The trip kicks off (literally with a game for the youngsters, if they want to) with a briefing for the adults in a lounge area. Timetables are distributed and the Groupie goes over what to expect and checks for any special circumstances and requests.
Each booking is assigned a PGL Group Leader (Groupie) that manages and coordinates every aspect of the stay. Seriously - every aspect. No detail is too small for their attention!
Pretty much everything is time-tabled in advance (this is good to know if you ever send your child on one of their unaccompanied trips - know that they will not have time to be homesick!), from mealtimes, to the exact times of the day's activities to "downtime"
The physical activities (what people would think of as “traditional” outward bound activites) were very well managed and coordinated. This is where PGL come into it's own.
The instructors were all brilliant at engaging and encouraging all of the children and adults.
There is an ethos of “Challenge by choice.” - basically self-challenge.
Additionally, their staff ratios were excellent (I'm not sure if this was because it was off-peak or they always have such high ratios)
While we were there, we had a go at (among others) abseiling, archery, aeroball, challenge course, climbing and the giant swing. The quad-biking is only recommended for younger children and I would also include the challenge course as being mainly suitable for younger children, too.
GCSE Geography Field Trip
The geography fields studies staff were exceptionally well-qualified. This is not just delivery-by-the-script. All of the staff had bachelor's degrees and some had higher degrees.
This came through in their genuine enthusiasm during the two field studies we undertook: "Rivers and Fluvial Systems" and "Coastal Processes and Features"
Each of the field sessions took place off the PGL site. They were preceded by a 45-50 minute introductory classroom session to recap the theory.
All of the staff were fully hands-on and showed endless patience with the children and the accompanying adults! The staff spent most of the day wading in the river and very hands-on in showing the children how to take measurements.
The afternoon of the coastal studies session took place on the coldest day of the year. Not one of the staff complained - even the one who was handling rocks with her bare hands.
They related the classroom theory to real-world observations, such as pointing out physical features or commenting on the measurements they had taken.
Everything is provided by PGL, that includes all the equipment to the worksheets/data collection sheets and even included the clipboards.
We also had a follow-up evening in their IT suite putting together some of the data into reports.
A PGL site can cater for several hundred visitors at a time, therefore, the entire site is organised quite regimentally. For example, each group has it's own timeslot for eating and sits in it's own designated area for the duration of their stay. A PGL Groupie escorts the group almost everywhere.
The food itself is basic and carbohydrate-heavy. However, they do cater for special dietary requirements (including vegetarian and gluten-free and other requests). The hot-counter is single-serving but there is a salad/soup bar that is "unlimited" and can be revisited.
Each evening, there was entertainment in the form of an evening activity. Evening activities on offer range from a disco to robot wars and other team games. These are also led by PGL staff/instructors.
All of the PGL staff that we encountered are extremely positive and outgoing people and all of the staff were attentive, even off-duty.
The bar room doubled as a staff relaxation room too. Sunday night was board games night and we were invited to join in or borrow a board game.
We stayed in lodges (cabins). There were typically six beds to a cabin (although room capacity varies with each site and accommodation type). The children loved the opportunity to have their own lodge.
Although groups are asked for to rank their preferences in advance of the trip, the exact combination and timetabling of the final activities is set by PGL.
During our visit, staff were eager for feedback to ensure their delivery was meeting expectations. There was opportunity for feedback at the activities and on a specific “meet and greet” evening (where, they also give out complimentary cheese and wine)
We stayed at PGL Little Canada on the Isle of Wight from Friday-Monday in February. Older children took part in the Geography Fieldtrip (50% geography and 50% multi-activity) and younger children took part in the Multi-Activity Trip.
We paid £136.80 per person . The cost of the ferry crossing was additional. The age range was 7yrs - adult.
We enjoyed it so much, we are returning to another PGL site for a trip in October.
This is NOTa sponsored post.