— 10 Sep 2021 10:25:09 by Kate Moore
Now that the DfE has given schools the greenlight to book French trips, here is the group safety and wellbeing information you need to support a risk assessment for your return trip to our language centres.
We are part of a diverse group which includes a leisure travel company, a coach company, as well as a hotel and other properties in France which have been rented out to private groups bringing in welcome additional income.
The Château team has adapted and diversified throughout the pandemic with our animateurs offering remote French language experiences to UK schools as well as launcing a new English language immersion programme for French school groups which was featured on French TV news.
So far, the majority of the school groups who stayed with us back in 2019 have now secured their visit in 2023, demonstrating teachers’ confidence in our standard of care and their faith in the benefits of our French immersion programmes.
We have been hard at work adapting our two Normandy centres so that we can welcome schools back as soon as they are able to travel. Although some things have changed, such as more stringent cleaning procedures, the core of our French immersion programmes have not changed.
The DfE's operational guidance states that organisers should undertake full and thorough risk assessments in relation to all educational visits and ensure that any public health advice, such as hygiene and ventilation requirements, is included as part of that risk assessment.
We have reviewed the required protocols set out by both the English and French governments to undertake a safe school residential trip. We can confirm that our French centres fully comply with the additional safety standards set out in both countries. Indeed, because our centres have been open to French school groups and domestic visitors, you can be sure that our COVID-19 protocols have been tried and tested. What's more, in line with French requirements, 100% of the staff in our French centres have been fully vaccinated.
The downloads below should provide enough evidence for you to complete an enhanced risk assessment for your next visit, but please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require specific information or have any questions.
COVID-19 safety protocols for school groups at Château de la Baudonnière & La Grand' Ferme
Download Pegasus Coaches COVID-19 passenger risk assessment
Download OEAP COVID-19 guidance for schools planning off-site visits
We reopened our Normandy centres to UK school groups in Autumn 2021 and teachers are in agreement—organising a trip is well worth the effort. Before then, the Château hosted domestic French school children who weren't able to travel to the UK. So you can be confident that when you return to Normandy, our procedures have been tried and tested.
Of course, if you would like to see the new controls for yourself, we can organise a subsidised inspection visit to the Château or La Grand' Ferme. Just get in touch to organise your visit.
Though the centres are booking up fast with postponed groups from 2020 and 2021, there is still time to reserve your place and have something positive for your students to look forward to. If your school is unsure about authorising your next trip, we recommend that you talk to us to reserve your dates now while you confirm things.
To read the latest travel advice for France and information about your current booking, please go to our French travel advice page.
Click here to read a summary of the DfE's school trip guidance.
Please note that this content is subject to change and was last updated on 26 April 2022.