Here are some of our frequently asked questions, but if you can’t find the answer to your question below, please feel free to email us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do we get picked up?
All our prices initially include airport transfers. If you have requested an airport transfer, you will be met in the international arrivals hall by a member of our team who usually will be with you during your stay with us.
How can we find you at the airport?
When you come through customs, look out for a sign showing either your name or your group name and our Oxford Spires logo. We will then take you directly to your accommodation and should be there within 1-2 hours depending on the airport.
What about departures?
On departure we’ll get you to the airport at least three hours before your flight is due to leave, giving you plenty of time to check in. During your stay we’ll let you know what time to be ready to be collected from your accommodation.
How do we get to our accommodation?
We will either drop you off directly at the accommodation or you will be greeted by your host family at a suitable meeting point. In both cases our staff will make sure that you get settled in and any answer questions you might have about the living arrangements. They will also show you where to go and what to do on your first morning.
How do we know where to go on our first morning?
On your first day you will receive an induction to welcome you to the school. The induction includes meeting points, rules, what to do in an emergency and an introduction to the staff. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to speak to any of the staff! This is a chance to let us know how you are doing and to report any problems or worries.
How do we get to and from our homestay accommodation?
There are two options that are arranged before you arrive.
1. Private transport from central meeting point(s) to school
2. Local bus transport
In both cases, you will have been sent your timetable and your host family will also have a copy of this. It states when the lessons are, which activities and excursions you will be doing, and all of the meeting places and times. It is very important to stick to this programme!
Host families will have a copy of your timetable. On the first morning they will show you to the bus stop or your meeting point for you to collect the bus. If you are travelling by public bus you need to remember the bus number and also the host family address.
Residential accommodation: Oxford
If you are staying in residential accommodation, you will meet your activity leader at the accommodation on the first morning and walk together for breakfast and lessons. You will then be accompanied into town and shown the meeting point in Oxford. All accommodation is either a short walk or even shorter bus ride to the school campus.
How do I wash my clothes?
Self-service, coin-operated washing and drying machines are available at the residence. The charge is between £2-3 per load. Remember, towels are not provided so please bring your own. You will need to pay a £50 deposit for your room and any damages will be charged. The rooms are of a high quality and very comfortable. We have members of staff at the halls 24 hours a day for the duration of the summer school who are on-call to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and problem-free stay.
Residential accommodation: Padworth
Students are accommodated in comfortable single or double study bedrooms and all meals are served in the college dining rooms. There are kitchen facilities in the boarding houses for the students to make their own drinks and snacks, and sitting rooms with televisions where students can relax and socialise. Girls and boys are housed in separate boarding houses, each with their own resident house staff living within the building. Bed linen is provided and laundered weekly by the domestic staff. There is also a weekly laundry service for machine-washable clothes.
Homestay accommodation: Oxford
Our host families are carefully selected and many of them have been working with us for many years. They are located in the Cowley, Kidlington, Yarnton, Begbroke, Woodstock and Headington suburbs, a 15-30 minute bus journey from school and the city centre. Host families provide breakfast and an evening meal. During the week, lunches are provided by the school. Lunches at weekends are provided by the host family. If you have an excursion, make sure you ask your family for a packed lunch.
Where is the summer school located?
The Summer School is based at Oxford High School, which is a located in the most exclusive part of Oxford just north of the centre of Oxford. The school is modern and has wonderful facilities.
Padworth College is located just outside Reading, approximately 40 minutes from London Heathrow airport. It’s a lovely campus in the middle of beautiful English countryside, with easy access to Reading, Oxford, Windsor, and London.
How many students are there in a class?
Every year we have students from a diverse range of nationalities so our classes are truly international. Classes are on average 12-13 people with a maximum limit of 15. Lessons are taught by our experienced and qualified teachers. Our teaching staff and the teaching programme follow a specially-designed course, designed to make lessons interesting and challenging, building upon existing strengths as well as teaching entirely new skills.
Which days do we have excursions?
In Oxford, excursions are pre-arranged for every Saturday and Sunday and Wednesday (unless specified otherwise) Wednesdays are normally half days and Saturday and Sundays are full day excursions.
At Padworth College, full day excursions take place on Wednesdays and Sundays.
What about insurance and medical emergencies?
Medical emergency treatment in the UK is free for everyone, however you may need to pay for an appointment with a general practitioner for less urgent issues. Students from the EU should bring their European Health Insurance Card and we recommend that all students have their own medical insurance as a precaution. At an extra cost we can supply medical insurance. If you require this, then please let us know at the time of booking your course.
Please bring any medication that you need to take with you, and please inform us of any medical conditions, allergies or behavioural issues at the time of booking. There are trained first-aiders on-site during the school opening hours. If you feel unwell you should come speak to a member of staff or your teachers as soon as possible. Outside of school opening hours you should contact the Centre Manager, or in an emergency, 999.
How much money should we bring?
Obviously this is up to you, and depends on your normal spending habits, but while you are with us, all entrance and travel to all the activities on the social programme is included in the course fee. If a bus pass has not been included in your stay with us then you can buy day tickets which cost between £4 and £5 per day. If you want to buy souvenirs or post cards, then up to £60 per week is probably enough.
What do we need to bring?
The weather in the UK can change very quickly, so a variety of clothes for hot and wet days is a good idea! You might want to bring a mobile phone or other device to keep in contact with family back home. You will need a towel if you’re in residential accommodation and of course any medication and creams that you normally use.
What about applying for a Visa?
If you are from the European Union you do not need a visa to study in the UK.
Students travelling from countries outside the EU will need to get a visa before travelling to the UK. Once you have booked and paid for your course, Oxford Spires will send you a letter of acceptance to take with you to your local embassy to apply for your visa.
• Students aged 12-17 should apply for a child visitor visa
• Any accompanying adults should apply for a general visitor visa
Please note that any group leaders or accompanying adults travelling on a general visitor visa are not permitted to study under their visa conditions.
To check if you need a UK visa: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
What happens if a visa is refused?
If for any reason the application is refused, any fees paid to us will be refunded in full on production of the visa refusal letter from the UK Border Agency.