Confidence in any travel for 2021 is going to be low both for teachers and for parents at this moment in time, so our normal way of booking is impossible and we will not be accepting deposits in the normal way. At the same time, SOL needs to be able to keep its staff on board ready to provide for the courses next year, and without any income that would be impossible.
Many UK language schools have folded but we do not intend to do so. To manage the winter, staff are making sacrifices on salaries and we are looking at a variety of other ways to raise income, but at the same time giving teachers (and parents) the ability to reserve a course for their students which can be confirmed into a firm booking once things become clearer how the pandemic is being managed in the New Year.
So, the plan is as follows; our excellent teaching team are preparing a series of 10 lessons which will have a strong Devon theme and be very interactive - not just a filmed talk. The proposed list of lessons is shown below. This set of lessons is for purchase by any teacher of English who is interested in a SOL course for students and especially those interested in coming to North Devon. In exchange for buying these lessons, we will make a free and firm group reservation for a SOL course in Devon for next year (or beyond).
The money paid for these lessons will then be included in what would be due for the course itself when that materialises, so both no money is lost in relation to the course price. For the teacher, there is a reserved slot for their group on a Devon course and, for SOL, there is some vital income generated which helps us to see through the winter!
So, on a personal level if you, as a teacher,are looking to bring a group, the payment will also be a lot less than the 10%deposit we would have asked for. The payment will be based on the number of students you would want to reserve places for - and the material can be used with other classes or even by other teachers within the school. That only some of the students who see it may pay for this material is justified because they will be the ones coming to Devon and in the end it will be part of their total payment. If other students see these wonderful lessons, they could be encouraged to come too! The lessons are in preparation now and will be rolled out from November into early next year.
So, the cost of these lessons will be based on a charge of £25 per student booked, with a minimum payment of £200, based on our 1:8 group ratio, but up to a maximum of £500 even if there are more than 20 students booking. So, the most we are asking would be 5% of the course cost, but in most cases it will be less. We hope this will seem reasonable and that parents, if they are the ones paying, see this as a small risk if the trip was not possible but in any case their children are getting 10 great lessons and a taste of England at the same time!
How the money is collected will be for you and the school to decide. As things become clearer about next year, then we will discuss the timing of the payment for the course itself, but only once things are more certain. The prices for 2021 are here on the website for your guidance. For obvious reasons, we are not offering a discount for early payment this year as we want you to keep the money until things are clearer!
Teachers have other priorities on their mind at the start of the school year as well as dealing with a different form of school. So, it may take some time to think through these details but as soon as you feel able and are ready to make a reservation on these lines,then please let us know!! Some weeks can get very popular but as always we always cap our numbers with us at any one time. The payment for the videos will not be required until the end of October as the videos will only be ready from November – probably through Drop Box or Google Drive or what suits you. If there is anything which is not clear, or you simply want to ask about, then please do ask!
One last bit of reassurance to give you is that Devon is one of the safest areas in the UK. The pandemic in the spring was a real tragedy in the UK with thousands dying. I can promise you that, not only are the deaths nationally 1/100th of what they were in April – and the number in intensive care has dropped from 3,000 to 60 – and none now in North Devon, where the virus, despite the influx of thousands of holidaymakers, remains almost non-existent. Our classes, families and coaches will be well prepared with all the appropriate protocols … and Brexit should not make the administration any greater.
We wish you all the best as you return to school,in whatever form that is. We hope that we will be able to welcome you back to North Devon again as soon as you can make it!