Youth hostels are already popular bases for school groups - now they are trying to lure the teachers back on their own. The cheap accommodation, the on-site classrooms and the settings make youth hostels ideal venues for in-service or governor training. For example, a group of General National Vocational Qualification leisure and tourism lecturers were recently enticed to the hostel at Sheringham, Norfolk.
The Youth Hostels Association still has some work to do to convince adults that conditions are less harsh than they used to be. In its 1997 Groups Away brochure, there are encouraging references to central heating and en suite bathrooms, television rooms and barbecue pits. Work facilities include videos,projectors and flipcharts.
"The problem is that people think they know what youth hostels are like, " says Paul Evans, one of two YHA advisers who will be available at the Education Show. "In fact our new hostels, at Ironbridge and Conway, in particular, are very comfortable. We are attracting more groups of teachers and lecturers, and, of course, we still welcome students from primary through to university. "
Hostels continue to be popular venues for project work and pre-GCSE study sessions. The YHA activity centres at Edale and Llangollen offer bespoke programmes for each group. Courses taught by qualified instructors include caving, gorge walking and - more terrifying - group development.
* The 1997 Groups Away guide is free from YHA, Trevelyan House,8 St Stephen's Hill, St Albans, Herts AL1 2DY. Tel: 01727 855215.
Education Show stand SJ21