ISTA EVENT CODE OF CONDUCT

2023-2024


For festivals

Code of conduct for young people at festivals

● Respect the laws, customs, culture and people of the host country.
● Respect and abide by any rules or instructions that are given to you by your host family or host school.
● Be kind and respectful to all students, teachers and artists attending the event.
● Ensure that your attitude and behaviour is appropriate throughout the event.
● Comply with the curfew time set by ISTA. This is 10:00pm for high school students and 9:00pm for middle school /primary school students.
● Do not leave your host family’s home or the host school premises without being accompanied by a teacher or member of your host family unless you have been given prior permission by either of the above.
● Do not travel in a taxi or use public transport without being accompanied by a member of your host family or a teacher unless you have been given prior permission by either of the above.
● Do not go anywhere unaccompanied by a responsible adult unless your teacher or adult member of your host family has first given you permission to do so.
● Do not travel in vehicles which are driven by students of the host school.
● Ensure you are dressed appropriately at all times.
● Do not consume alcohol, tobacco (including electronic cigarettes) or drugs (aside from those which have been lawfully prescribed to you in respect of a medical condition) at any time for the duration of the ISTA event (this includes time spent away from the host school, at your host family’s home, an excursion or otherwise).
● Be kind and respectful to your host family and their own heritage and culture.
● Respect your peers and your teachers by being punctual and participating in the event to the best of your ability and with full commitment.
● Report any unusual circumstances, inappropriate behaviour or concerns directly to your teacher as soon as possible.

Important to note
● Sanctions will be imposed if you do not adhere to the above conduct, up to and including removal from the ISTA event.
● ISTA and the host school/venue take no responsibility for the loss or theft of any personal effects. It is your responsibility to safeguard these.

 


TaPS Perspectives

Code of conduct for young people at TaPS

● Respect the laws, customs, culture and people of the host country.
● Respect and abide by any rules or instructions that are given to you by ISTA, your teacher or venue staff.
● Be kind and respectful to all students, teachers and artists attending the event.
● Ensure that your attitude and behaviour is appropriate throughout the event.
● Do not leave the venue without being accompanied by a teacher unless you have been given prior permission by your teacher.
● Do not travel in a taxi or use public transport without being accompanied by your teacher unless you have been given prior permission by your teacher.
● Do not go anywhere unaccompanied by a responsible adult unless your teacher has first given you permission to do so.
● Do not travel in vehicles which are driven by students of the host school.
● Ensure you are dressed appropriately at all times.
● Do not consume alcohol, tobacco (including electronic cigarettes) or drugs (aside from those which have been lawfully prescribed to you in respect of a medical condition) at any time for the duration of the ISTA event (this includes time spent away from the venue, at your hotel, an excursion or otherwise).
● Respect your peers and your teachers by being punctual and participating in the event to the best of your ability and with full commitment.
● Report any unusual circumstances, inappropriate behaviour or concerns directly to your teacher as soon as possible.

Important to note
● Sanctions will be imposed if you do not adhere to the above conduct, up to and including removal from the ISTA event.
● ISTA and the venue take no responsibility for the loss or theft of any personal effects. It is your responsibility to safeguard these.

 


For hotel stay events

Hotel code of conduct

ISTA maintains that it is the responsibility of visiting teachers to ensure the safety of their students if staying at a hotel during an ISTA event.
ISTA will source a hotel in conjunction with the host and based on local knowledge and online/personal recommendations/reviews. We will endeavour to always book a hotel that is clean, quiet and conveniently located.

It will be the responsibility of the visiting school to finalise their schools’ booking and pay for it, as per the instructions on the event webpage.

ISTA has a detailed student code of conduct for us during our events and these can be found in the relevant visiting school agreement letter, as well as above.

ISTA expects that for all hotel based events students:
1. Will respect the laws, customs, culture and people where the hotel is located.
2. Will respect the hotel, treat it as such and should not take part in any activities that would cause disruption/damage to rooms and communal spaces.
3. Will be kind and respectful towards hotel staff.
4. Will respect that other guests, many of whom will not be part of ISTA, will also be staying at the hotel.
5. Will reduce noises, including but not limited to, shouting, increased volume on televisions and constant in and out of rooms with doors slamming.
6. Will not under any circumstances except in exceptional circumstances and after the full permission of adults in charge, enter the rooms of other students, especially those from other schools.
7. Will ensure they get plenty of sleep so that they are engaged and refreshed for ISTA activities each day. While we acknowledge schools staying in the same hotel may have different expectations regarding ‘lights out’ times; all schools must adhere to the ISTA policy over and above individual school policies, this is outlined in the code of conducts linked above.
8. Will not leave the hotel at any time unless permission is given from their teachers.
9. Will not under any circumstances communicate with or invite strangers into their rooms.
10.Will not consume alcohol, tobacco (including electronic cigarettes) or drugs (aside from those which have been lawfully prescribed to you in respect of a medical condition) at any time.

This code of conduct has been created so that the hotel experience is enjoyable and free from issues for all involved. We appreciate that all schools have different rules for hotel stays but it is important that this document is followed and that teachers ensure students have read and understood its contents before travelling to an ISTA event.

 


For homestay events

Host housing policy

A: The benefits of the host housing model
As an integral part of ISTA’s mission we aim to empower young people to become more connected, to take on challenges and to act for peace. Increasing cultural awareness, tolerance and understanding of others is a key part of this mission. Staying with host families at an ISTA festival actively contributes to the achievement of our mission. The generosity of host families opening their doors to strangers who inevitably become friends, often life long friends, is a magnanimous gesture that we treasure. It is also a gesture that offers the young person staying with a unique experience socially and culturally; that we believe helps them grow and learn as young adults. Getting to know another family, its traditions and mores; sharing family time whether it be over a meal or simply in conversation; spending time exploring the host city through the eyes of the host family; are all invaluable experiences that contribute to the ISTA offer.

We hear time and again of the lifelong friendships forged through the housing experience in addition to the impact an ISTA festival has had on a young person. Memories and stories remain clear decades down the line demonstrating the resonance ISTA has on a young person through to adulthood.

While we are beginning to explore options for the production of ISTA festivals where accommodation is based in a hotel or hostel we realise this is a more expensive option and some ISTA member schools cannot afford this.

In order to meet the needs of our member schools we will continue to produce festivals where the host housing option is offered; and will do so with the utmost care, with due diligence and an awareness of international communities and their policies and practices within the context of host housing.

B: How we manage risk within the context of host housing
In order to provide clarity on ISTA’s position with regard to housing we have consulted with a number of international schools; Athletics/Activities Directors responsible for organising international events at their schools; as well as a number of other international organisations producing events where students travel from overseas and are ‘billetted’ with families from the host school.

ISTA and the host school are not in a position to have every family police checked. However, there are a number of clear and tangible steps that both ISTA and the host school can put into place prior to and during the running of an ISTA festival. These, we are confident, do much to reduce any potential risk for the young person involved and demonstrate due diligence on the part of ISTA and the host school.

The host school

• Has a knowledge of the families within its community and if concerns are known about certain families, the host school will not invite these families to host.
• Will hold meetings with prospective families to outline expectations and responsibilities for housing.
• Will set out for families the content of the festival and expectations with regard to sleeping arrangements, meals and transport.
• Will encourage hosting families to make contact with their visiting students and their families ahead of the festival.
• Will share all relevant contact details with the hosting family so that if there are issues the host and then the relevant visiting teacher can be contacted.
• Will, where possible, host students in pairs from their own school. We cannot guarantee this at every festival and there will be occasions with uneven numbers and families who can only house one student, where a student will be on their own with the host family and its children. In this situation we will ask teachers ahead of time to identify students who they feel are mature and comfortable enough to be on their own with the host family.

ISTA

• Shares template letters that have been used by previous hosts to help hosts set out expectations of host families.
• Supports hosts 100% in the planning of the festival – to ensure housing responsibilities are met in a timely and thorough manner.
• Has a clear housing policy that all participants are made aware of. Please see below.
• Ensures that housing information is sent out to visiting schools 2-1 week prior to the festival so visiting families can make contact with their hosts and start to build a relationship.
• Shares diet and health information as well as any special needs/requests with the host community so that young people can be placed accordingly with families.
• Allocates time in its daily schedule for teachers to meet with their students to talk about the housing experience and ascertain if there are any issues.
• Requests visiting schools to have the mobile phone numbers of all their students and vice versa, in order for contact to be made at any time.
• Hires a Rep as part of its leadership team at a festival. The Rep is an experienced ISTA practitioner/teacher/leader who ensures the smooth running of the festival and resolves any issues that arise in line with ISTA policy. This includes any and all housing issues. Part of ISTA’s Rep training is to empower Reps to manage, resolve (and if possible avoid in the first place) any conflicts or tensions with regard to housing.
• Ensures that any issues that do arise with regard to housing are resolved in a timely, fair, honest and collaborative manner.

C: ISTA’s festival housing policy

ISTA believes that staying with a family from the host school is an integral part of the ISTA festival experience. It is important for the success and risk management of the ISTA festival that host families be consistent regarding the rules for housing and student participation. Host schools are asked to ensure that all hosting families clearly understand what is expected of them (particularly in relation to the Processing of any Personal Data).

  1. Visiting students should, where possible, be housed together. We understand that in some communities families may only be able to house one student. This is acceptable as we are dependent on the host school to provide beds whether students stay with someone from their own school or whether they are housed on their own with a student from the host school.

It is the responsibility of the visiting school to inform parents that we are in the hands of the hosts and in order to fulfil their hosting duties it may be necessary for students to stay with a family without another student from their school.

2. The prime responsibility is for the host school and host families to ensure the safety of the students in their care. We ask that all steps be taken to ensure that no one in the host household (older siblings, relatives, domestic staff etc) could pose any risk to the students.

3. Host families will always be clear on their commitments with regard to:
• number of nights hosting;
• transport arrangements;
• schedule (in particular start of day and close of day timings);
• meals (number of breakfasts, any packed lunches, evening dinners etc);
• any specific, pertinent information on the student(s) they are housing.

It is the responsibility of the host to communicate any specific, pertinent information on the student(s) they are hosting to the host family. This information is included on the hosting document sent to hosts five weeks prior to the festival. The information must be given by the visiting schools when completing the registration form.

4. ISTA has a letter of agreement which all visiting schools must sign prior to attending.

It is the responsibility of the visiting schools to ensure students and parents have read the necessary relevant appendices in the letter of agreement.

5. Hosting information is sent to the host five weeks prior to the festival. The host will then send the housing lists to the Event Manager no less than two weeks prior to the event. Details will include:
• family name;
• telephone number(s) (for emergency purposes only);
• full postal address.

It is the responsibility of the Event Manager to send out full housing lists with contact details to the visiting schools at least two-one week prior to the festival.

Visiting schools must not, under any circumstances, make changes to the housing lists once issued nor can any contact be made directly to the host or host families to request changes. Should there be any concerns upon receipt of the housing lists an email should be sent by the teacher in charge of the trip, directly to the Event Manager.

6. Host families are asked to report any inappropriate behaviour or concerns as soon as they can directly to the festival host.

It is the responsibility of the host to discuss any concerns with the relevant visiting teacher and ISTA Rep and to, jointly, determine a course of action.

7. The host school is required to provide housing for the nights of the festival only. These are always noted on the specific festival webpage.

It is the responsibility of the visiting schools to find hotel/hostel accommodation for any additional nights.

Tom Scott
Director of Operations
April 2023