Why are things so hard at the moment?
COVID19 is a huge challenge for everyone. Unwelcome change has arrived in a big way. Not only are our lives and the lives of our loved ones in possible danger but our daily routine has been completely messed up. For many of us, our income or business has been lost. In addition to all of this, we don’t know when, or if, things will get back to normal. Most of us are seriously doubting our resources to cope. In Emotional Logic terms this is called a Shock reaction.
Shock reactions can come in all sorts of different forms; aggression, withdrawal, anxiety, irritability, feeling a bit ‘out of it all’, insomnia, feeling very tired and endless further examples.
What can we do about it?
Firstly, recognise that what you are feeling is a normal response to an enormous, unwelcome change. You are trying your best to adjust to this change and it’s not easy. Something that you value is under threat, but what is it? For me it’s the rules of everyday life and how society is supposed to work which make me feel safe and able to cope, the ability to live my normal life; to go where I please when I please, the ability to plan for the future, loss of income and security, possible loss of loved ones, loss of peace of mind as I worry about all the what ifs…
Secondly try to find a safe place in order to feel safe and begin to plan. Safe places can be physical places, people or a state of mind. Who are your safe people? What can you do to feel safe? Who can you turn to? We can help you with this if you are struggling.
Thirdly, talk things through and be honest with your safe person. We will all have good days and not so good days. Everyone is struggling with this. Being truly heard and understood by a trusted friend is an enormous help in itself. What can you practically do today that will help you or those you care about? Maybe you can plan to do something small and manageable, perhaps simply phone someone to see if they are OK, ask for practical support for yourself or offer to team up with a friend or neighbour to arrange a shopping expedition!
Finally, consider making the most of the free support we are offering. You can sign up to our free Emotional Logic training via WhatsApp or download our seven children’s books for free to help children discover the useful purposes of their unpleasant emotions.
Remember, no matter how difficult things appear, there is always hope. If you need help, don’t struggle on your own. Contact us today and we can help you take your next step forward.
Project Director, Exciting Education
We are all having to adapt to huge changes and uncertainty due to the COVID19 outbreak. Tourism based business have been hit very hard and this not only hurts us financially. For most people, their mental health and the mental health of their loved ones is also a concern. The team at Exciting Education are working in collaboration with their colleagues at the Emotional Logic Centre, a Devon based charity, to offer a number of free services for adults employed in the tourism and heritage sector and for their children.
We are now able to offer you:
- A free WhatsApp learning and support group for adults led by a qualified Emotional Logic coach. This 14 day course will help you to gain insight into the useful purpose of your emotions and will help you learn about the healthy adjustment process, creating a pathway to hope. You will discover practical ways to deal with the emotional issues you, your colleagues or family are struggling with. If you wish, you can chat with other members of the group and exchange ideas and support.
- A range of seven books specifically written to support children as they experience the emotions associated with changes and setbacks in life. Available free in digital format, each one addresses a key emotional area. These books are already widely used in primary schools across the UK and overseas.
- Personal, confidential email advice for those struggling with their emotions from a qualified Emotional Logic coach.
- In addition to our mental health support, we have written a series of articles to support tourism and heritage businesses to improve their offer to schools and increase school visits once restrictions are lifted. These are all available for free in the blog section of our website.
- We also offer free email advice regarding our Exciting Education services and how we could work with you to design bespoke plans to increase school visits to your venue, once restrictions are lifted.
You don’t need to struggle on your own. If you are interested in taking advantage of any of this free support, please contact me for further details.
Project Director, Exciting Education
Barrier 6 – Teachers running out of time
If your booking processes and paperwork take too long it may well put teachers off visiting, no matter how amazing your venue is! Teachers are busy people. Research published in The Guardian shows that UK teachers work an average of 50 hours per week with 25% working 60 hours or more. Another study by the Health and Safety Executive showed teaching to be the third most stressful profession in the UK (behind welfare support and midwifery nursing). Planning an educational visit takes time out of an already very busy week. It takes time to match the school’s curriculum needs to the venue’s offer, to organise and make the pre-visit, to research and write the risk assessments, to write and send the permission letters to parents and ensure they have all been returned with all the information required.
How you can help
- Think of it as your job to make everything as easy as possible for the person arranging the visit. Look at it from their point of view. What do they have to go through to get everything sorted out? Can you help make this simpler?
- Have a dedicated section of your website for education and include all the information the schools need on there. If you’re not sure what to include, ask us and we can help.
- Make it explicitly clear where your venue’s offer supports the current curriculum at the required level for different ages. Make sure you review this whenever the curriculum expectations change. Don’t presume. Get expert advice.
- Find out what schools need in advance in their risk assessments and have this in a pack ready for them
- Consider having the key key policies schools need to see available on your website to download. This will also encourage parents as it will reassure them you are thinking ahead, ready for anything and that things are well planned
- Offer free pre-visits for venue assessment
We can help you grow your business by supporting you with all of this. We are the experts in helping you adapt your offer to attract more school visitors to your site. Our team is made up of currently serving teachers and school leaders. Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can help.
Barrier 5 Anxiety around special educational needs and food allergies. Perception is everything
Are your staff team unwittingly losing you business because of the way they speak to school staff or anxious parents? The manner in which these people are dealt with can make or break a booking. I have seen this happen many times.
School staff and some parents will want to speak with you about their child’s special needs, food allergies or emotional situation. They may be highly anxious. How they feel you have treated them will be spread across the school community at lightning speed! You have one chance to ensure this message is positive. What can you do to help them overcome their anxieties? How can you make them feel that you can safely care for their child?
If you can win the heart of the anxious parent, it is likely you will impress the school and this is very likely to result in additional future visits.
How you can help
- When dealing with the person enquiring about the booking always be warm, friendly, interested and flexible.
- Ensure the teacher who is making the enquiry feels listened to. There is nothing worse than talking to a person who is in a rush, not really interested or who sounds a bit miserable. The staff and pupils want to come to your venue to learn and have fun. Make sure whoever answers the phone is trained to do so and present the public face of your business.
- Be flexible, especially with special educational needs provision. Make whatever reasonable adjustments you can to help adapt your venue to the needs of your customers. For example, a venue we have worked with won a school over by simply offering to turn off the hand dryers in one of their toilets and provide paper towels when they discovered one of their pupils had heightened sensitivity to the noise of the hand dryer. The school and the pupil’s family were over the moon and plan to return in the future.
- Don’t minimise or be dismissive when discussing potential challenges such as food allergies, disabilities or anxieties of certain pupils. Saying something like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s fine, we’ve done this many times before, there’s never a problem’ doesn’t help! Staff need to feel that you have listened carefully to their concerns and really understand what could go wrong. Reassure them, ask their advice and make sure they know you have taken on board everything they have said.
- Always do what you say you will. If you promise to get back to them by the end of the next day, make sure you do. If they can’t trust you with the small things, they won’t trust you with the big ones!
Remember that the school staff are specialist who really know these children and are often highly trained. They will want to work in partnership with you.
We can train your team to actively listen and reassure anxious customers. We are the experts in helping you adapt your offer to attract more school visitors to your site. Our team is made up of currently serving teachers and school leaders. Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can help.
Our next blog – Time barriers and how you can help
Barrier 4 Safeguarding – does everyone know how effective your safeguarding procedures are?
School staff anxiety around whether or not your venue meets their stringent safeguarding requirements can be a barrier if not handled correctly.
How you can help
Perception is everything. You may have excellent, up to date, safeguarding procedures in place that are of the standard schools expect but does the school know this? Consider preparing a safeguarding pack with what schools want to hear, for example, that all of your staff are DBS checked, that you have key staff trained in paediatric first aid, a copy of your safeguarding and child protection policy is available on your website and so on. If you are not sure how to design and write these policies to meet today’s requirements, contact us and we can help.
Ask schools if there is anything else they need to hear or see. Let them know if staff are trauma responsive because they have received training in Emotional Logic, de-escalation, dyslexia, ADHD or anything else that would be useful. Are your staff familiar with the contents of Keeping Children Safe in Education? What about site security? What about a major incident plan? Do schools know you have these in place? Are these available for them to read? All this gives a feeling of professionalism and reassurance. If your policies are out of date and have not been reviewed in recent years this will not inspire confidence.
Contact us if you would like help reviewing your safeguarding procedures and policies so that you can help schools overcome this barrier. We are the experts in helping you adapt your offer to attract more school visitors to your site. Our team is made up of currently serving teachers and school leaders.
Our next blog – Staff interaction barriers and how you can help ensure your staff don’t scare the schools away!
Barrier 3 Affordability
How you can help make visits more affordable for schools without reducing your entrance price
You might be surprised to learn that the cost of getting into your venue is not necessarily the biggest financial barrier schools face. There are often hidden costs such as the high cost of transport or if schools are required to pay for a number of additional adults.
The rising cost of fuel has mean that transport costs, particularly using coaches, can sometime make the visit unaffordable. You may want to explore setting up an arrangement with local coach companies to offer special deals for repeat business to your setting. It is also worth reminding the teacher who is booking that traveling outside of school hours is always cheaper. They can stay with you longer and possibly spend more!
Having to pay for additional adults
We all know that there are recommended adult to child ratios for different age groups, but some groups need additional supervision due to the particular cohort of children. This will be for a range of reasons – physical, emotional or educational needs, even safeguarding requirements. Teachers are sometimes surprised at how rigid certain venues can be when it comes to allowing free adult places and are put off by this.
When offering free adult places, consider the upselling opportunities – how much tea, coffee and cake will the adults buy while they are with you? How many of them will take up your offer of discounted return visits, bring their entire family, buy lunch in your cafe and take home souvenirs?
Contact us if you would like to know more about how to help schools overcome the financial barriers they face and attract more school groups to your venue. We are the experts in helping you adapt your offer to attract more school visitors to your site. Our team is made up of currently serving teachers and school leaders.
Our next blog – Safeguarding barriers and how you can help