11th November 2020
Our team at XUK have been dedicated to delivering quality childcare for 25 years to thousands of children and teens in the UK and all over the world.
In 2020 we were forced to cancel our 3 residential camps and our Easter day camp. We were able to run our day camp over Summer at a reduced capacity. That 4 weeks was the highlight of our year and we were so thankful to our amazing staff team who worked so hard in difficult circumstances to give our campers the holiday and care they deserved.
Now our thoughts are aimed at what we can do next year and wanted to update you as best we can…
1. DAY CAMPS
We hope and think that we will be able to run the day camps over Easter and Summer. We aim to open bookings at the start of January unless there is a significant change in guidance.
2. RESIDENTIAL CAMPS
At present we do not know if we will be able to run this summer. Due to the Covid restrictions currently in place, it is still not legal to run residential camps in the UK. Not only do we need this restriction to be lifted, but there are also many other barriers, including implications of any quarantine, distancing requirements, travel restrictions etc. We are still hoping to run but will need clarity from the UK Government on all of these issues to decide whether it is feasible to run by February.
3. ONLINE ENGLISH LESSONS
We continue to run our Online English School, with private and group lessons for children (and adults). Our XUK teachers are all qualified, experienced and safe to work with children
4. FREE ONLINE ACTIVITIES
We are running regular online activities, including baking, art & life skills. These are completely free and the focus is on having fun and learning new skills
We will continue to keep you updated with any changes
Very best wishes
Nick and Richard Bernstein, XUK Directors
10th July 2020
Following much debate, consultation & lobbying we are now able to announce what we can run this summer. Please read all 4 sections below:
1. MINI MINORS AND XUK
We are delighted that the Government seem to have recognised that their guidance for children to “stay in consistent groups for future sessions and avoid mixing with other groups in your setting” is not feasible for most holiday childcare settings. We will therefore be running the whole camp in weekly bubbles and these will be reset each week. Although we will try our hardest to keep children with their friends, this will not always be possible due to the reduced class sizes.
To maintain consistency with government guidelines, our Year 1 children will be part of XUK for this summer. In practice, this will not make much difference, as XUK will be running to fixed multi-activity timetables and small groups.
Brookland School have made the decision they will not be opening their pool until the new academic year at the earliest. We are therefore unable to run our swimming lessons or fun-swims this summer. We will contact families directly regarding refunds for swimming lessons.
A small number of families have booked our late finish (4:15pm). Unfortunately, the cleaning requirements at the end of each day and the bubble restrictions mean it is not feasible to run the lates session. We will contact families directly regarding refunds for lates. Please note that to ease congestion at the start and end of the day, we have slightly extended our opening and closing times (9 – 9:30am and 3 – 3:30pm respectively).
4. UPDATED COVID-Policies and Declaration
We will e-mail all families separately with our updated Covid-19 policies, outlining our protective measures for camp. We will also be asking all families to fill in a declaration confirming they have read and accept these policies as well as completing our usual health form & essential declaration as soon as possible.
We are very excited to be up and running for this summer – If you have any questions please do contact us.
Very best wishes
Nick and Richard
8th July 2020
Our latest thoughts and plans are below:
Nursery & Reception children:
We intend to run for our ‘Early years’ children. These are children aged 3,4 & 5 (nursery & reception).
Year 1 & above:
We are still awaiting a government update on advice regarding our 6-12s. If the promised update does not arrive soon, we intend to finalise a system that would allow this age group to attend camp this summer. We plan to make this decision on Friday at the latest.
We aim to publish our Covid-19 Policies on Friday or soon after.
Rest assured, everything we do will be to meet the guidelines and the spirit they were intended. We want to play our part in reducing the risk of transmitting Covid-19 whilst also still offering the quality childcare our parents are used to.
As per previous updates, we are taking bookings are are presently full for most groups and weeks.
Very best wishes,
Nick & Richard Bernstein
1st July 2020
Some new guidance has been issued on 1 July regarding summer camps.
The Department for Education have asserted “If you are unable to keep children in your setting in small consistent groups for future sessions, you should only operate your provision outside and follow the government guidelines on the Phased return of sport and recreation in England, which allow up to six people from different households to meet outdoors”.
At Mini Minors we have a different set of campers each week, some of whom return for one or multiple weeks. It is not possible for us to have the same (small) groups in place across the holiday period. We have already contact DfE via telephone who were unsure but initially seemed to suggest it might only be lawful to run for one week or have the same kids attending for the entire duration. If this remains the case, we will not be able to run. Many camps have already decided not to run – this issue should be of concern to all camps still planning to be open this summer.
We are contacting DfE in writing, are regularly checking the Out of School Alliance (OOSA) updates (who have already identified the same issues and seem to be in contact with DfE) as well as the Summer Camp Trust (who have been giving us occasional updates / clarifications from Vicky Ford, MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families).
We know how much our families need childcare and we are desperate to run – but can only do so when we have the appropriate guidance / clarification.
Very best wishes,
Nick and Richard Bernstein
25th June 2020
We wanted to do our best to give you an update on our London day camps - but unfortunately not much has changed since our last update (shown below).
We are still hoping Mini Minors and XUK Day Camp will go ahead and are starting to formulate more detailed COVID plans – e.g. working to smaller capacities and working with Brookland in terms of set up / lay out / entrances. None of these can be finalised or publicised until Government have announced what restrictions they intend for this summer.
Current restrictions suggest that provisions can only be open to kids of the school where the provision runs from and give no indication of how long a bubble can be in place for (our summer camp would only be able to operate with weekly bubbles). If these restrictions / lack of guidance remain in place – we will not be able to run.
We also need sufficient time to prepare ourselves and therefore need the required permission / guidance by the beginning of July. We are contacting the Department of Education on a regular basis – but thus far have received nothing relevant for the summer.
In the meantime, we continue to take bookings and are full in many age groups (at a reduced capacity). See availability for the latest spaces.
If we are not allowed to run or do not have the permissions in sufficient time, we will offer everyone full refunds.
Very best wishes,
Nick & Richard Bernstein and the Mini Minors / XUK Team
15th May 2020
We sincerely hope that all our Mini Minors and XUK families and staff are safe and well during this difficult time.
We wanted to do our best to give you an update on our London day camps. Although they are still over two months away, we are clearly facing a great deal of uncertainty because of the ongoing COVID-19 virus.
Currently, we are planning and preparing for the day camps to be open and are still taking bookings. We have our staff team largely in place, plenty of children booked and we very much hope to run the camps.
Having said this, we are fully aware that things are changing constantly and there is the possibility that a time will come when we need to cancel the camps. We hope we will have enough information to make a final decision whether the camps will be running by the end of June. Primary Schools are due to return in some form at the beginning of June and the Governments’ current intention is for all primary school children to have returned to school by the beginning of July. If this does materialise then we are very hopeful we will be able to run.
Of course we will have to make some adjustments to our normal program to comply with any restrictions that may be in place at the time. These have not yet been fully announced by the Government for childcare settings and the extent of them may determine whether it is feasible for us to run the camp.
Should we eventually need to cancel, we will of course offer all families the option of either a credit note for next year or a full refund.
Very best wishes for the next few weeks,
Nick & Richard Bernstein and the Mini Minors / XUK Team
1st May 2020
After several weeks of discussion, we are bitterly disappointed to let you know that we have had to cancel our 2020 residential summer camps.
Unfortunately, we have no alternative and must continue to follow government guidelines to be part of this worldwide effort to stop the impact and spread of Coronavirus.
We have tried to keep abreast of any guidance issued by the UK Government and National Health Service but it is impossible to predict what the situation might be in July and August. At present it would not be legal for us to run a camp or for our schools to allow us to run. There is no clarity over the feasibility of international travel or the nature of social distancing rules that are likely to be in place. Furthermore, bearing in mind the international nature of our camps, any cases of Covid-19 at camp would pose significant risks for all children attending and their families.
For those that have booked, we will do everything we can to make the refund process as easy and stress free as possible. We are offering two options
Most importantly we hope that all of you and your families stay safe and healthy.
If you have any questions at all, please do contact us.
Very best wishes for the next few weeks / months
Nick & Richard Bernstein and the XUK Team