FAQs | Fire Tech Camp

FAQs

Some helpful answers to our more frequently asked questions

What are the course instructors like?

Angela Brennan is the Head of Curricula Development and Training and she and her team oversee all instruction. Lead Tutors have a strong background in education coupled with technical expertise in the area they teach. They are supported by Camp Tutors, who are most frequently talented Computer Science and Engineering students (often PhD students). All our instructors undergo extensive in-person training from the Fire Tech Camp team in the curriculum of the course they are teaching, in the Fire Tech Camp mission and values, and in our Child Safety Policies. We look especially for passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic tutors who will act as role models to their students.

What is the tutor:student ratio?

This varies from course to course, but we generally have a maximum of 8 students per tutor.

What is a typical day at Fire Tech Camp like?

The length of the day varies, with teen courses often starting a little later (at 10am rather than 9am). We also have some morning or afternoon only sessions.

A typical day begins with children arriving between 8.30 and 9.15am. There is then a warm-up activity and an introduction to the next step in developing projects. Project work will last all morning with a break for a snack.

Lunch lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. Students normally bring their own lunches, or older students can often purchase food at the on-site facilities. If the weather is good, the tutors will accompany the younger children outside where everyone can blow off some steam. When the weather isn't so great or the camp location doesn't allow, indoor games are organised by the camp tutors.

The afternoon often begins with a speaker, e.g. somebody working successfully in the tech industry, or occasionally with a special excursion, e.g. to the Science Museum for camps based at Imperial College, London.

Campers will keep following the course and working on their projects for the rest of the afternoon.

We often have multiple rooms to organise break-out group activities or have snacks away from equipment. We also have a dedicated lunch area for Fire Tech Camp students.

Do you offer shorter days?

Yes! There are a range of morning-only or afternoon-only courses (both holiday camps and weekend sessions) and our teen courses are generally a couple of hours shorter per day. For the full day courses, we find that the kids are quite happy to work on their core projects, plus other activities available to them, throughout the afternoon.  (In fact, the challenge is getting them to shut things down!). However, as the children's work is in most cases quite independent and the tuition is more or less one-on-one, it isn't a problem if you want your child to leave earlier. Just let us know in advance.

Can you recommend accommodation in London as I'm coming from further afield?

Imperial College has some summer accommodation options and the Meininger Hotel is a clean, inexpensive hostel in South Kensington which may be suitable for young people and families. We now operate in many towns and cities outside London so be sure to check the courses page for the latest options that are local to you.

Do I need to bring any equipment?

Students should bring their own headphones or earphones. Smartphones can be used to take photos or videos that they can use as content for projects, to test games and apps and if they want us to load a game they have created onto their device (we also provide instructions for how to do this at home).

Students attending a full-day course should bring a packed lunch. We provide snacks during the day but your child may want to bring their own if they have any serious allergies.

We provide laptops for the classes for the younger students but we require campers to bring laptops to some of the teen courses. This will make it easier for them to install the programs they need to continue working independently at home after the course has finished. We can, however, provide a laptop to teen students for an additional fee.

Other specialist equipment is normally provided although we may recommend that a student invest in their own devices if they should wish to continue developing their projects after the course has finished. There is more information about this on each of the relevant course pages.

Will my 9-year-old be working with 17-year-olds?

All of the courses are designed with a particular age range in mind and we are often able to split larger groups into smaller groups based on thier age range. Usually the age span in a group working with one specific tutor is no more than 2 to 3 years.

What about disruptive kids?

It is very important to us that all of the campers have the opportunity to have fun and to get the most out of Fire Tech Camp. Of course we know that kids can be playful and we want this to be a fun environment, very different from school.  We will do our best to engage kids who may find their attention wandering, who may be less keen on one particular activity, or who are due for a runaround outside.

We cannot, however, permit kids to disrupt the camp experience for other kids. Tutors will first let the disruptive child know that their behaviour is not appropriate, and that it is hindering other kids from enjoying the programme.  If the problem persists it will escalate to the camp director, who will decide whether we need to call the parents. Children who are destructive with our equipment or setting, or who prevent other kids from benefitting from the camp will be suspended or expelled from the programme. Of course we would hate to have to do that, but it is important that we provide all of our campers and their families with a productive and safe environment.

How can I be sure my child leaves camp with the right person?

During camp registration, parents will indicate who is authorised to pick up the children. That person will need to show ID to sign the children out. Parents can change the authorised person if necessary by getting in touch with Fire Tech Camp. There is also an option during the booking process where you can indicate if you allow an older child to leave on their own.

Will there be First Aid available at all times?

Yes. There will be a First Aid trained staff member in attendance at every camp session.

Will I get to see what my kids are doing?

For younger children, parents are invited to a Grand Finale Showcase on the final day of week long camps. Details will be available in the information pack you receive before camp. You are always welcome to talk to tutors at the end of the camp too and we regularly update our Facebook, YouTube and blog with news of recent camps and courses (of course gaining permissions before publishing any photographs).

I really want to go to Fire Tech Camp but it's too expensive for me. What can I do?

We don’t want any child to be limited by their economic circumstances and we raise corporate sponsorship to enable us to offer a limited number of scholarships, we have also been able to work with schools and self-fund some places. More about scholarships.

Do you accept childcare vouchers?

Yes we accept childcare vouchers - we are currently registered with the main providers as follows - if yours is not on the list let us know and we will get them added right away.

  •     Busy Bee
  •     Care4
  •     Computershare
  •     Early Years
  •     EdenRed (Sodexo)
  •     Fideliti
  •     My Family Care

Is there are residential option for the camp?

Yes, we now offer a residential option, held at Wycombe Abbey, in High Wycombe.  More info here.

Can I cancel my course for a refund?

As per our Terms & Conditions:

5. Cancellation
5.1. In the event of cancellation by you, a credit will only be issued if such cancellation is notified in writing to FTC at least one month before the commencement of the Camp. An administration charge of £50 per week per child will be deducted from the credit.  No refunds will be issued and bookings cancelled in the last month prior to the date of the class will not be reimbursed.
5.2. If, for any reason, the Camp is cancelled by FTC, the total liability of FTC will not exceed that proportion of the Fees FTC have actually received.
5.3 Fees are non-returnable for students arriving late, leaving early or missing a day of camp (whether on account of illness or any other cause).  If the course has been booked, then the full fees are payable.

 

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