— 27 Aug 2020 08:20:13 by Kate Moore
The Foreign Office updates its global travel and quarantine advice on a weekly basis and the current situation is very fluid, with countries being added and removed from the exemption list on a weekly basis.
This guide explains the current travel advice and summarises the options for school groups with an upcoming booking. The information below is based on advice from a broad range of experts, in particular the School Travel Forum, ABTA, DfE and the Association of British Insurers.
Parents please note that we are in contact with all the groups booked to depart in the autumn term and so please talk directly to the school if you are concerned about your child's specific trip.
We take our lead from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the government authority on safety, security and entry requirements for British people travelling overseas.
Despite lifting travel and quarantine restrictions to France earlier in the summer, the Foreign Office is currently advising against all but essential travel to France. The Foreign Office's advice is under constant review and so we are in regular contact with all the groups booked for the autumn term to keep them updated.
You can also read the latest update for people travelling to France on the FCDO website.
If, when your group is due to depart, the FCDO continues to advise against travel to France, then we would work with you to postpone the trip to a later date or find you a suitable alternative. If that proves impossible, we will cancel your trip and your group will be eligible for a refund.
Once France is exempted from the FCDO non-essential travel advice, then your group is free to travel and we will honour your booking.
However, we understand that groups might still be reluctant to travel at this time and so we are offering schools, planning to travel in the autumn term, the chance to transfer their booking to 2021. Not only does this remove any uncertainty about the upcoming trip, but also means that parents need pay nothing more until next year.
Alternatively, you could consider cancelling your trip, but this option hinges on your school's insurance because your group will incur cancellations charges as per our booking conditions. We’ve provided more information about how to claim for lost deposits in the insurance section below.
We are expecting to cap the number of groups staying at the Chateau at any one time which means that if you cancel your 2020 booking, we cannot guarantee to hold your preferred dates next year. At the moment, we are giving first priority to groups who transfer their group booking to 2020.
We are making arrangements to reopen the Chateau to school groups once travel restrictions have been eased. The safety of our school groups and staff is our utmost priority and the protective measures we put in place at the Chateau will cap the number of schools groups we can accommodate and so availability will be limited, at least in the short term.
We appreciate that this is a complex decision and so if you have any questions, or would prefer to talk through the options by phone, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The Outdoor Advisors Panel (OEAP) and The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) has been working to help groups claim on their school's insurance insurance for trips which can't go ahead due to school closure. They issued the following statement which has been signed off by the Department for Education:
For domestic visits and visits abroad, which have had to be cancelled as a result of government advice, the advice from the DfE is to contact your insurer.
For those schools who have committed to educational visits which can now not go ahead, the government’s advice issued is sufficient and will allow schools to make an insurance claim against their policy. This includes more complex overseas expeditions, where the duration of school closure and the subsequent lack of organisational and preparation time with the students may mean that a future expedition has become unviable for a school to undertake safely even after the school re-opens.
Outdoor Advisors Panel and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
Joint statement published 25 March 2020
The RPA includes cover for school trip cancellation and the DfE has confirmed that members of the RPA can claim for trips cancelled due to government advice. For more information click on the link below:
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced information on travel insurance and school insurance implications following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. If you have any further questions about your cover or would like further reassurance, you should contact your travel insurance provider.
FCO coronavirus travel advice:
The latest advice regarding educational trips for children under 18 is contained in the DfE's guidance for full schools opening.
The DfE has also published general travel advice for all educational settings in May 2020.
Our full terms and conditions regarding accommodation for your trip can be found at: https://www.the-chateau.com/safety/the-company/class-tours-limited-booking-conditions/
Our full terms and conditions regarding transport for your trip can be found at: https://www.the-chateau.com/safety/the-company/castaway-school-travel-booking-conditions/