FAQs

Health and Safety

Who organises Gane and Marshall School Challenges?
Gane and Marshall School Challenges are organised and administered by Gane and Marshall Ltd, a specialist tour operator formed in 1991.

Are you ATOL bonded?
Gane and Marshall are ATOL bonded (no. 3145). ATOL is a protection scheme for flights and air holidays, managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Most firms who sell air travel in the UK are required by law to hold an ATOL licence. ATOL protects clients from losing money or being stranded abroad if the tour operator goes out of business. We lodge bonds with the CAA so that if we were to go out of business, the CAA would give refunds to people who can't travel and arrange for people abroad to finish their holidays and fly home. For further information visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk. This protection only covers holidays that originate in the UK.

What experience do you have?
Formed in 1991, Gane and Marshall have been involved in adventure travel for over 20 years. During those years we have organised countless expeditions for adults and students to different regions of the world, with a particular focus on Africa. Our staff have helped organise and contribute to a number of high profile events, including the 2009 Comic Relief Kilimanjaro climb and the Extreme Classroom series of events for special needs students. For more on Gane and Marshall, our experience and background, see About Us.

What qualifications/experience do your staff have?
Jeremy Gane, founding director of Gane and Marshall, has extensive experience of adventure travel, both as a tour operator and as a mountain guide. He has been leading and organising treks, safaris and adventure holidays for over 20 years.

Alan Chambers MBE, co-founder of Gane and Marshall School Challenges, is an acclaimed polar explorer, former Marine, and lifetime adventurer, with extensive experience of leading students and adults on expeditions to extreme environments.

Locally, Gane and Marshall employ the best and most experienced support teams, many of whom have been working closely with us for years.

What safety procedures do you have in place?
Gane and Marshall employ experienced expedition leaders and UK expedition doctors, who will treat your safety as their number one priority.

We conduct thorough risk assessments of each of our challenges, personally recceing them before we market them.

We are well-insured to protect you and your money. Gane and Marshall are one of the few UK tour operators to have in place catastrophe insurance to cover areas which normal client and tour operator insurances avoid, such as ash cloud.

Gane and Marshall are licensed to organise adventure activities by AALA under AALA reference R2409.

The Expedition

How old do I have to be to join a school challenge?
Gane and Marshall school challenges are open to students aged 13 and over, with the exception of our Kilimanjaro expeditions (15 years and over).

What are the benefits of joining a school challenge?
A school challenge provides students with an opportunity for adventure, but also with vital educational opportunities. Students will travel to new and unfamiliar places, in the process learning more about the world, and return home both more aware and more confident. See our Information for Students for more on how students can benefit from taking part in an overseas expedition.

For teachers, a school challenge provides an excellent opportunity to get to know their students outside the confines of the classroom, and to provide them with valuable learning opportunities not available in the school environment. For more, see our Information for Teachers.

What should I expect from my school challenge?
A school challenge should be just that, a challenge. These are not school holidays, nor are they field trips in the usual sense of the term. Rather, these are real expeditions, intended to develop mindfulness, resilience and greater confidence in students. Participants will face tough conditions during their expedition, and will be expected to 'muck in' during the trip, for instance by helping around camp. Our expeditions are organised with the 'Outward Bound' ethos in mind, making them ideal for Duke of Edinburgh awards.

What if I'm unable to complete my school challenge?
Our school challenges are not run as a race, and allowance is always made for differences in each individual's ability. On all expeditions we make sure that there are staff members at the back and front of the group at all times to ensure that no one is left behind.

Our itineraries are flexible and can be tailored to the experience and requirements of each group and each individual within that group. There are backup plans available on all of our challenges for those unable to complete the planned itinerary, usually involving a less strenuous trek, or a different activity altogether.

On most of our challenges the group will be accompanied at a distance by at least one support vehicle. Where this is not the case, for instance on our mountain treks, we have fixed evacuation procedures.

How long is a typical expedition?
A Gane and Marshall school challenge can be as short as four days and as long as two months. Our standard School Challenges (one to three weeks) can be extended with additional educational projects in-country, visits to local community projects, or even a "holiday" extension after the Challenge is over. Our Maasai Lands itinerary, for instance, can be extended to 3 weeks, with extra time for geography, geology, and cartography field lessons, followed by a Serengeti Safari and/or time on Zanzibar.

How large should a school challenge group be?
Each of our open challenge itineraries has a minimum and maximum group size, typically 8-16 pupils (with attendant support staff). This is to ensure that all students can be accommodated together, and that they receive individual support and guidance on the ground.

Private groups (see below) allow for greater flexibility when it comes to group sizes, though we do encourage our private groups to keep to similar size limits to those imposed on our open groups. Smaller groups of less than the open group minimum numbers are possible, but will incur a small group supplement. For larger group sizes, we will often split the group into teams, each with their own dedicated support team. On some itineraries, such as the Arctic Adventure, it may be necessary that split groups conduct different activities on different days.

Can I organise my own private school challenge group?
You can! We offer tailor-made school challenges designed to your specifications. All of our open challenges (see below) can be adapted for private groups. Private groups allow you much greater freedom to decide the length and structure of your itinerary, and, depending on the number of participants involved, can be just as cost-effective as open groups.

My school is not running a school challenge, can I still join one?
Yes. We offer fixed date open group departures which students of any school can join. Students on our open groups will travel with students from other schools, providing them with an excellent opportunity to meet and socialise with others of a similar age.

Our open groups are offered as an aid to those schools unable to raise the minimum numbers necessary to establish a private group. We do not, as a rule, market our challenges directly to students, and while students may choose to sign up to one of our expeditions of their own initiative, they will likely do so only after attending one of our presentations organised by their school. We will always encourage the school to take an interest in their students' expedition, and to support them in their training and, where applicable, fundraising efforts.

Are teachers required to join the challenge?
It is not essential that teachers join their pupils on their challenge, but it is advised, particularly for larger private groups. For an average sized private group (approx. 15 students), we will typically include free spaces on the expedition for two teachers. In the case of open groups, where your school may be sending only a small number of pupils on the challenge, it is not always practical for teachers from each school to accompany the group.

Finance/Booking

What is included?

- Trained UK leader
- Full medical support: trained first-aid leaders/paramedics for all UK and overseas expeditions/training days. Trained UK or Norwegian (Arctic challenges only) doctor equipped with full medical kit to accompany group on select remote expeditions (Himalayas, Arctic Adventure, Kilimanjaro)
- Flying doctor cover in East Africa
- All land travel while in­country
- Internal air transfers as described itinerary
- Accommodation as described in itinerary
- All meals
- All specialist trekking and camping equipment (not personal equipment)
- Participation in training day/weekend
- In School presentation for private groups
- Tour Operator Liability and Catastrophe insurance

What is not included?

- International flights
- Personal travel insurance
- Visas
- Personal expenses and tips

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?
It is essential that all participants - teachers and students - have a suitable travel insurance policy that will cover the adventurous nature of our challenges. We offer a comprehensive travel insurance policy that will cover you for all the activities that you may undertake on your expedition. If you have your own travel insurance, we will need to ensure that it provides the same level of cover; the majority of travel insurance policies will not cover activities such as high altitude trekking, or travel in extreme environments such as the Arctic.

Do I need to purchase my own flight tickets?
We do not include international flights in our published trip costs. Once you sign up for a challenge, we will provide a quote for international flights based on your date of travel. You will have the option to arrange your own international flights if preferred. For group bookings, we can provide competitive group rates.

If you choose to book your own flights, you will need to let us know your flights schedule in advance so that we can ensure it is compatible with the proposed itinerary. This is especially important if you are joining an open group, where the itinerary cannot be changed to suit different flight schedules.

How can I fund my expedition?
Participants/schools have the option to self-fund, paying their full challenge costs directly, or to fund their challenge through sponsorship money. See our finance options page for more information.

What are the payment stages?
A fixed registration fee of £125 per student is payable upon booking. The trip balance is payable two calendar months before departure. However, we may ask for interim payments to cover airline group booking deposits and where applicable in-country ground deposits. Any such payments will be deducted from your trip balance.

I'm travelling under the sponsored option; what if I can’t raise the necessary sponsorship money?
Your trip balance is due 12 weeks before the challenge departure date. If you have not been able to raise the full sponsorship amount necessary to cover your place on the trip by this stage, you/your school will have the option to cover the rest of your trip costs directly.

Wildlife experience in Brazil

Sarah's knowledge of the area and ability to fit the trip to my individual aspirations was outstanding

G. West