We sometimes get asked why the prices for our courses are so high compared with something like a summer childcare programme put on by a school. We try to keep our courses as low priced as possible and indeed for what we offer our prices are amongst the lowest in the industry, but what we put on is very expensive to run for a variety of reasons. Tech Camp is not setup to provide child minding. We run very specialist courses that need a great deal of preparation, equipment, technical facilities and expertise to put on. Some of the contributing factors that make courses like ours expensive to run include:
- We have an average 1:5 ratio of staff to students and a maximum of 1:8
- Most of our courses need us to hire facilities with individual computers for each student
- Our pricing always includes all of the take-home kit like the robots and gadgets that the campers make
- We recruit only the best young tutors who are skilled at both technical matters that we are teaching and communicating them to the campers and we train them extensively
If you are comparing our costs against something like a multi-activity camp, they typically have none of the costly complications mentioned above. Also they typically don't have to intensively develop their own course materials each season to keep up with technology - teaching a child how to paint or play football doesn't change a lot from one year to the next.
If you are comparing our costs against other Tech Camp providers you may want to investigate a couple of other questions:
- Does the provider charge extra to hire computers on top of the course fees? (many do - we don't)
- When the campers come home do they (for example) take the robot they have built home with them so that the learning can continue? (we do, most don't)
We are a small private organisation and make minimal profit, but being a private organisation means that we are charged commercial rates when we hire classrooms space from schools and usually have to pay thousands of pounds just for a single location for a couple of weeks. When schools run a summer childcare session themselves, they obviously have their own facilities already and so don't need to add in these commercial hire rates. Also many schools run these at a loss, partly for their own students to attend.
Being a small organisation and one that generates little profit, we have limited ability ourselves to fund many bursaries but we do try to help out some students each year who couldn't otherwise afford to come. We have a large amount of people asking for help so usually we commit ourselves to funding any subsidised places we can offer very early in the year.
My child would love to come to a week of your camp but we just couldn't afford it ...
There are a few suggestions we can make that might help out:
- Do you have childcare vouchers with your job? You can use these to pay for our courses. Information on this is emailed when you register for an event.
- Consider one of our single-day courses if you live close to our day venues. We've added these for this reason - to provide a high-quality experience without being overly expensive.
- Would it help if you made smaller regular payments every month? Some parents setup regular payments to make it easier to budget.
- Send us a message asking to be put on our last-minute waiting list and email us again 7 days before an event start. We can often offer discounts for unfilled places but can only do this a couple of days to a week (maximum) before the event commences.
- Give us a call in the office. We may be limited in what we can do with subsidised places but if you explain your situation we may be able to offer a small discount even if all of our officially subsidised places are taken.
- If you call us we might also be able to put you in touch with other organisations that are setup to help in these situations. There are organisations we work with who have helped provide greatly subsidised places to young people at Tech Camp who couldn't otherwise afford to come.
- Join our mailing list from our 'Contact' page - very year we run one-off shorter/cheaper courses from time to time and we always let people on our mailing list know about these first. We also often tell people about other events that others run that are low-cost or free that you might want to consider.