diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Are you a schoolteacher in the London area? Are you looking for an exciting venue for a class trip? Well, the Transport for London Safety & Citizenship team may have the answer.
The Emirates Air Line schools scheme is a brand new initiative aimed at London schools. The scheme allows you to admire the breathtaking views of the capital while bringing most subjects to life.
Riding the cablecar is going to be the school trip of choice, and no mistake.
Pupils will only be charged £1 for a return flight on the Emirates Air Line and accompanying adults will travel for free (adult to child ratio 1:9 at KS2 and above and 1:5 at KS1).
What an innovative idea to boost passenger numbers during the less busy midweek period.
The fare for children is £1 each for a single journey, a return journey or a ‘360 Tour’. Accompanying teachers/guardians will travel free up to the mandatory minimum ratios of adults to children. Additional adults will be charged the appropriate Oyster fare for their journey.
A bargain, I hope you'll agree.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London said: 'What better way to learn about our city's fascinating history than by travelling at 90 metres above the Thames on the Emirates Air Line, marvelling at its sleek design, whilst our fine Capital unfolds underneath?
What better way indeed. Apart from maybe going to South Kensington and looking round some proper museums.
'I am delighted that with the introduction of this special rate even more children can now enjoy one of London's transporting triumphs!'
If you're not yet convinced that this is the school trip for you, TfL have a webpage packed with useful background information to persuade you. There's even a detailed FAQ.
How long does a journey on the Emirates Air Line last? A single crossing takes approximately 10 minutes out of peak hours, and a 360 journey takes approximately 20 minutes at that time.
£1 for a 20 minute trip? That's not bad going... apart from the additional cost of actually getting to the cablecar in the first place.
Are bags allowed on the Air Line? You may bring personal luggage that you are able to carry yourself provided it is not dangerous or likely to injure or obstruct anyone and is not more than 2 metres in length.
Sorry, you may have to disappoint any students hoping to bring a sword or a flagpole with them.
Are there toilets? Neither terminal has toilet facilities. Toilet facilities are available at North Greenwich Underground station.
No toilets? Suddenly this is sounding like a less good venue for a school trip.
Can pregnant women travel on the Emirates Air Line? Pregnant women can travel on the Emirates Air Line. The Emirates Air Line reaches heights of 90 metres. Travelling is at our customers’ own discretion.
What a relief that pregnant members of the party, be they teachers or pupils, will still be able to take part.
How many people need to be in a group? There is no set minimum group size but there is a maximum group size of 400.
Hell yeah, why not bring the entire school?
Is there a “fast track” lane for booked school groups? Pre-booked school parties will be met upon arrival and escorted through to the platform level. They will be treated as a private party.
Take that as a friendly warning to other users of the cablecar. Come at the wrong time (that's between 9.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday) and you might get stuck behind a school party.
How long before my boarding time shall I arrive? Bookings are taken to fall within one hour timeslots. You should arrive within the timeslot booked.
You could get a class of 30 on board in under two minutes. A party of 400 is going to take rather longer.
Where do we collect our group tickets? It is simpler to collect Group tickets on arrival at the planned terminal, where a record of your booking is held.
Sorry? Simpler than what?
What happens if I lose or forget my tickets? The Emirates Air Line operator maintains a record of any Groups which have pre-booked flights. Upon presentation at the agreed terminal, the group leader, with appropriate personal identification will be met and the booking will be respected.
That is, seriously, truly excellent.
What if there are adverse weather conditions? The Emirates Air Line cable car system is designed to operate throughout the year and in most weather conditions. However, cable cars are not designed to operate in extreme weather conditions and, for comfort and safety reasons, the service may close due to:
o Threat of lightning and thunder - this may impact the service for a short time. The cable car system may close for less than 20 minutes, before the storm passes and service resumes.
o Very strong winds - this is likely to lead to a longer period of 'No Service' as wind speed tends to reduce at a gradual rate.
Be warned, you're booking a school trip that might be cancelled in the event of adverse weather conditions. There is the option for a refund, or to rebook, but essentially that's your day out ruined.
Is there a commentary on the Emirates Air Line? There are welcome messages on the Emirates Air Line, but no commentary. Many passengers enjoy the quietness of the journey at 90 metres above ground level. If you have any questions on any particular landmark you have seen, please ask our staff at either terminal – who will be happy to assist.
Passengers are unlikely to be enjoying the quietness of the journey when there's a school party aloft.
What will I see from the Emirates Air Line? Rising to a height of 90 metres the Emirates Air Line is a unique travel experience, giving spectacular views across the city and its river, including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. In the foreground you will see The O2, Canary Wharf, the Thames Barrier and the Crystal Building.
You could offer a very special prize, say ten house merit points, to any child who can actually spot St Paul's Cathedral from that distance.
Are pets allowed on the Emirates Air Line? With the exception of assistance dogs, animals must be carried at all times. Some animals may not be permitted. Please check with a member of staff before you purchase your boarding pass.
Don't even think of bringing the class guinea pig, because it won't be allowed on board.

As a bonus to teachers, TfL have carried out your Risk Assessment for you. Rest assured that a trip on the cablecar meets all the requirements of UK/European Standards BS EN 12929-1 Cableway General Requirements Guidance on Safe Practices HSG65.
Slips/ Trips/ Falls - The following hazards should be noted: steps and stairs, slowly moving cabin when boarding, wet flooring.
There is of course no risk of "falling from the cabin into the Thames", so long as you don't allow little Tyrone to fiddle with the doors.
Whilst there are no high level areas per se, those who suffer from vertigo may find the experience uncomfortable.
There are high level areas, obviously. Just not per se.
Guests are enclosed in the cabin for between four and ten minutes and whilst the cabin is airy and able to accommodate the number of people who have been boarded by our Air Line teams, some individuals may feel confined. However the cabin cannot be defined as a confined space.
According to the legal definition a small cabin dangling 90m above the Thames is not a confined space. Tell that to your eight year-old having a panic attack mid-crossing.

If all this has inspired you, you might want to print out this colourful poster and stick it on your staffroom wall.
Inspiring journeys at the Emirates Air Line
Feed your imagination with a breathtaking flight over London. Watch geography, science and creative writing come to life!
And it's not only these three subjects which can benefit.
The Emirates Air Line schools scheme offers many educational benefits. The design and construction phases of Emirates Air Line involved many departments. As a consequence, a journey on the Emirates Air Line should be a cross-curricular experience.
I have to say, the last time I was on the cablecar that's exactly what I was thinking.

There's especially good news if you're a KS4 Geography teacher, because the kind folk at TfL have put together a lesson plan on the theme of "Urban Regeneration: The Docklands". It includes the following observational suggestions.
Students need to be split into different groups and collect evidence on the day:
Group A: London Docklands pre-1960s and the River Thames - Students to look around and to collect evidence of the pre-1960 era (derelict buildings, Tate & Lyle factory, Beckton Gas Works holder structure – all visible from the Emirates Air Line)
Group B: Regeneration in East London - Students to look around and to collect evidence of private-sector investment (Canary Wharf, O2 Arena, The Crystal – all visible from the Emirate Air Line).
Group C: Transport Infrastructure - Students to look around and to collect evidence of different modes of transport in the Docklands area.
Group C would be ideal for all your special needs students, by the sound of it.
Flights must be booked in advance through Emirates Air Line Schools Groups booking line or email address. (School Group Fare does not apply where no advance booking has been made).
You do actually have to be a proper school. Don't think you can just turn up in North Greenwich with a group of nine children and expect to take them across for a pound each.
Bookings are subject to availability.
Better hurry, then, before all the best timeslots go.

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