All your COVID-19 school travel questions answered

We that understand some teachers, SLTs and parents may be daunted by all the ‘what if' questions associated with planning a school trip to France. But don’t worry, we are here to help and the Q&A below will guide you through the main questions you need answered. Read on for more information on our safety measures, the extra flexibility and financial protection provided by our Peace of Mind of Promise, and details of our optional COVID-19 school trip insurance cover.

French learners have missed out on so much and so we can't wait to organise a language trip to Normandy to help plug knowledge gaps and rebuild confidence. It’s time to join the growing number of schools, representing thousands of travellers, who have secured their French school trip for 2022.

Planning your next school trip

What is the government advice regarding school trips?

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that schools in England can now book trips abroad with providers who offer suitable financial protection. You can read the full DfE advice here.

Can you guarantee my previous slot at the Château or La Grand’ Ferme?

We will always try to accommodate our most loyal groups but we cannot guarantee your previous slot. We therefore strongly recommend that you talk to us very soon to avoid disappointment later down the line, especially if you have a particular week in mind

The majority of groups who stayed with us in 2019 have now secured their place in 2022 place and many of these schools are sending larger groups of combined year groups so that no students miss out on their French trip. We are also taking calls from French teachers wanting to switch from our other programmes, such as Paris Parle, to the security of the Château and La Grand’ Ferme. This means that the most sought-after dates are already filled. 

What if our plans change?

To give groups the confidence to secure their French trip to Normandy, we have introduced our COVID-19 Peace of Mind Promise which gives you the flexibility to change your trip up to 28 days before departure as well as guaranteeing a full refund if your trip has to be cancelled because of DFE advice or quarantine rules. Click here to find out more.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have had to reorganise the travel plans of hundreds of groups, but over this challenging period we have retained the goodwill of our customers which is a testament to our personal approach.

What happens if someone gets ‘pinged’ before the trip?

Our school trip insurance has been upgraded to include cover for COVID-19 and this includes cover for an individual who has to pull out of their French trip because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or they have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate. Read more about our Travel Insurance cover with COVID-19 cover.

What if someone tests positive on the trip?

You can take out our school trip insurance to protect against someone in your group testing positive for COVID-19 on the trip. This means that any extra medical, travel and accommodation expenses resulting from testing positive are covered. The expenses of a parent travelling to France to accompany their child until they are able to travel home are also covered. Read more about our Travel Insurance cover with COVID-19 cover.

Be reassured that we have processes in place to manage an individual testing positive including designated rooms for children and their parents, and access to further testing. Our centre managers are also on hand to liaise with local medical services as required. Read more about our Group Safety and Wellbeing protocols.

What if something happens or rules change while we’re abroad?

Our local French team is responsible for the immediate safety and wellbeing of your group and so if you have a problem, they will resolve it for you. Our UK travel team provide 24/7 support and are on standby if you need to change your travel plans at short notice. By having our own properties in France, our own coach company, and long-standing relationships with airlines and ferry companies, we have the connections to get you home quickly and safely if need be.

What if someone drops out of the trip?

If you take out our school trip insurance, a teacher or student is covered if they have to pull out of the trip because they test positive for COVID-19 or because they have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate. Read more about our school travel insurance with COVID-19 cover.

If a student drops out for any other reason, for example their parent or guardian no longer wants them to take the trip, then insurance companies will class this as ‘disinclination to travel’ and it is unlikely you will be covered by any insurance. 

What if rules say we have to quarantine in France?

We will not run a school trip that requires the group to quarantine on arrival. If this is the case, we would first attempt to rearrange your trip to a later date or arrange a refund in full. Please see our COVID-19 Peace of Mind Promise for more details.

You can review the current testing and vaccination requirements for groups travelling to France here.

What if the rules in this country say we have to quarantine on our return?

Our COVID-19 Peace of Mind Promise has been introduced to protect new bookings against having to quarantine on their return due to the government traffic light system.

What flexibility and financial protection is offered by the Peace of Mind Promise?

To give schools the confidence to secure a new 2022 trip our COVID-19 Peace of Mind Promise allows groups to change their plans up to 28 days before departure and guarantees a refund for trips cancelled because of COVID, DfE advice or quarantine rules. Click here to find out more.

What are our rights to a refund?

If we have to cancel or significantly alter your trip due to Foreign Office (FCDO) advice, we will either provide a suitable alternative for your group or provide a full refund. We take this commitment very seriously and can report that every group that we had to cancel during the pandemic has either received a full refund or has been happy to postpone their trip to the following year.

What’s more, to give schools confidence to secure a new 2022 trip our COVID-19 Peace of Mind Promise guarantees a refund for trips cancelled within 28 days of departure because of COVID travel restrictions, DfE advice, or quarantine rules at destination or return. 

 

Does your trip insurance include cover for COVID-19?

Yes. If you choose our travel insurance, then members of your party will be covered if they miss the trip because they’ve contracted COVID-19 or been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace. They will also be insured for additional travel and accommodation expenses incurred after contracting COVID-19 while on the trip. This even includes the expenses incurred by a parent coming to France to look after the child until they are able to return home. Please see or Travel Insurance page for the full details of this valuable insurance cover.

COVID-19 safety protocols and risk assessment support

What protocols do you have in place at your centres?

Because groups stay at our centres and travel on our coaches, we have total autonomy over each element of the trip and we can ensure the highest standards of care. Our centres have been open to French school groups and domestic visitors, so you can be sure that our COVID-19 protocols have been tried and tested.

We fully comply with the safety standards set out by the English and French authorities including staff vaccinations and testing. The fact that so many schools have already secured their 2022 French trip, demonstrates teachers' confidence in our standard of care and their belief in the educational value of our language programmes. See our COVID-19 Safety and Wellbeing page for more information to support your enhanced risk assessment.

We encourage you to see the new controls for yourself and can organise a subsidised inspection visit to France.

What if COVID-19 tests are required while in France?

By the time that most school trips to France resume, we expect life will have returned to something near normal. But, if it is a requirement that your group is tested while in France, we have organised for a private testing company to conduct onsite COVID testing at our language centres for €15 per pupil. Please see the current testing and vaccination requirements for groups travelling to France.

General questions

Is my booking financially secure?

Yes. We are part of Voyager School Travel which is a diverse and robust business that includes hotels in France and a coach company, as well our language centres in Normandy. During the pandemic we hosted French holidaymakers and the Château was transformed into an 'English Manor' for French schools to improve their English language skills. All of these things allowed us to continue operating while UK schools were unable to travel to France.

Hundreds of schools, representing thousands of travellers, have also now transferred their bookings to 2022 so you can be confident that our group is financially secure and your money is safe.

What happened to the French centres and staff while UK schools weren’t able to travel?

Though we haven’t been able to host UK school groups at our centres, we have managed to put our centres and centre staff to good use over the course of the pandemic. We have transformed our Normandy Château into an 'English Manor' where French school children can enjoy an immersive English language and British cultural experience without crossing La Manche. La Grand’ Ferme has also been booked with local domestic groups and French guests until UK school groups return to France.

At the same time our Normandy animateurs have been busy running our fantastic live online escape room from the Château so that our school groups can still enjoy a French immersive experience until they can travel abroad once more. 

Travel advice for schools

When will we be able to resume schools trips abroad?

The Department for Education (DfE) has now confirmed schools can resume school trips abroad from the autumn term subject to government and international travel restrictions. The DfE also lifted their restrictions on schools organising future trips, which means that schools are now free to book for 2022.

Please see the current testing and vaccination requirements for groups travelling to France.

I’ve got an upcoming trip – what are my options?

We are in contact with all group leaders with upcoming trips to discuss their options with regard to current travel rules. Schools with upcoming bookings can click here for more information. Please also see the current testing, vaccination and travel rules for groups travelling to France.

Where can I check the latest rules about travelling to and from France? 

Please see the current testing and vaccination requirements for groups travelling to France.

As France reopens to vaccinated visitors, we expect travel to have returned to something near normal by the time that most of our school groups are due to travel. As your trip approaches, we recommend that you read and understand the Foreign Office advice regarding entry requirements for France including what documentation and testing are required in advance of your trip and on return.

Be reassured that if the rules at the time of your visit prevent you from travelling, such as the need to quarantine on arrival, under the terms of our COVID-19 Promise, your group will be eligible for a full refund. Please see or COVID-19 Promise to read more.

 

More information from the COVID-19 Travel Hub

 

 

 

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