The First Four Saturdays

Posted: 2nd October 2023

It is important to us that our new students participate in a range of orientation and immersion excursions. Students need to feel a connection with their local area thus they must be able to confidently move around town if they are to feel at home. 

This year was our biggest intake ever. The challenge was to provide a thoroughly enjoyable academic and social enrichment programme. Our students divided into 4 groups incorporating the school ethos of diversity, mixing age groups and nationalities. This also encouraged the students to nurture new friendship groups and community engagement.

The range of trips started on Saturday 9th September. One of the hottest and gloriously sunny days of the year. Three groups took the train to London, Dover and Deal. The 4th group set off on foot to explore the local countryside around Folkestone


Firstly, the London itinerary is designed to help orient students with navigating the local rail and tube networks. As a result they will be able to  confidently undertake their own excursions later in the term.

Everyone started the day with a visit to the National Portrait Gallery. After seeing a portrait of King Charles III they visited the National Gallery next door. Notably their task was to find 3 specific paintings chosen by Mr Williams. Students subsequently completed the morning with some time in Leicester Square to enjoy lunch.

Next everyone took a walking tour taking in Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.  Followed by a trip in the delightfully air-conditioned London Eye looking out over the city. Lastly, the students enjoyed dinner on the South Bank prior to a performance of the West end hit ‘The Lion King’.

Dover Castle:

The main aim behind the trip to Dover Castle was to think about the changing nature of structures and places over time.  The trip itself intends to provide some historical insight into the county of Kent.

The students took part in a project that helped them to connect this location with a similar place in their native country.


The purpose of the Deal trip was to give the students a chance to visit a historical seaside town. The town is less than 30 minutes by train from Folkestone where Earlscliffe is located.

They took part in a £10 picnic challenge, buying local food from local shops. As a result our international students could practice their English in real-world situations and at the same time experience guided independence.

Their challenge to experience some crab fishing off Deal Pier was in contrast to a photography competition. Ultimately dinner was fish & chips and ice creams on the beach whilst writing a postcard home.

North Downs:

Setting off from the Earlscliffe main building, students navigated out of Folkestone to the North Downs. Here they particularly enjoyed lunch surrounded by the Kentish countryside.

Good fortune favoured us with spectacular weather every weekend so each group ultimately returned sun kissed and weary but rejuvenated by fresh air and exercise.

These trips were curated and led by our Duke of Edinburgh leader Mr Lawrence. It gives a taste of what can be experienced on an expedition for these widely recognised awards.

In conclusion, these “First Four Saturdays” meant that the students had a very busy first month at Earlscliffe. We fully believe that as a result of this experience the students get the very best start to their new lives. Moreover, it pleases us to see how their friendships blossom whilst making memories for life!

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