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Organising a high school expedition

School expeditions need to be organised by teachers from the school who will accompany the group of students aged 16-18 in the field. There is one free place (does not include flights, internal travel, park fees, dive learning materials or dive hire) for a teacher for each group of 8 paying students or part thereof. Thus, if there is a group of 20 students interested, then there will be 2 free teacher places and an additional teacher could join for 50% of the costs.

Opwall can provide a fully inclusive package for the expedition including international travel, in-country travel and teacher flight costs enabling the entire expedition to be invoiced through the Opwall office. In Canada the expeditions are packaged through Victor Travel who offer a similar service, the free teacher places are included in the package.

Teachers’ Role

The teachers’ role is to ensure the groups get to the start and end points of the expeditions safely. During the expedition Opwall staff are responsible for the activities and safety of the group; the teachers will join in with the research programmes and are responsible only for pastoral (personal welfare) issues relating to their group. Please note that school students cannot join the research expeditions unless they are part of a team led by a teacher.

  • 1 or 2 week scientific terrestrial and marine research expeditions
  • Free teacher places for every eight students
  • Fully organised expeditions; all transfers and flights can be arranged by Opwall
  • Learn to dive at all marine sites
  • Fundraising training and support
  • Educational resources including datasets, lectures and posters

Steps to organise an expedition

Groups take between 10 and 20 months to organise their expedition from initial meeting to going into the field. As a teacher there are various stages to organising an expedition which are described below:

We have made starting an Opwall expedition as easy as possible. Teachers can launch an expedition in a few stages.

  • Step One: Express an interest

    View a copy of the Operation Wallacea High School Programme by clicking here. You then need to contact your regional office to set up an initial school visit. You can do this by expressing an interest or by contacting the relevant office. We can then arrange for one of our expedition advisors to come and see you at a time that is convenient for you to explain what Operation Wallacea is all about.

Express an Interest

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    Step 2: Initial Meeting

    This is normally a 10 – 20 minute introductory meeting at school between interested teachers and Opwall education staff, so that they can be introduced to the research programmes, safety systems and educational benefits. If at the end of this meeting the teachers are interested then a date and time are arranged for an evening presentation to explain the programme to students and their parents along with the interested staff members. Note there is no commitment in arranging an evening presentation and if at the end of the talk the decision is that a group will not be going from the school, then there are no costs payable.

    After this initial meeting, the teacher chooses their preferred expedition destination and selects a favoured project with a possible back up country to be given at the evening presentation. Opwall then forwards all the relevant health and safety documentation regarding the preferred expeditions so the process of approval can be started.

    Choose an Expedition
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    Step 3: Hold Places & Evening Presentation

    Having met our expedition advisor we can hold places for you on the expedition of your choice with no financial obligation.

    For the expedition launch we will arrange with you a date for an Opwall team member to come and present to any interested students, their parents and teachers about the proposed expedition. This will be a staff member from Opwall or a teacher from your area familiar with the expeditions and process involved. Promotional materials, assembly videos, powerpoint slides and invitation letters can all be provided. Additionally, a digital version of this presentation can be given. Following the evening presentation you will have a month to collect and pay your deposits to confirm the booking.

    Email the Schools Manager
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    Step 4: Make a Booking

    From the date of the evening presentation the group have a month to secure their place. If they are going then the lead organizer at the school completes the booking form with the group names. All student group members then pay a non refundable deposit for the preferred expedition dates. Opwall then issues an invoice to the school with a schedule of agreed installments with the final payment being made 3 months before departure. Any teacher costs will be invoiced the April before the expedition starts. Payments can be made via cheques or BACs transfer.

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    Step 5: Fundraising

    If the group wants to fundraise for part or all of the expedition costs then Opwall will arrange for a professional fundraiser to advise the interested students and parents as soon as possible after the evening presentation either directly or via a Skype meeting. The purpose of the meeting is for the fundraiser to explain what activities, events and other fundraising ideas schools can use to reach their fundraising target and the likely income from each of these activities. The objective is for the group to develop a fundraising plan with details of activities and events to be completed and the estimated income from each. It is extremely beneficial if the parents can stay involved with the fundraising. If the students are doing external qualifications such as CoPE, this planning and implementation of a fundraising plan is part of their qualification and an assessor will be sent to review their progress later in the process.

    Fundraising Advice

STEP 6: PRE-EXPEDITION PLANNING

  • Information Collection

    In November/December before the expedition starts the teacher will need to check that all the students have passports with more than 6 months left on them before the return date of the expedition (if not they need to order replacements immediately). In addition, the teacher will need to check that all students have the required vaccinations for their country of visit. Each of the school group participants will be sent a password so they can log into our online database and enter their own personal details (passport numbers, nationality, passport expiry, health issues, dietary issues etc). If the group is diving the PADI forms (health, assumption of risks and liability forms) will need to be completed by the students and signed by their parents (and doctors if necessary). These forms will need to be submitted ahead of the expedition. The originals of the forms are retained by the teacher and taken into the field with them.

    Opwall Portal
  • Expedition Preparation

    A few months before your expedition Opwall will email the lead teacher for each group, a link to a webpage that has a kit list video to help the students take the right equipment, a webinar recorded PowerPoint presentation that gives details of exactly what the students will be doing and the facilities at each camp and links to various additional information pages on the Opwall website. This email and the links can then be forwarded to all the group participants so they and their parents can study it at their leisure. Once all group members have been through this information, it is then a good idea to organize an evening meeting with all the students and their parents so that they can have a Skype video conversation with the Opwall Country Manager for the expedition to clarify any remaining issues.

    Your group may also want to consider some extra training, first aid courses or team-building activities before heading out on expedition. Below are a few ideas to get you on your way.

STEP 7: BOOKING TRAVEL & INSURANCE

  • Please read each of the sections below carefully. They provide important information about your Operation Wallacea expedition. Should you require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Operation Wallacea office.

    • Opwall can arrange all expedition travel, or you can book your own international flights
    • All expeditions include medical insurance up to £1 million for all participants

    Packaged School Groups

    School groups that have chosen a fully inclusive expedition package do not need to book international flights or internal travel. Operation Wallacea will be in contact with the group leader directly and will provide you with a fully inclusive quote for your international flights, internal travel and expedition costs.

    Medical and Travel Insurance

    Opwall expedition costs include a comprehensive travel insurance policy including unlimited Overseas Medical and Travel Expenses, cover for Personal Property and Cancellation, Curtailment and Rearrangement cover for all participants. This is provided by Aviva plc, one of the world’s largest insurance groups.

    The travel insurance provided by Opwall also covers travel to and from the expedition site.

    This policy offers cover to all volunteers on a ‘Fit to Travel’ basis, therefore you should NOT be travelling against medical advice and as such you will not need to separately declare any pre-existing medical conditions to Aviva.

    Below you will find links to copies of our documentation:
    Operation Wallacea Policy Summary of Cover 2020

  • Non-Packaged School Groups

    Schools also have the option of having Opwall search for the best flight deal for the group and once the school group leader has approved the purchase, the tickets are then bought by Opwall at cost on behalf of the school.  A flight booking fee per person is charged for this approach.  Details of the flights for the group will be entered onto the portal by the Opwall staff booking the flights.

    Alternatively, if the school has reliable travel partners then they can book the flights themselves and just pay Opwall for the expedition and internal travel costs. Under this scenario the group leader needs to enter the flight details through the Opwall portal and email a copy of the itinerary or E-ticket to flights@opwall.com.

    If you are booking your own international flights departing from a country other than the US, then we recommend that you contact the following air suppliers who are all familiar with the Operation Wallacea expedition programme and will be able to provide you with a competitive quote.

    Travel Nation
    Tel: 01273 964 034
    E-mail: Markb@travelnation.co.uk

    When you have booked and confirmed your flights you should add all the details to the Opwall portal and email a copy of your itinerary or E-ticket to flights@opwall.com

    In-country travel between airports and the expedition start and end points will be arranged by the Opwall Travel Team and is not included in your expedition cost.

    When you have confirmed the details of your international flights you will receive a quote for your internal travel package, which will include airport meet and greet, any required travel and accommodation, as well as full Opwall representation.

    Canadian school groups have the travel and expedition packaged together through Victor Travel
    (opwall@cwtvictortravel.ca,Tel: 1-866-699-0199).

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 | info@opwall.com