurotic. I was the only parent to bring it up after the meeting last night and I reckon other parents didn't think about it because the teaching staff didn't give us any details at all about sleeping arrangements. My friend today said "oh I didn't think of that actually"
The head can be quite intimidating and I've now got to get up all my assertiveness to bring it up but it's our child at the end of the day and even if it means me staying in a Travelodge with her at night and taking her over for brekkie in the monrings, then that could be an option if they don't change it.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:21:28

exactly Hulababy - so actually this is even less safe that having a locked adjoining room!

Tombliboobs Thu 15-Oct-09 18:22:55

If you are worried about bringing it up with the Head, you could always say 'I am sure you will have already thought of this but...' Giving her the chance to save face and agree with you!

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 18:23:53

The school will either have to pay extra for sole use (which it appears they havent), to cover the cost of the beds that the hostel will not be able to sell or perhaps choose another hoslel of a more suitable size.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:28:06

oh - the paying extra bit sounds unlikely. It's costing £100 for just 2 nights as it is and they're only walking and sketching!
Don't know why they couldn't have gone to something like Kingswood where they have a completely secure/cctv/security patrol type residency.

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 18:29:30

Incidentally I stay in YHAs very regularly and have never yet had a door that wasnt able to be locked. Ie a bit like a front door which locks when closed and cannot be entered unless someone actually has a key - but can be opened from the inside IYSWIM.

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 18:30:48

I wouldn't be happy with this arrangement and would be very surprised at a school allowing this. Bring it up wth the head, without being accusatory.

If the trip isn't till next year they have ages to sort this out so the childrne are safe.

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 18:32:43

YHAs take security very seriously. The Caroline Dickinson case wasnt a YHA Youth Hostel.

luciemule Thu 15-Oct-09 18:36:10

I know the CD case was in France but even so, I think 7 yr old children are too vulnerable to lie there with the doors open.

Squishabelle Thu 15-Oct-09 18:46:19

Lucie - they wont have to lie there with their rooms open! - unless the school is going to force them to wedge their room doors open or something! I think sole use is the way to go. Perhaps the school didnt want to pay the extra. However I do think that £100 per child for 2 nights x 50 children should have been more than enough to book a hostel for sole use.

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