Covid-19 information

The UK government has announced that when international travel resumes a red-amber-green ‘traffic light’ system will be used, with arrivals from ‘green’ countries able to freely enter the UK. The provisional start date is May 17th.

The new green category will have no isolation requirements, but pre-departure and post-arrival Covid tests will be required.

Amber-designated countries will require a 10-day isolation period on arrival in the UK but this can be reduced to 5 days with an additional test. Arrival from red list countries will be banned.

At present, England’s ‘red list’ includes 39 countries, mostly located in Africa and Latin America. The latest countries to be added to the list are The Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh.

The government has said that it will look to establish arrangements with other countries and international organisations to establish mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, holding out some hope of alignment with the European Commission’s recently proposed ‘Digital Green Certificate’.

Here at ECS we note that nearly all countries from which our pupils travel are green and amber countries. The general situation appears to be improving in those countries. However, there is still uncertainty both at home and abroad so we wait until May 17th to re-assess the situation.

If you have already booked a place, we thank you for your patience. If you have not yet booked, you can do so in confidence: we offer a money-back guarantee if we cancel the course or if your child is unable to travel due to official government restrictions in your country. Book here. For regular Covid-19 updates please see our page at https://www.countryschools.co.uk/more-info/covid-19

8 April 2021

The uncertainty over foreign travel continues. In all countries there is contradictory information over possible scenarios in July and August. We await clarification from the UK government and in the meantime advise against making irreversible travel arrangements. We are still hoping and planning to run our course this summer. If you have already booked a place, please be optimistic and patient. If you have not yet booked, you can do so in confidence: we offer a money-back guarantee if we have to cancel the course or if your child is unable to travel due to official government restrictions in your country.

Book here

March 22nd

Honestly, Covid-19 is an emotional roller coaster! Just a few days ago we were feeling cautiously optimistic with the rollout of vaccines in the UK and - we hoped - around the world. Almost the next day the UK government announced a ban on all travel for UK citizens until July. 

Faced with a situation in which none of us know quite what the situation will be in four weeks, let alone four months, we promise to refund any payment you have made (minus any unavoidable bank charges) if we have to cancel the course or if the child is unable to attend due to official Covid restrictions at home or in the UK. We will be generous in our interpretation of this. If the regulations effectively make it impossible for a child to attend - for example if proof of Covid vaccination is required but a child does not have this - we will offer a full refund (minus any unavoidable bank charges) or you can choose to carry the place forward to the following summer.

So we urge you to keep your child's place and suggest delaying the purchase of flights until we have a clearer picture of how things are progressing and what the requirements will be for travel.

Meanwhile, let's all keep our fingers crossed for continued progress while we prepare a warm welcome for those lucky pupils who are able to join us this summer.

Chris & Sarah Etchells
Directors, ECS

March 2021

Spring has arrived and with it a renewed feeling of optimism here in the UK. Sarah and I (Directors of ECS) had our first vaccinations recently with no side effects. Nearly 20 million adults in the UK have been vaccinated for Covid-19. Under current trends all adults will have been offered the vaccine by the summer. All UK restrictions are due to end on 21 June.

It is difficult to believe that just a few weeks ago we were in the middle of a pandemic disaster. Vaccinations have been a complete game changer. While we appreciate the situation remains challenging in some countries, our experience is that it is surprising how quickly things can improve. We have started to receive a few new bookings for the summer, indicating a gradual return of confidence.

Parents know that the risk to normally healthy children from Covid-19 is minimal. For us in running a summer school the problem is mainly logistic. Port Regis is already back at school. The spacious, countryside campus is about as safe an academic environment as one is likely to find. The school’s Covid-safe operations will have been well tested by the summer and we are confident of being able to run a well-regulated, safe summer course for all our pupils and staff. You can read our recently updated policy here.

At the time of writing therefore we intend to run our course this summer. Numbers will almost certainly be lower than usual; our welcome and attention for those who are able to attend will be all the greater. We will continue to review the position in the light of the changing situation but our feeling overall is that things are likely to continue progressing over the next four months. Young people have had a hard time during the crisis. We truly hope that ECS will be able to offer a wonderful and much needed change of scene for them, an opportunity to forget the difficult times we have all been through and for them to get on with real life and learning.

 

January 2021

As of 4 January 2021 the UK is returning to a national lockdown to control the number of Coronavirus cases. We welcome this in helping the nation to get ahead of the virus - and this time we have the promise of vaccines to help us finally overcome this problem.

We have every intention of running our courses in July and August 2021. Parents can book in confidence as we are offering a money-back guarantee: we will refund all payments minus any bank charges for pupils who are unable to attend due to official government Covid-19 restrictions in their own country or the UK.

Meanwhile we are using the time to prepare for a much better post-Covid future as a member of Green Standard Schools. You can read more about that here.

November 2020

Summer 2020 was the first summer in over thirty years when - due to Covid-19 - we had to cancel our courses. Now, with the promise of new vaccines and a gradually improving situation, we are hoping to fully reopen for Summer 2021.

Young people in particular have had a hard time during the crisis, often confined to home, unable to mix with their peers at school or get outside to play and meet friends. ECS in Summer 2021 will offer a wonderful and much needed change of scene and an opportunity for them to engage once again with real life. The extensive countryside campus at Port Regis provides a healthy green backdrop where they will be able to experience the joy of reuniting and making new friendships with their peers from around the world. Freed from electronic screens they will once again be able to enjoy the profound physical experience of real learning, fun and friendship.

During closure we have been busy following government and industry COVID-19 guidelines to enable us to reopen. We have been awarded the industry standard ‘Good to Go’ mark that you can see on this page. In addition, we have helped to create a Covid-19 checklist for Young Learner schools that you can find here. We are fortunate that our existing division of pupils into three separate age groups provides three natural ‘bubbles’ that we can maintain without changing the course too much. As the Covid-19 situation improves you can be sure we will continue to revise and update our procedures in order to provide the best possible balance of enjoyment, freedom and safety for our pupils.

During Covid we have also been developing our expertise in delivering online services. We are now Zoom aficionados and have been pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable and effective our 1:1 online teaching has proved. We have extended our Trinity GESE provision to include online training, are planning a ‘Fun with English’ Easter offering and will be organising Zoom meetings for parents and pupils in the different age groups before the course begins, to say hello, learn more about the school and ask any questions.

In these unprecedented times we have no idea how popular our courses will be in Summer 2021. We have made a good start with many pupils deferring from 2020, for which many thanks. Our feeling is that there is considerable pent-up demand around the world, but much will depend on the situation in individual countries. We promise that if you book a place for Summer 2021 and your child is unable to attend due to Covid-19 we will fully refund any payment you have made (minus any bank charges). So if you have not yet booked you can go ahead and book now if you wish to be certain of a place.

If however the school turns out to be less full than usual, this means our welcome to those who attend will be all the greater. And having ‘rested’ for longer than we ever wanted, we will return refreshed, stronger and more determined than ever to make ECS Summer 2021 the best summer of their life for everyone who attends.

With very best wishes,
Christopher & Sarah Etchells
ECS, November 2020