Parent FAQ

What do students need to bring?
This list should not be regarded as comprehensive, but simply as a number of items which must not be forgotten: • Sufficient personal clothing to last at least a week (including warm clothing and raincoat in case of bad weather). All clothes should be labelled with student’s name. • Sportswear including tracksuit • Tennis racket (if intending to play tennis) • Trainers and/or tennis shoes with non-marking soles • Towels for both swimming and bath/shower use • Swimsuit • Personal items e.g. toothbrush, hairbrush, hairdryer • Electrical adaptor/converter for UK voltage (240 volts)
Can students bring a phone/laptop?
Mobile phones and laptops are allowed but not required, and their use is restricted at certain times such as during classes. Students are responsible for keeping track of their belongings. All of the centres have computer rooms that are available for students to connect with friends and family.
What will my child do on the weekends?
There is one full-day and one half-day excursion each week included in fees. Entrance charges are included. Full-day excursions are by coach; half-day excursions to London are by train. There are optional excursions depending on the centre, which students pay for if they wish to participate. Recreation activities on campus are available for students not wishing to go on the optional trip.
Where will my child live on campus?
Students are accommodated in boarding houses on campus. Typically each boarding house accommodates 30-50 students, and bedrooms are either single, twin or mini-dormitories with 3-6 beds. Whilst we do our best to ensure that students in multi-bedded rooms share with a different nationality, it may be preferable for younger students to share with the same nationality rather than to be in a single room and feel lonely. Each boarding house is supervised by an experienced Housemaster or Housemistress who is responsible for the personal safety and welfare of the students in their care. Teachers and other Senior Staff also live in the boarding houses and assist in the supervision of students.
What safety procedures are in place on campus and on excursions?
We take security very seriously. Most boarding houses are less than five minutes’ walk from the college's main buildings and all have security systems. Members of the public are not allowed on campus without prior permission. Students are issued on arrival with an Identity Card, which must be carried at all times. The card shows the TVSS emergency mobile telephone for the centre.
What happens if your child feels unwell?
Students who need medical attention during their course will be accompanied by a member of staff to the school doctor’s surgery or, if necessary, the Accident & Emergency department of the nearest hospital. Thames Valley Summer Schools appointed nurses/first aiders will administer non-prescribed medicines (such as cold and flu medication, allergy tablets) as necessary, except when advised by parents not to.
When do students arrive/depart?

Students should arrive/depart on the published course dates. Arrival and departure times of TVSS scheduled coaches from/to Heathrow are detailed below.

Arrival days: Depart Heathrow - 12.30, 16.00 and 19.30.

Departure Days: Arrive Heathrow - 08.30, 12.00 and 15.30.

Please allow a minimum of 1.5 hours between the flight ETA and the coach departure time in order to clear passport control, baggage collection, customs and transfer to coach meeting point.

Students making their own way to/from the centre should arrive between 14.00 and 16.30, and depart before 14.30 (after morning classes and lunch).

What happens at the airport and how will your child recognise the staff?
Students are met at London Heathrow airport by Thames Valley Summer Schools’ staff on published course dates and are taken by private coach to their course centre. Our staff, who will be carrying a ‘Thames Valley Summer Schools’ sign, will be waiting in Arrivals at the exit from the Customs Hall. Students must not leave this area but wait until met. At the end of the course, students are taken back to Heathrow, escorted safely through check-in procedure and taken to passport control. If your child is travelling as an airline registered unaccompanied minor, the airline staff will take them to meet the Thames Valley Staff in the Arrivals Hall. Our staff will have a document allowing them to take custody of your child. On departure, your child will be handed back to the airline staff for safe passage through to the airplane.
How much spending money will my child need?
Students should arrive with enough English money for the first day in this country. £75 a week spending money is suggested, although this may vary according to the individual.
Do you limit the number of students from any one country?
The nationality mix varies from centre to centre, from week to week and from year to year. We do our best not to have more than 25 per cent of any nationality, but this cannot be guaranteed.
Is Wi-Fi available?
Wi-Fi is available at the centres subject to accessibility (the signal may only be sufficient in limited locations on campus). Furthermore, as happens during term time, the schools may restrict Wi-Fi for child protection purposes in order to prevent students from gaining access to unsuitable websites and material. TVSS does not have any control over Wi-Fi systems on campus and there is no technical back-up if a system does not work or a student cannot successfully access the system. All students will have access to the internet on a PC during the afternoon ICT sessions which are available, as with all Campus Activities, on a sign up basis.
Will my child's clothes be washed every week?
Sheets and duvet covers are provided by the college and changed once a week. Personal laundry is provided weekly and returned within 48 hours.
Is there a deposit required and when is the deadline for payment?
We kindly request a GBP 400 deposit to secure the booking. The balance is due at the latest 6 weeks before the course starts. Payment can be made by credit card or bank transfer.
Does my child need a Visa?

Some nationalities must obtain a study visa.

You can apply for a Short-Term Study visa if:

  • You are doing a short course of study in the UK
  • You are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • You meet the eligibility requirements.

This visa cannot be extended and does not cover any family members who wish to travel with students so they must apply separately.
The purpose of the visit is to attend an English Language Course for Young Learners. If required, Thames Valley Summer Schools will provide a Letter of Invitation to support a student's application.

For further information please visit:
Short-term study visa: 
Check if you need a visa: 
Apply for a UK visa:
More Information:


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