Last summer I had the opportunity to be Office Co-ordinator at SBC Bournemouth. Whilst I had taught before for SBC in 2013 and had previously worked at a few different summer schools, I was looking forward to the different challenge of an office based role.
Things kicked off with the Management Training up in Leeds, which was a good opportunity to meet the Office Co-ordinators from the different schools and get lots of advice from the Head Office team. The SBC Bournemouth management team then headed straight down to Canford School to get started before the staff arrived.
Everyone got stuck into things from the start and the induction period was a very busy time. The House Parents were busy making their boarding houses nice and homely for the imminent arrival of the students, and during this time my biggest task was to prepare the admin for the first arrival day. The first arrival day is always so exciting because although the induction period is great – a school is not really complete without students in it! I was always based at the school during arrival and departure days along with the other managers, keeping in close contact with Cath and Sarah the Transfer Managers to check on arrivals and any delays to flights etc. I really enjoyed these lively and varied days, and it was great to have the opportunity to meet parents who were bringing their children to the school as well.
At the end of the first arrival day we suddenly had a school with lots of excited students. Then the fun really began!
One of my main areas of responsibility was to organise the excursions. Whilst Faye in Head Office had already planned and booked all the excursions, my tasks were to confirm numbers with attractions and coach companies, create the group lists of students and brief the staff the night before the excursion on the itinerary for the day ahead. I soon became aware that the most time consuming of these tasks was the group lists – many students understandably wanted to be in their friendship groups for excursions which involved a lot of manoeuvring on my part.
Another main area of mine was to organise the English Plus programme. The English Plus programme is an optional extra and the activities offered at SBC Bournemouth are extremely varied – Horse Riding, Golf, Tennis, Dance, Intensive English and a wide range of Adventure and Water Sports (SBC Bournemouth can luckily take advantage of its proximity to Poole Harbour). Similarly to the excursions, my tasks were to confirm numbers and times with the providers and coach companies, and give the staff all the required information. Although on the surface this seemed a small aspect of my role, it often took up a lot of my time due to last minute changes from the students. You can understand a 13 year old wanting to switch an afternoon of Intensive English Writing for surfing though!
Although there was always a lot to do, I felt there was such a strong sense of team work. There was always somebody popping into the office offering to make me a cuppa and regaling me with the latest hilarious story (believe me, they are in constant supply during summer school). We were also encouraged to take breaks from the office when we could, and I found it really nice to be able to whizz around the campus on my bike and have a quick look at some of the activities or the disco. I definitely learned a lot last summer and would undoubtedly do it again given the opportunity!
Sophie, Office Coordinator, SBC Bournemouth Summer School