FAQs | Science, Technology and Engineering Camps and Courses

General Queries

My child is less than 9 years old - can they attend a course?

An 8-year-old can attend a course, so long as they are turning 9 in the year the course is running. For example, for a Summer course in 2018, they must be turning 9 before the end of December 2018. The same principle applies for other age ranges on advanced courses that are 11-17 years or 13-17 years.

Are you OFSTED registered?

Yes, we are OFSTED registered and were fully inspected in 2016, with no issues raised.

Who runs the camps on a day to day basis?

Each camp has a manager – usually an experienced teacher, often from the venue and always first aid qualified. The manager is always contactable throughout the day. Head Office is also available to deal with any further issues that may arise.

Will my 17-year-old be taught with a 9-year-old?

The Junior and Senior version of a course may be taught in the same room, but there are always separate versions of a course that is open for ages 9-17, one more appropriate for younger children, and one with more advanced tasks for older campers. Our strict 1:8 ratio means a large computer suite works well for two smaller groups.

What about difficult children?

We want everyone to enjoy the camp in a productive and safe environment. Our staff ratios and experienced camp manager usually means that issues are diffused promptly. As the courses can be quite intense and sometimes a "letting off" of steam is required, we encourage the campers to join in the activities (which are often outside) with campers from other courses at lunchtime when the manager is also on hand to supervise.

If there is an issue within the classroom we have a strict procedure. Tutors will first let the disruptive child know that their behaviour is not appropriate and call the Camp Manager, so this is noted.  If the issue persists it will escalate to the Camp Manager who will decide on suitable intervention. We don’t want to exclude anyone, but if a camper is disruptive, damaging equipment or consistently behaving inappropriately we would exclude them and contact the parents of the camper concerned.

The Camp Manager at each venue reports daily to the Camp Director, who would be made aware of any issues.

What is the daily schedule?

Please see the relevant Parents' Guide for in depth information about the running of our camps.

Can a camper miss a day of the course?

Missing a day is strongly not recommended, as the courses are designed to last for the whole week and each day generally builds on the last, so missing a day would significantly impact how much the camper would get out of the course. If a camper misses a day due to sickness, our ratio of a maximum of 8 students per tutor means the tutors can help them catch up, however if absence can be avoided this is always the preferred option!

Where do your tutors come from?

Tutors are carefully selected based on their specific technology-related skills, their love of the technology industry and their genuine ability to inspire tomorrow’s young tech enthusiasts. In fact, some of the tutors are ex-Tech Camp students themselves, who are now studying tech and engineering universities like Cambridge and Imperial College. Small tutor groups are maintained – with a maximum of 1:8 staff to student ratio - to provide the best possible experience.

On top of this each camp also has a manager - normally an experienced teacher to ensure the camp runs smoothly and to look after the welfare of the campers - and depending on the size of the camp, a number of assistants as well. All of our staff are background checked (DBS) and undergo training to ensure the safety and high quality course delivery at our camps.

Please see the About Us page for some biographies of some of our tutors!

Can I watch the sessions?

Unfortunately this is not possible, however we run a "showcase" session at the end of the week to which parents are invited!

Can my child leave on their own?

Older campers are able to leave on their own, however this must be confirmed in writing before the camp, and they must sign out with the Camp Manager before they leave each day.

Will my child be safe using equipment such as soldering irons?

We have a very proactive attitude towards safety - please see this page for more information.

Do you have experience of integrating campers who are on the Spectrum?

At Tech Camp we find that a few campers with an interest in technology are also on the autistic spectrum, and parents worry about them feeling comfortable and “fitting in”. Our Senior Management Team has many years’ experience working with such campers and we aim to support specific needs on an individual basis. Our tutor ratio and training enable us to do this – but it is important that these needs are advised and discussed in advance so that tutors and other staff are aware of any particular requirements.
Often, we find that the ability to concentrate on an area of interest and peer recognition for tech skills, together with being surrounded by other campers who all like the same things reduces anxiety, improves self-esteem and is a great self-confidence boost!

Is food provided?

Abingdon - lunch is included

Chelsea - lunch is not included, please bring a packed lunch and snacks if you want!

Winchester - lunch and snacks are included for day campers. All meals and snacks are included for residential campers.

How many girls are there?

We are pleased to see this increasing year on year and is reflected in our increasing number of female tutors, which was nearly 50% in 2017. The number of girls varies by course and ranges from 10-20%, but there is always the chance that no girls may register for a particular week. There are usually slightly more girls on our residential courses and they are all roomed together with female staff.

We can often help in the office letting parents know which courses/weeks have girls, and what age they are when parents want to book.

What do they take home?

We pride ourselves on building skills and knowledge through practical projects, and all our courses involve taking things home – from a functioning 3D printer to a new computer game. There is often access to follow-up activities and on-line links too! Please see the individual course pages for details on exactly what campers take home after each course.

Does my child need to bring any equipment?

Absolutely everything is provided on all of our courses, including computer facilities.

Residential Camps

What about homesickness?

We find this is very rarely an issue, and for many children on our camps it can be their first time away from home for more than 1 day. Please see the homesickness page for more information.

Why do the residential camps start on Sunday?

On Sunday the campers settle in, unpack and start with a fun evening of different icebreaker activities, usually involving an "engineering challenge" of some sort. This gives time for everyone to get to know each other before the courses start on Monday, and allows our many overseas campers to arrive in good time so they don't miss anything on the Monday morning.

If arrival on the Sunday is particularly difficult, it is possible for a residential camper to arrive on the Monday - please contact us in advance of the camp starting however!

What should they pack?

Please see the Residential Camps Parents' Guide for a suggested packing list.

Pricing and Payments

How can I pay?

You can pay online though our booking system using all major credit and debit cards, or by using childcare vouchers through the Childcare Choices scheme. If you wish to pay using childcare vouchers, you will be sent instructions on how to do this after you have made a booking. We require a £50 deposit to secure the place and the remainder at the latest 28 days before the course (see payment terms).

Do you accept Childcare vouchers?

You can pay all or some of the costs with vouchers. We accept all major providers and also payments via the Government’s new Childcare Choices system. Full instructions are in the booking confirmation email.

The courses are too expensive – can you help?

We are a small organisation and have limited ability to fund many bursaries, but we do try to help 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. See our pricing and discounts page or do contact the office directly, and we will always see what we can do.

Do you offer sibling discount?

We do not currently offer sibling discounts.

Can I cancel my course and ask for a refund?

See payment terms, but in summary:

The £50 deposit is non-refundable. The balance of payment for an event is due 28 days before the starting date. In the event of cancellation, the following amounts will be refunded.

  • 28 days or more before the start of an event - 100% refund
  • Between 14 and 28 days before the event - 50% refund
  • Under 14 days before the event - no refund