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Our PALS 2017-07-06T15:16:18+00:00

Our PALS

PALS stands for Promoting Acceptance of Language Students, which is, essentially, our main goal. PALS has been running successfully for several years, with the help of students from local secondary schools, who have contributed to the fantastic work that the scheme does.

The scheme involves young local people who:

  • Integrate with our students
  • Attend activities
  • Assist in showing students the Devon area
  • Interact with them to ensure they feel welcome
  • Encourage all students to be involved
  • Help monitor behaviour and report any concerns or issues to staff

“A worthy project that is very effective” British Council

The PALS scheme

The scheme was set up by Country Cousins in collaboration with Devon & Cornwall Police, and has won several awards over the past few years, including:

  • Pride in Ilfracombe Award (2010)
  • Crime Beat Award (2010)
  • ELTons Award for Local Innovation (2014)

The ELTons Award is an extremely prestigious award, given through the British Council. Country Cousins is the only school to have ever won this award and the judges described it as “a worthy project that is very effective”.

We have a lot of brilliant PALS already, and new ones are joining us every summer!

MEET OUR PALS

Frequently Asked Questions

We have a comprehensive and reliable travel and escort service. We can arrange for individuals to be met by our escort and taken to a mode of public transport, Country Cousins bus or arrange a private car. For groups, we can arrange an escort, coach and driver, and for any individuals or groups travelling on our specific dates we have coaches to the West Country and our escort service available.

We have our own escorts at all airports. For private car and minibus journeys to smaller airports and London St Pancras the driver acts as an escort. At Heathrow we have escorts working at each terminal.

It is approximately 4 hours by car or 4.5 hours by bus, and 2 hours by train. Please note that Ilfracombe does not have a train station so to reach the town travellers need to book a taxi, find a connecting bus service, or book a Country Cousins collection at extra cost. Please note that children under 14 are not permitted to travel on National Express coaches without an adult. The nearest train station to our schools is in Barnstaple and we can arrange for collections from the station at additional cost. We highly recommend that you use our airport transfer service, as this guarantees you a door to door service and is reliable. Direct travel to North Devon by coach or train can be difficult.

No. We have an escort co-ordinator at London Heathrow Airport, Liz Harwood, mobile number + 44 7771 574881, but she has up to 10 staff working for her to cover the five terminals. People arriving need to look for someone holding a yellow sign with the Country Cousins name and logo as below appearing in black.

We have very experienced welfare staff to assist with any problems that may arise. We cannot address problems once the student has returned home, but we can effectively and sympathetically resolve any difficulties whilst the student is here. There is always someone at the end of the phone 24 hours a day for any emergencies.

We do have a travel and escort service available on Saturdays, but those times are outside those when we can meet. Country Cousins vehicles will not be on the road between the hours of midnight and 6am. We would have to arrange an overnight stay at a hotel/guesthouse on arrival and on departure at extra cost to you. If this is not acceptable, then you must arrange flights within our travel times. But why? Because most of our families host more than one student and they find themselves waking up at 1am to see one student off, and then at 3am to see another one off, and then at 5am to see the last one off, whilst at the same time they may have one arriving at 2am, and another one at 4am. As much as we look after our students, we also need to look after our host families. We have lost some very good families because of this.

Very important!. We have found that students who do not attend the Sunday morning meeting find their first few days of their visit very confusing without the information they would have been given in the Sunday meeting: Identity cards, their programme (timetable), a tour of the facilities, vital information about the school and Ilfracombe.