Explorations II: A New Guide to Field Study Work in Primary School*
(* Working Title)


Stephen Wass



A personal statement of the rationale for this kind of work, an indication of the range of experiences we shall be covering and the types of trips and locations to be considered. A brief outline of the key pointers to success.

 Note: The text will repeatedly emphasise that although much of the coverage is about large scale residential trips away from home involving stays of several days almost all the key points are equally valid when preparing for a day out  or a walk round the corner.

The Big benefits. Opening account of the many personal, social and academic gains to had from programmes of out of school activities.

The Curriculum. Where it all fits in including both a subject by subject analysis and an explanation of how we can support newer curricular approaches based on analysis of skills or creativity. How it all supports aspects of inclusion, community cohesion and the extended school agenda.

Training. Outline of necessary preliminary training and what is likely to be available. The role of the educational visits co-ordinator (EVC), local authority guidance.

The Law!

Travelling and transport, booking and using coaches, railways, practical information on how to walk and rights of way, navigation and maps. The country code.

Risk analysis and assessment. Health and safety considerations and emergency procedures and first aid.  Coping with the weather and the public – toileting.

What’s available out there? Indications of places to go and people to meet. Research, it’s all on the Internet, but can you believe it?

Foreign Trips, additional considerations

What can you contribute?

Coming up with the ‘big idea’ and outline objectives. Making up your mind and getting approval, questions to ask yourself, questions the management may require you to answer.

Timing and seasonal factors, advantages and penalties in a season by season analysis. Planning a realistic timetable

Size and composition of group: ages, gender issues. Inclusion and special needs

Staffing. Who will it be? Training, background, checks and insurance. What will they cost?

The Preliminary Visit. Checking the accommodation: things to look out for, queries to raise, ditto places to visit. Walking the walk – the importance of covering the ground well and how to do it. Making local contacts within the community: individuals, groups and organisations.

Costings and salesmanship. Starting with a balance sheet. What can be afforded? School charging policies, sources of financial support. Selling it to pupils and parents, setting up a savings scheme and dealing with confidential enquiries.

Working with families. Explaining the whys and wherefores –meeting initial concerns re: accommodation, groups, domestic details, health concerns. Opening individual dialogues.

Drawing up an outline programme. Booking accommodation and attractions. Obtaining permissions and permits


Further visits and developing a detailed programme. Spelling out curricular objectives and intentions for each location/activity.

Writing staff and helper notes / handbook for the occasion, producing any additional resources that may be needed.

Sorting out the fine detail for the travel: timings, routes and breaks, and accommodation: room allocation, location of staff, meal time routines, work time routines, bed time routines. House rules.

Preliminary work in the classroom. Research and skills development.

Planning and packing for ‘down time’ , leisure and recreation.

Pre-trip briefings for full party, information about accommodation and ‘house rules’, outline of work locations and possible tasks, photos of accommodation, sample menus and so on.

The ‘dress rehearsal’, checking gear: clothing, footwear, bags and waterproofs, introducing groups to leaders, practicing walking and working together out of doors.

Packing. What to take by way of equipment and resources, advice for families

The count down. Managing the final days, working with parents, medical forms and supplies, arrangements to depart.

Ensuring a smooth departure

The journey, how to have a trouble free one – practical tips

Accommodation. Settling in, arrival and first couple of hours, things to say and do.

Establishing a routine.

The first night – not a nightmare.

Working with groups, making it happen ‘on the ground’. Leadership and instruction giving. Monitoring moment by moment. Playing ‘as a team’.

More domestic issues. Mealtimes, break times, clothing and hygiene, the on-going routine. Managing home sickness

Looking after staff. Energy, fatigue and pacing yourselves

The end of it all. Drawing it to a conclusion, packing and the journey home. Rendezvousing with parents.

6. ACTIVITIES ON THE TRIP – Practical guidance

Measuring and surveying – “How far did you say it was?”
Counting and Questioning – “Excuse me sir can I ask you... ?”
Observing and Collecting – “What have you got there George?”
Image making – “Could you smile for the camera?”
Language – “What’s that in Welsh?”
Initiating drama and music – “Why don’t we do the show right here?”
Sharing it all – “Did you say you’ve set the station on Fire?”
The importance of doing nothing  – “ ahhhh…. “

Making sense of it all, additional learning opportunities.
Reworking notes and sketches
Processing data
Image and model making
Developing music and drama for performance
Presentation, mounting an exhibition
Publication: software and hard copy
Giving something back

In search of Banbury’s vanished castle – an afternoon round town

Meet the Romans – a day trip to Cirencester

The Dreaming Spire – a week in Norwich

Margate – A study of Invasion

The Harlech Art Week


I’m not sure where this thought comes from, perhaps it’s my own, whatever the case I have always worked in the belief that, “there is nothing we do in the classroom that cannot be done better outside it!” Do I mean this literally? Perhaps I do. Here is an instance.

On a recent year 6 residential week in Weymouth we took on an examination of three topics in science: tides, flotation and erosion. In each case we set up some practical investigations and observations to underscore the discussions and indeed direct teaching that was going on. Measurement of the movement of the outgoing tide linked to diagrams of the moon and the earth drawn in the sand; clambering over the local lifeboat lead to the life saving questions associated with flotation tanks, life jackets and displacement and sitting on Chesil beach listening to the sound of a million million pebbles being rolled over by the incoming breakers told us about the power of erosion at a level that was almost visceral!

The immediacy and emotional thrill of first hand experiences can be the primary driving force in embracing all the options working outside the classroom has to offer but this response has to be backed up by certain basic principles.

•    Out of class activities are curriculum lead. All our trips are designed to deliver on some particular aspect of the curriculum. We identify a learning objective and then seek out a location and plan an appropriate set of activities. We devise our programme of work, we hardly ever use worksheets supplied by this museum or that ancient site because they rarely match our intentions and hardly ever deliver on the kind of imaginative quality of differentiated work we demand for our pupils.

•    The trips are means to an end beyond the immediate learning objectives. Whenever possible we plan for activities which are innovative, exciting and lead to some real outcome that has an impact on the world beyond our own narrow learning intentions. These outcomes could involve undertaking real research into some aspect of the historical or natural environment, laying on an art exhibition or poetry reading for the populace or publishing an anthology to pass on to parents and representatives of communities we have worked in.

•    Our work is inclusive, what we do is for everyone and we work hard to get everybody on board and to ensure that all our pupils get an experience which is valuable to them. For many years we ran our residential weeks as joint undertakings with the equivalent class from our local special school. The children here often multiple physical disabilities as well as learning difficulties. We have always been the gainer in such partnerships.

•    The trips have always been used as an engine to drive the curriculum forward both in terms of preparation and follow up for the whole class. A well planned trip adds colour to the entire term.

What we do not do is travel solely for fun or undertake outward bound type activities. Many schools will choose an excursion to a theme park as a reward or organise a character building programme of activities such as caving, canoeing and abseiling and this is fine but our concern has always been to support the curriculum in a more subject focussed way. That is what this book is about.

The principles laid out above work equally well irrespective of the scale of the trip: the time taken or the distance covered. To give some examples of the approaches we take here are some brief accounts of visits near and far.

Local trips – within walking / short bus journey from the school

The Southam Road Cemetery. This is just across the road from St. Mary’s School in Banbury and offers a rich natural environment with mature trees and shrubs, some late Victorian funerary monuments and   keeper’s lodge and of special interest gravestones of casualties from both world wars which we have studied as part of our history curriculum. We tracked down some surviving family members and wrote to them and made some useful contacts with people who were able to offer first hand testimony about life in Banbury during the Second World War.

Greatworth Roman Settlement. Round the corner from my previous school was a field where local archaeologists had recorded the discovery of fragments of Roman pottery in the plough soil. We spent an afternoon there, shortly after the field had been ploughed, measuring out a grid of fifty 2 metre squares and then collecting and bagging all the archaeological material: pottery, tile, stone, metal, bone, that we could find. Back at school we subjected this material to statistical analysis and them submitted a report to the county museum on our discoveries.

Day Trips – full day excursions usually by coach

Cropredy Water Trail. As part of a geographical investigation of the impact of water and its use on the landscape we toured the village of Cropredy and took in features such as the meandering river and its valley, man made canals and mill streams and features such as wells, pumps and water mills all of which was then converted into a huge embroidered panel which we exhibited in the church.

Residential Weeks.

Field work is carried out in its most intense form during the course of residential visits where the class and staff are staying away from school usually for a period of a week. I have always tried to build a residential visit into each year’s programme because of the many and extraordinary benefits they bring. Our residential trips also showcase two important principles. Firstly that of inclusion; all of these have been joint excursions with a class from our local special school. Secondly they illustrate the way in which we not only have a curricular theme  but where possible attempt to put something back into the community we have been working in. Here are a number of examples of outings which have worked particularly well.

•    Harlech Art Week. We planned a series of art activities for a variety of different locations using a range of specified media: water colours for a harbour scene, gray scale pastels for the castle walls and felt tip pens for the garish fairground rides. At the end of the week we mounted all our work and displayed it at a variety of  venues round the town – we even managed to sell some of it!

•    Lyme Regis Science Week. This famous sea side town on the south coast was the scene for a programme of practical science based activities that underpinned the children’s programme of study for national Curriculum science. Activities included fossil hunting and a study of erosion, an analysis of the forces used in a working water wheel and vegetation surveys on a number of rural locations. We sent copies of our tried and tested worksheets to the local museum.

•    Ludlow Poetry Week.  The children were asked to respond to the different places they visited by expressing themselves in poetry using a number of different styles and techniques from ballads describing an attack on the town to haikus about the traffic clogging its streets. To round things off – as part of the Ludlow Festival – we stood outside the castle gate and read a selection of our poems to passers by.

•    Margate History Week. The theme for this trip was that of invasion. We explored it by visiting a series of historic locations: Richborough Roman Fort, Dover Castle and the Battle of Britain Museum at RAF Manton as well as using the sands at Margate to experience the idea of invasion through a series of games and a contest to build sand castles to keep the sea at bay! We printed an anthology of our work and sent copies to all the places we had visited

•    Bradford Community Week. A  small primary school in the Northamptonshire countryside was a world removed by the busy multi-cultural bustle of the big city. We therefore decided to throw ourselves into the experience of being in Bradford by linking up with middle school in the town and setting ourselves the challenge of working together for a week to produce and perform a stage show that summed up our joint reactions to the place by the end of the week.

•    Manorbier Film Week. After studying and producing an abridged version of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ we took ourselves away to the quiet countryside of Pembrokeshire to film our version on location. We used a number of historic sites as backdrops and combined performance with  writing and sketching. The whole thing was eventually premiered with a Hollywood style event complete with limousines, paparazzi and ‘champagne’.

To have done so much suggests that the whole process is worthwhile and works well. It does work well for us, perhaps in many ways better than it does for other schools, and this is for a number of reasons.

i) Planning. We undertake very detailed planning indeed. This begins with an intention to support some particular area of the curriculum, having selected our focus we then tend to search for a suitable location. We then carry out one or more preliminary visits. In the case of a residential trip this may well extend of several days. Our intention is that members of staff must go over all the ground and check out all the proposed activities in detail. It is our boast that the children will not walk over a single foot of ground that we have not covered ourselves, even if it is just a walk from the station to the castle in Oxford. Preliminary visits then equip staff with the knowledge to begin the detailed planning for particular work based tasks as well as for the logistics of getting people around safely, using toilets and selecting suitable picnic spots.

ii) Preparation. For a major trip involves working on both the social and learning dimension of the visit as well as checking basic items such as equipment, footwear and clothing. We think very hard about groups for walking, groups for working and groups for playing together and whenever possible give pupils a reasonable degree of choice, especially when it comes to choosing a group to share a bedroom together. There is almost always a dress rehearsal – an afternoon out close to the school - before any major excursion so we can check that the children are equipped for the rigours of walking and working outdoors. There is also preparation to be done in terms of equipping children with any specialist knowledge or skills which will enhance the learning experience whilst away. This could include researching the background to some specific historical event or period or practising a technique such as measuring with a 30 metre tape measure.

iii) Close Supervision. There is a saying describing this – to run a tight ship- this is very much our watchword when out and about and we achieve it in a number of ways.
•    Clear and detailed instructions. Staff are extensively briefed about the nature of the tasks planned and the organisation and management needed to bring them about. This is backed up with clear written instructions in the form of a worksheet or handbook. (See Appendix)
•    High ratio of staff to pupils. We would normally not consider taking on the kind of out of class programme of challenging curriculum based activities without one adult supervising six pupils. This is not to say that all of these adults have to be teachers. Typically for a week long residential trip we would take two teachers, two teaching assistants and two other volunteers – often students under going initial teacher training.
•    Enforced procedures for working away from school.  We have established routines for things such as boarding coaches, walking along footpaths and  settling down to work. Similar procedures linked to mealtimes and bedtimes in residential accommodation are equally important to the well being of the party. Staff repeatedly emphasise the importance of these routines.
•    High expectations regarding the quality of work done. We expect work done out and about to be as good if not better than that undertaken in class. Obviously if pupils are battling with high winds and torrential rain we do not expect top quality hand writing but there is a continual push to make the most of every experience and to record it in as much detail as possible so that the outcomes, back at the hotel or once we have returned to school, are of the very highest quality.

iv) Outcomes, celebrations, productions. We tend to use the experiences from any major excursion as a powerhouse to drive along what can be up to several weeks of follow up work to the original trip. This can take many forms: writing up a best copy of a poetry anthology, mounting an exhibition of art work or working towards a production of some kind. Once again the idea of involving the wider school community and interested parties beyond school that is central to this approach.

All of this is extraordinarily hard work and demands huge efforts and commitment from the staff involved but it is done and done willingly because for anyone who participates in this kind of activity the benefits are there in front of them every moment they are working with pupils beyond the classroom. Now lets look in detail at how to make this happen.


So the big day has finally arrived and we are ready for the off. We generally try to leave as early as is reasonable to maximise the time at the other end for settling in, to give some slack in the timing of the journey in case of hold ups and to clear school before everyone else starts to arrive. Typically we ask staff to arrive at 7.00 a.m., children at 7.30 a.m. with the intention of being on the road by 8.00 a.m. The previous day we will have assembled all the necessary equipment into large plastic boxes ready to be loaded into the coach’s boot. Hopefully you will have received everyone’s medical forms and pocket money but there will always be a few late contributions. I normally set up a reception desk in the hall where pupils, parents and suitcases assemble waiting for the call to get on board. One crucial task for a responsible member of staff to undertake is to collect in any medication which may need to be taken along. Many years ago now we took a nine year old boy with diabetes on an indoor camping trip to a church hall in Betws–Y-Coed. For the week before departure we had called each morning at his home to practice administering his injection of insulin. To keep the drug in best condition we also had to take a fridge with us which necessitated taking out the front two seats in the coach so we could get it on board. I do not think this is an undertaking we would risk today but obviously by agreement with parents a range of medicines are taken for asthma, eczema, travel sickness and so on. All of these are collected in with a check to ensure that they are labelled and we have a record of what to give, when to give it and permission to do so. These are kept together with one copy of the medical details in a lockable case.
As excitement mounts we are working hard to maintain calm. Both at the outset and throughout the course of a long journey maintaining a calm atmosphere goes a long way towards enjoying a trouble free trip. There is a final role call then of couple of staff members lead the way taking the children to get on board, someone organises the parents to help with the luggage, including our own boxes of resources and a senior member of staff brings up the rear making sure that we have not forgot anything or anyone.

On board the coach we reserve the front and the rear seats for the staff. The reasoning behind this is to give options to move children who do begin to feel unwell up to the front where they can sit with a sympathetic adult and be close to what is universally known as the ‘yukk bucket’. This is a shorthand term for the kit we take along which includes: two or three plastic buckets lined with plastic bags and medicated sawdust, a supply of paper towels, disinfectant wipes, latex gloves, several bottles of water for drinking and washing and a newspaper. We have established the fiction, and it surely must be a fiction, that a sovereign remedy against travel sickness is to sit on a sheet of newspaper. It amazing how often this does the trick! At the rear of the coach we position a member of staff who can keep an eye on what everyone is up to especially in terms of standing up or lounging in the aisles. Other adults are scattered strategically throughout the coach.
A check on seat belts, a final role call then we are away as parents and pupils wave excitedly to each other we continue to remain calm. We have strict guidelines as to what we do and do not permit once en route. Remember we are aiming for a quiet settled atmosphere which does not, unfortunately, permit us to indulge in the ancient tradition of singing on the coach, it gives some people a headache and potentially can be a distraction to the driver. Similarly we have the radio and television if mounted, switched off. Children are encouraged to read, write or draw in a notebook, chat with their partner or simply watch the world go by. We take a very dim view of children waving at other road users as again it is a potential source of distraction. Our final precaution against outbreaks of sickness is to insist that children do not consume huge quantities of sweets, especially chocolate, or fizzy drinks. Mints or fruit sweets to suck on are allowed but we try and avoid the idea that the journey is going to be a meal on wheels.

Whenever possible we build frequent breaks into our journey: toilet stops, picnic breaks and possibly, time permitting, a visit to a site which may act as some kind of introduction to the experiences ahead. For example on one occasion whilst heading to the south coast for a ‘stone study’ we stopped first at Stonehenge where we managed a toilet stop, a lunch break and some sketching and poem writing within the space of an hour and all of it for free – remember Stonehenge is a English Heritage property free admission to pre-booked school groups. We have a simple procedure, explained in advance, for getting off coaches, which simply involves letting the people in front of you get up and get off first. This avoids untidy and possibly unsafe standing up and milling around in the aisle and in the case of emergency – we did once have coach fill with smoke on us! – evacuation can proceed smoothly.

The longer the journey the more stops you need and the harder the final stages are likely to be. Based in the heart of England our longest journeys have been to Northumbria – once, and Pembrokeshire – twice, and each time we have made three stops in the course of six hours of travelling. So we are nearly there and once more excitement mounts but as the moment of arrival draws near we prepare for the next essential stage in the proceedings. The transfer from the coach to the accommodation again needs careful planning.

Our usual routine upon arrival is to keep everyone seated for a few additional moments while an adult makes contact with the owner or manager of the hostel or hotel to make sure everything is in order for us to proceed. Where possible we identify a central area where we can all assemble and as the coach driver unloads the bags we simply send the children a couple at a time to collect a bag, any bag, and transfer it indoors. Once the children and their accompanying luggage are safely stowed they can be managed by a couple of staff who are probably organising initial visits to the toilets for those who are desperate whilst the other staff sort out the removal and safe storage of whatever equipment and resources have been brought along.

Once everyone has gathered together in a central safe space we look to the manager for some initial words of welcome, immediate guidance on matters of health and safety: what the fire alarm sounds like, what to do if it sounds, and any guidance they need to locating and moving in to their rooms safely, and then we send people off in small groups with an accompanying adult to ‘move in’. The adult’s main duty is to assist with safe handling of bags, some of which can be extraordinarily heavy, to make sure they navigate their way successfully to correct room and to make sure that there are no disagreements about who has which bed or bunk and to point out where clothes can be unpacked to. We generally assign an adult to supervise each of the children’s rooms for the duration of the visit. At this point with stern reminders about not playing around in rooms we generally leave them for twenty minutes or so to unpack and get a feel for the accommodation. By this time all the adults are circulating round ensuring that the whole process is going well and that people are moving towards the next rendezvous point. At an early stage we label the door to each room with names of the occupants for both children and adults. In an emergency this helps pupils find teachers and vice versa. By this time you and your staff will have satisfied yourselves that there are no serious issues with the accommodation and that everything is as it was at the time of your last visit. All serious concerns such jammed fire escapes or loose electrical fittings must be voiced now so that they can be put right before the children settle in for the night. Lesser issues involving perhaps minor damage to furnishings should also be brought up with the management so your party does not get the blame.

After time to settle in we will generally reconvene in the common room, lounge or dining room, depending on what is on offer, for the next activity. Typically, and depending on the time, this can be drawn from taking a walk, enjoying our first meal and having an additional briefing about the ‘house rules’. All three have to be done before bed time but the precise order will depend on timing and circumstances.

Being briefed. Everyone should have plenty of information about the venue before arrival but now it is time to underline a number of crucial points and hopefully set up a good working relationship between the party and staff and management of the accommodation. We have usually found that the people we deal with in running hostels and hotels for children are good communicators with a real interest in what the children are going to be doing – if they are not we are unlikely to have made a booking in the first place. Typical of topics covered will be health and safety and discipline issues: no running in corridors, rooms are not for playing in, what to do in the case of accident and emergencies; mealtime routines, house keeping in terms of where to park wet clothes and muddy boots and where to place litter and so on. One of the most important procedures to explain is what happens if an emergency evacuation has to be carried out. We normally insist on a fire drill sometime during the first evening so everyone is clear what to listen out for and what to do. Sometimes the opportunity is taken to introduce other members of staff at the establishment and explain their roles

Why walk? We try always to take ourselves out at an early stage for three main reasons. Firstly we find it helps settle the children in the sense of giving them a feel for where they are. Knowing the location of the hostel, getting a feel for the countryside around  and walking over the territory is all part of establishing a sense of being at home. Children settle into a routine remarkably quickly and  getting a kind of geographical fix on their location is part of the process. Secondly you may well choose to use an initial walk to establish the agenda for the week ahead by introducing the children to some of the locations they will be working in if they are close to hand and discussing perhaps some of the themes which are to dominate their learning over the nest few days. Thirdly it tires them out. Coach travel is fatiguing but not in a way which wearies the body. They may well have been sitting for several hours during the journey so it is important to undertake some serious exercise before even attempting to settle down for the night. In addition to the walk we often set up an evening outdoor games session to burn off some additional energy.

Ready for food? Good food, from everybody’s point of view makes a big difference to the success of the trip. Hopefully you will already have had a chance to sample the food and will have obtained and circulated sample menus for the week. Here’s hoping that the food as delivered on the day to thirty plus hungry individuals comes up to scratch, again, if not mention your concerns, it is always far better to address these issues at the outset than put up with an unsatisfactory situation for a week. In our experience many issues are simply the result of a misunderstanding or poor communication and most managers are only too keen to put things right. Setting a routine for mealtimes is important, especially as communal eating with place settings and plated food may be an unfamiliar experience for some children. Sometimes we begin with a seating plan created before hand, with other groups we allow them to choose where to sit, normally we spread the adults around the dining room to generally oversee proceedings. Whatever individual beliefs are held we tend to begin with a moment of silence and a simple grace. It is good to say thank you and it is another calming moment. Service will either be canteen style in which case you will organise the order in which tables go up, or family service for which you will need to depute a team of servers. We work hard on establishing an understanding of what we refer to as ‘restaurant voices’ in other words conversation is loud enough to heard across the table but not across the room. By now any issues regarding ‘fussy eaters’ will have emerged. We find that that this is a rarely an issue that persists much beyond the first day. The combination of an active daily programme and the peer pressure exerted by everyone tucking in generally remedies the problem. In the very rare cases where this does not work we have a supply a fruit and snacks that we can offer to anyone who is genuinely struggling with his or her food. The normal arrangement is that the children play some part in helping with clearing away dirty dishes and clearing and perhaps wiping down the tables.
It is important to stress that we make it our business to carefully manage every moment of the children’s’ time. There are no unstructured periods when pupils are at a loose end so the end of meal time will be followed by some sort of instruction which leads everyone in to the programme of evening activities of which more later. Pretty soon most people will be ready for bed, whether they know it or not. The world of residential education is awash with horror stories of impossible nights full of noisy children rampaging around until the early hours of the morning. It does happen but it should not, indeed it does not providing the process is like everything else carefully managed. Of course it gets easier as the week unfolds but we ensure the first of a series of peaceful nights with a routine that looks something like this.

First of all we will have established expectations before leaving in terms of publicising what time bed time is and what procedures lead on to lights out. It is no surprise therefore when we call everyone together to start the process at 8.45 p.m. We settle them down with a story whilst other members of staff organise a hot bed time drink – usually hot chocolate and then send them off a room at a time with accompanying adult to get washed and ready for bed. We allow 10 to 15 minutes for reading or chatting in bed and then it is time for lights out. At this point the staff sit themselves down just outside the room with a torch and good book and simply sit and wait until everyone is asleep. From time to time, especially on the first night, it may be necessary to whisper urgent reminders to lay still and keep quiet but eventually everyone drifts off. This may take some time, but even if the wait is a long one, say half an hour, it is time well spent to guarantee a good night’s sleep for everyone. Occasionally we may choose to use an additional technique which is a sure fire success. Once the room is in darkness the adult sits and reads aloud a story in a low monotonous voice. It is practically impossible in these circumstances to stay awake for longer than 10 minutes.

It has been along day for the adults but it is not over yet. Each everything once everything is peaceful there needs to be a staff meeting. This is partly to unwind and socialise but it is also an essential time to reflect on the days events and pass on and discuss things that have worked well and of course things that have not worked so well that may need attention the following day. We normally devote some time to a quick briefing with regards to the next day’s programme. Staff will already be familiar with this from the meetings held a few days before departure but things always have to be tweaked depending on circumstances and now is the time to do it after which everyone heads for bed, sets the alarm clock and wonders about tomorrow.