FAQs for Parents & Guardians

“Cohort is such a comfortable, safe environment that the students feel at home straight away. We really like their environmental ethos too.”

Mark Hughes, Hampstead School

Below is a compilation of questions we regularly hear. We’re always on the look out for more however so if there’s a question we haven’t answered please get in touch: Email reception on hello@stayatcohort.co.uk with the name of the school in the subject line. If your question relates to anything about the details of the school trip please refer back to your school trip organiser.

If you’d like to see pictures of Cohort please refer to the Gallery page on our main site.

Yes, all staff at Cohort are trained in first aid.

No, there are not fridges or tea / coffee making facilities in the room and we would ask that all perishables are stored in the communal kitchen.

The bar / cafe at Cohort is open 8am – 11pm and all students will have access to free tea & coffee in the morning (8am – 10am) and will be able to pay for soft drinks, hot drinks and snacks during bar opening hours.

Yes, all our staff are DBS checked, despite not directly engaging in any activities with children. They are also well trained in safeguarding measures and are fully committed to our safeguarding policies at Cohort.

Yes, anytime during reception hours which are 8am – 2pm and 4pm – 10pm. We can’t guarantee that we can get your child on the phone then and there but we can certainly pass on a message to a member of staff. The number is 01736 791664 and please select Option 2 for reception.

There is a self-catering kitchen at Cohort where medication can be stored, this is accessible 7am – 10pm. Should you need to access medication outside of these hours it can instead be stored in the fridge behind reception and your school trip organiser can arrange access (24 hour if necessary) with reception staff on arrival at Cohort.

Not from us! We will not serve alcohol to any students on an organised school trip unless everyone on the trip is over 18 and/or it has been agreed in advance with the trip organisers.

If staff at Cohort notice any student drinking alcohol or looking / behaving like they have drunk alcohol it will be immediately reported to the trip organiser. Same goes for illegal substances and in extreme cases the student may be asked to leave the premises. 

Shower blocks are cleaned thoroughly once a day, checked regularly throughout the day and cleaned again at night if needed.

Cohort is very safe. The front door is only unlocked when reception is staffed and if the school your child is travelling with has the whole hostel to themselves (this is always the case with primary schools) then the front door is kept locked the entire time. With primary schools, pupils are unable to leave the building without an adult.

All dorm rooms / bedrooms are lockable with each student issued their own key. In the case of primary schools all bedrooms are kept unlocked except for staff bedrooms. Teachers can also request keycard access to the children’s rooms if necessary. We have safeguarding policies in place and adhere to a high level of health & safety.

St Ives is a really safe environment and after 6 years of hosting school trips we haven’t had any instances where a group or member of a group has been a victim of crime – petty or otherwise.

Yes, all bedding is provided but not towels which can be hired from reception if required or forgotten; the cost is £1.75/towel.

The school your child is travelling with will have clear rules around whether students can go in the sea or not.

If they do, all the beaches in St Ives are lifeguarded from early in the morning until dusk. It also stays shallow for a long way out so your child does not need to be a strong swimmer to mess around in the water or even participate in a surf lesson where they very rarely find themselves in water past waist level and never out of their depth.

Yes, all bed linen, duvets and pillows are made of hypo-allergenic material and washed using hypo-allergenic detergent. We have never had someone have an allergic reaction to our linen.

Yes, there is the large and efficient Stennack Surgery just a few metres from Cohort, it’s open 8am – 8pm Monday – Friday with a drop-in Minor Injuries Clinic on site. Being in St Ives they are very used to dealing with non-residents and the staff there are lovely.

Yes, there are two. A Boots about a 3 minute walk from Cohort and an independent pharmacy a 5 minute walk away.

Yes, we have free, superfast WiFi throughout the entire building, including in all the bedrooms and outdoor communal areas.

This is a discussion to be had with the school; from our perspective we have no issue with this and have had parents / guardians stay either on site at the hostel or nearby in a local B&B. We are more than happy to help source or recommend a relevant accommodation if this is the case.

If the school has opted to have breakfast at Cohort it’s a self-service affair consisting of a selection of cereal, bread for toasting, jam / marmalade, orange / apple juice and tea / coffee. If your child is vegan / gluten free relevant options will be available. 

We also provide packed lunches (sandwich + a piece of fruit + a chocolate biscuit + a bag of crisps) and two course evening meals; both of which cater to all dietary requirements. The only thing to be aware of is that if your child is gluten free the option at lunch is a salad as the local bakery which supplies our lunches doesn’t yet offer gluten free sandwiches. 

Your child will get a list of what we provide from the school prior to the trip and where relevant will be able to choose options. We are always happy to discuss individual needs on a case by case basis; our aim is to be completely inclusive.

We have a cafe area which sells a small selection of snacks 8am – 2pm and 4pm – 10pm. 

Please note that we do not sell hot or freshly prepared food at Cohort.

This is extremely unlikely and has never happened in the history of us hosting school groups however if it were to occur all your child would need to do is go into the nearest shop / cafe and ask to be directed back to Cohort. All the businesses in town know the hostel and we’re also no more than a 10 minute walk away from anywhere they might end up.

We do not impose any restrictions on the way the school chooses to configure the bedrooms. If your child is more comfortable in a room with a group of the opposite sex then that is a discussion to be had with the school. 

To this end, if they feel more comfortable using the unisex facilities we will not impose any restrictions on that either provided the school trip organiser has full knowledge of the situation.

St Ives has around 40 eateries within a 10 minute walk of Cohort. If your child is on a school trip where they are expected to organise their own meals there are plenty of choices, from vegan salad bars through to Chinese takeaways and fish & chips. 

Most places cater for vegans and people with dietary restrictions such as gluten free and lactose intolerance. Never have you seen so many gluten-free, vegan pasties in one place.

If your child is a very picky eater or you’re on a tight budget then there are two Co-Op supermarkets just a few yards from Cohort and we have a fully-equipped, self-catering kitchen where they can prepare their own food.

It’s pretty good, there are very few places you can’t get 4G when you’re outside. If however the school trip takes the group out of St Ives towards the far West of Cornwall (coast path / Lands End, etc.) then there are a lot more areas where there is no phone signal at all.

We have 3 shower blocks; one male, one female and one unisex. All students are expected to use the single sex facilities while staff members use the unisex facilities. 

If the school group is small and does not have exclusive use of the hostel it is likely that they will be in the single-sex shower blocks at the same time as other guests. Please note that this does not apply to primary schools who always have exclusive use of the building and will never share facilities with other guests.

All showers are self-contained with private changing areas and we encourage students to bring dressing gowns / cover ups with them for going to and from the shower blocks.

No, never! There will never be a situation where students who are part of a school group will share a bedroom with anyone other than their fellow students.

If we can get in the door then bins will be emptied every day; if necessary (and if we can) we will sweep the floor of sand and get rid of any extraneous mess. Please note that this does not apply to primary schools where we will only service the rooms if asked to by the staff.