Latest update on future residential visits
Governors have discussed the current situation regarding all proposed school visits. They have taken note of Home Office advice which states that ‘currently there is no restriction on travel’. We have also contacted the various travel companies who are giving us the same message. Further down this letter you will be able to read the transcript we have received from WST travel, who we are using for our Birmingham, Manchester and London trips.
Whilst we appreciate the concerns raised by parents and we always follow Home Office guidance with respect to visits. We fully respect any parent who wishes to withdraw their child from the planned activities. Unfortunately, insurance does not cover acts of terrorism. The school is not in a position to offer a refund from their monies. However, WST Travel have stated they will give a 30% refund for claims received by 9.00 am Monday, 12th June 2017. Apologies for the tight timescales involved but this is out of our control. With respect to the Disneyland trip – SQT’s date for partial refund has already closed and sadly, we cannot recoup any of the costs of this trip.
The staff going on these trips are committed to still going so we have no issue in this regard. Our next steps over the coming weeks are to review all activities to see if any changes can be made to reduce the risk should there be any further incidents. For example the Manchester trip have moved some activities out of the City Centre and have found alternative venues. This is going to take some time but we will make you aware of any changes.
We appreciate this is a difficult situation that is affecting many schools up and down the country. At this moment in time the final decision lies with parents/carers as to whether their child attends the planned residential visit. We are reviewing the Home Office and Foreign Office advice on a daily basis and should the position change, we will take appropriate action.
The information received from WST travel is as follows:-
At this stage, any pupils pulling out of the trip would lose 70% of the tour cost:-
As per the booking confirmation letter, please see the cancellation Schedule – this is so you are aware of the cancellation policy in the unforeseen event that a pupil may have to withdraw from the trip.
Loss of first deposits 28/10/2016 – Plus theatre ticket cost
Loss of all deposits 16/12/2016
70% cancellation 04/05/2017
100% cancellation 13/06/2017
Insurance companies do not cover acts of terrorism unfortunately, so it would be 100% cancellation charge after 13 June 2017 as this would be classed as disinclination to travel.
We are closely monitoring the situation but as your trip is still 5 weeks away it is difficult to foresee how things will be at that point. We absolutely want to work with you and should it be unsafe to travel closer to your travel date we would look at options for you at that point regarding the best course of action.
I completely understand it is a difficult decision, but please remember we are here to help you and support you in any way we can.
I hope the following will help alleviate some of the anxieties that the parents/governors may have.
In the first instance please know that, school groups are not the specifically the targets of terrorists. However the global situation means the chance of being caught up in a terrorist attack, at home or away, is a risk faced by us all. Since school groups are no more at risk than the rest of us per se, it is important that these risks are kept in perspective and managed in a thoughtful and proportionate way.
At WST we are committed to the safety of your group. We are full members of the school travel forum and adhere to its rigorous codes of practice and safety management. We constantly monitor government travel advice and are kept up to date with local and international news.
There is a website to check prior to travel, this gives up to date advice from the UK Government on all foreign countries – https://www.gov.uk/travelaware
We completely understand, sometimes it’s difficult to remember millions of people visit/work/live in London every single day. Most of these people will encounter very few problems in their life time. I sincerely hope that the group and parents can focus on the amazing experience you are going to have, the unforgettable memories you will make and just have fun. Please remember, WST is here to help and support before, during and after your tour experience.
We understand this is a difficult situation and fully sympathise if parents/carers feel they need to withdraw their child from the visit. Please give or send your written notification to withdraw your child to Mrs McNally in the Main Office by 9.00am on Monday 12th June 2017 so that we may forward the information to the travel company.
Mr DA Shield