Cancellation of Kenya trip 'only viable option' says school head
- Credit: Active Learning Trust/Facebook/Neale Wade Academy
A secondary school said they are “disappointed” to cancel an overseas trip for their pupils organised by a travel provider amid an ongoing row with the firm.
Fifteen pupils from Neale-Wade Academy in March were meant to be travelling to Kenya this summer as part of a four-week expedition in partnership with Camps International.
But despite Kenya being listed on the government’s red list, meaning entering the UK from that country is banned due to Covid-19 restrictions, the trip provider has allegedly asked parents to pay the remaining balance by tomorrow (Saturday).
“We are disappointed to have to make the decision today to defer this trip with Camps International until next year," Graham Horn, principal at Neale-Wade Academy, said.
"However, we felt this was the only viable option left for the school.
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“It is also done with the health and safety of the students in mind due to the ongoing uncertainty around travel abroad with Kenya currently on the UK ‘red list’ for travel.”
Despite not confirming whether their trips will go ahead this year, Camps International had allegedly told parents to pay £2,000 by May 1 or risk losing the money paid to date.
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The move has sparked criticism from parents, including one who believes the decision to still charge parents is “completely absurd”.
Camps International had said if payment is not received on or before May 1, that pupil’s place would be lost and all payments received up to that point would not be refunded.
But in a statement published on their website today (Friday), it said: “For clarity, if nearer the time Government and FCDO advice constrains us from travelling, we of course will refund in full.
“The vast majority of our schools who were previously due to travel this summer have now made an early decision to either cancel or defer to 2022.”
The statement continued: “For those schools that have cancelled, they are typically claiming any unrecoverable costs through insurance.
“Most however, have elected to defer and we will spread any remaining payments between now and the new travel dates.”
Staff at Neale-Wade Academy are now working with parents to prevent any more payments being made to Camps International.
Mr Horn added: “The school has enjoyed a strong relationship with Camps International in the past resulting in a number of successful trips abroad, which makes their recent lack of clear communication to the school and parents all the more disappointing.”