NCS The Challenge

NCS The Challenge is a three part programme for 15 to 17 year olds to take on new challenges, develop new skills and meet new people. Running during summer and half-term, the programme involves a short time away from home, trying new things as well as taking part in a team project in the local community and much more!

Are you in Year 11 and unsure about NCS?

Mr Fletcher is a keen advocate of NCS. Here he provides further information for those still unsure whether it is for them.

When I look back on school, the best things I remember are the extra-curricular opportunities we experienced. Taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh programme, numerous sports teams, school trips and even productions made school an enjoyable experience and provided me with fantastic experiences. At TGAK we strive to provide you with similar opportunities and the NCS is something I would have relished taking part in. You are fortunate to have this opportunity and having spoken to previous students who have taken part, I don’t want a single CTC student to miss out.
NCS offers CTC students an unbelievable opportunity to experience a “Whitemoor Lakes” type adventure holiday (except better), experience of University life in University accommodation learning about something that interests you and then working with other NCS friends on a group project.
The NCS experience costs £1500 to provide. However, thanks to government funding you can enjoy all this for only £35! Universities and employers really like NCS and participation in NCS will increase your chances of a successful application. It is important to remember that for most year 11 youngsters, this summer will be one of the longest holidays you have ever had as you break up after their last exam and do not return to TGAK until early September. You have longer than six weeks so please make the most of it and take the Challenge!

Ex-Year 12 International Baccalaureate student Jack Vasey looks back on his involvement in NCS and the impact it has had on him.
Read Jacks’ Story

Together with my colleagues at NCS we have answered the questions you have asked. Should you have anything you are unsure about, please speak to me or email me ( and we will answer your questions.
There are a range of accommodation options available during NCS, and the specific accommodation will vary by programme. Details of the accommodation for each programme will be sent out to participants approximately one month before the programme start date.
All our accommodation is single gender (for example separate dormitory rooms, yurts, tents, and so on) and comes with all the necessary amenities, such as access to showers and power plugs. Some accommodation, including bathrooms, may be shared with other young people, but it will only be with participants of the same gender.
Young people can sign up with friends, and if they apply for the same date in the same area, and attend the same school, they have a good chance of being on the same programme. Once they have both signed up, the young people can request to be on the same team. We will then do our best to take this into consideration. Although we cannot guarantee they will be on the same programme, signing up early will increase the chances of this.
NCS is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Young people can let us know that they would like to share a room with their friend who has signed up to the same programme as them once signed up! We will need to know the name of the young person and the friend they wish to share with. Please note: we will try our best to accommodate these requests but we cannot guarantee them.  Accommodation on NCS is single gender and so we cannot accommodate room sharing requests for young people of different genders.
Please remember that the majority of young people’s time on NCS will be spent on exciting daytime activities, so please don’t let the accommodation arrangements stop you from taking up this unique opportunity!
The packing list will be included in the NCS info packs that we send to young people with confirmed places and their parents or guardians. We send these out approximately one month before the start of the programme. Parents or guardians will receive their programme packs either by email or by post, usually depending on the preference they selected on the application. Young people will receive their own information pack by email. We provide any special equipment for NCS activities, so you do not have to buy any of this. Please note that we are unable to insure personal belongings.
Each NCS programme takes place within the UK. We are aware that you will be keen to find out the locations for your programme but we can only send out further information about the exact locations approximately one month before the start date of each programme. This is because we can only send this information once the venues have been confirmed for each of our many programmes.
Participants will need to travel to a meeting point which is usually within or near to their local area. We will then arrange transport to take young people to any venues that are further away. Young people and their parents or guardians are responsible for organising their travel between home and the meeting points at the start and return times which will be shown on their timetable.
Programme Solihull:
Part 1 (staying away from home) 18 June – 22 June
Part 2 (staying away from home) 25 June – 29 June
Part 3 (staying at home at night) 3 July – 6 July
Programme Solihull:
Part 1 (staying away from home) 26 June – 30 June
Part 2 (staying away from home) 3 July – 7 July
Part 3 (staying at home at night) 11 July – 14 July
Programme Solihull:
Part 1 (staying away from home) 7 July – 11 July
Part 2 (staying away from home) 14 July – 18 July
Part 3 (staying at home at night) 23 July – 26 July
Programme Solihull
Part 1 (staying away from home) 15 July – 19 July
Part 2 (staying away from home) 22 July – 26 July
Part 3 (staying at home at night) 31 July – 3 August
Programme Solihull
Part 1 (staying away from home) 27 July – 31 July
Part 2 (staying away from home) 3 August – 7 August
Part 3 (staying at home at night) 11 August – 14 August
Programme Solihull:
Part 1 (staying away from home) 7 August – 11 August
Part 2 (staying away from home) 14 August – 18 August
Part 3 (staying at home at night) 22, 23, 24&26 August
*Please note that some NCS programmes follow a slightly different timetable to the above. We will send confirmation of exact dates once we have confirmed your place on a particular programme.
NCS is great value for money. The Government invests over £1500 per participant, so we can ensure that the programme costs you no more than a £50 administration fee! For CTC Kingshurst, we have offered a further discount of £35 for the entire programme. This discount ends 21.1.16! After this date, the price goes back to £50, but we offer financial assistance when necessary, as money should not be a barrier. This includes accommodation, food (when on a residential part), transport from and back to the meeting points, and equipment for NCS activities.
To help prevent young people from missing out on this unique opportunity, they can be placed on a waiting list if spaces are not initially available. Young people can be added to multiple waiting lists if they are able to attend different programme dates. Though we can’t guarantee it, young people on a waiting list are likely to be offered a place. This is because places do become available due to others finding that they are no longer able to attend, for example due to holidays. If a place becomes available, we will contact you as soon as possible.
If we are unable to offer a place to a young person on any of their selected dates, a refund can be requested at any time, no matter when the payment was made.  This means that if the young person never gets offered a place on the programme, you can of course get a refund.
Young people are allowed to bring their mobile phones with them on the NCS programme and will be able to use them when activities are not taking place (using mobile phones during activity time is not allowed). However, please note that there may not always be mobile phone reception, especially during Part 1, which is usually based in the countryside. Please note that we are not able to insure personal belongings so young people who bring their mobile phones do so at their own risk. All our accommodation comes with the necessary amenities, such as access to power sockets, showers, etc. Regardless of the type of accommodation on their particular programme, participants will have access to power sockets and so should be able to charge their phones. Please note that, whilst there will be access to power sockets in tented village accommodation, this will be very limited.
We review each young person’s application on a case-by-case basis, with every young person’s safety as our main concern. When we are told that a young person has difficulty with following clear rules and boundaries, we gather information from parents or guardians, and in some cases schools, doctors or other specialists, to come to a decision about each individual young person and how much support they may need on NCS.
In some cases, we may put extra staff support in place for a young person. In all cases, we will make relevant staff aware of any challenging behaviour so that they can support the young person, and the whole team. We also have a ‘code of conduct’ which is explained to young people at the start of the programme, and which we expect them to follow. This contains some rules about the behaviour we expect on the programme, including following safety rules and the law, and respecting and including other people. If a young person does seriously or persistently break the code of conduct, then staff will assess the situation and decide on the most appropriate action. In some cases, the young person may be asked to leave the programme.

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