Open and Private Groups

Gane and Marshall School Challenges are offered as either fixed date open group departures that you can book onto, or as private departures tailor-made to your specifications. For your school this means a choice between:

1)     A private programme designed specially for your school. Let us know what you want to do and where you want to go, and we shall design a programme to meet your requirements. This could be based on one of our existing school programmes, or it could be something completely different of your own choosing.

2)     Alternatively, you may wish to reserve space for your students on one of our open groups. These depart at fixed dates throughout the year and are open to students of any school.

        We have open groups for each of our standard school challenge programmes, including the Maasai Lands, Arctic Svalbard, Deserts and Mountains of Oman, and more – for further information, including dates and costs, please view the relevant challenge page from within the Expeditions menu.

        It is also possible to set up your own open group. We will set up a challenge programme to your specifications and at dates that suit you, and then promote it on the Gane and Marshall website as an open group so that others may join.

What are the relative advantages of open/private groups?

Private groups have the advantage of greater flexibility. With a private group you are not restricted to the fixed dates and itinerary structure that are a necessity of open groups, and can instead request a programme tailored to your particular requirements and preferred dates of travel. You may wish to adapt and extend one of our existing programmes – for instance to allow for additional educational projects in-country, visits to local community projects, or even a “holiday” extension after the challenge is over – or you may prefer a different programme altogether. Our school programmes for open groups represent only a small selection of our portfolio; we have many more programmes available on the Gane and Marshall Adventure pages, most of which can be adapted for school groups.

As a private group, you will receive full support from the moment you place your booking to your arrival back home following your expedition. Our comprehensive support programme includes student and parent presentations, UK training workshops (both single-day and weekend) and pre-expedition briefing sessions, the location and timing of which is flexible and can be adapted to your requirements. Additional support, for instance in the form of first-aid courses for teachers, is also available to private groups.

Open groups have the advantage of allowing for individual sign-ups, and are designed to cater for those schools unable or unprepared to raise the minimum number of participants necessary to establish a private group. Schools can reserve a number of places on an open departure for their students, who will then travel with students of different schools, each bringing their own strengths to the group. Open groups are thus a great way for young people to meet and build relationships, helping them to develop confidence and improve their social skills.

Students on our open school challenges receive the same level of individual support and guidance as those on our private departures. We provide training weekends and workshops at fixed dates throughout the year to accommodate our open groups, and individualised fundraising and training advice. Schools are also encouraged to support students in their training and, where applicable, fundraising efforts. While it is not generally practical for schools to send teachers on open groups (on account of the fact that each school will typically send only a small number of pupils), they can be reassured that students will be supervised throughout their challenge by an experienced support team, including a UK challenge leader and expedition medic.

All of our open school groups are intended to be affordable and accessible, with dates chosen so as to coincide with school half-term holidays and the 6-week summer break. They are open to students 13 years and over, with the exception of our Kilimanjaro challenges which are 15+ only.

For more information on how you can fund your challenge, please see our Finance Options page.

Namibia Safari with Self Drive

We do not have enough superlatives that we can use to express how wonderful the last three weeks have been.

Ian and Susan Gutsell