Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advice
26 May 2020 11:49 by Nigel English
School trips and coronavirus - what next?
The current travel restrictions and school closures have generated questions from school staff, parents and pupils concerned about their upcoming school trip. This guide explains the current status of school travel and summarises the options for school groups with an existing 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 and as such, is consistent with other school travel providers and tour operators.
We are in contact with all the groups due to depart this summer term and so if you are a concerned parent, please contact the school directly about your child's specific trip.
Government travel advice
The government advises against any overseas or domestic trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings.
On 5 April, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised British nationals against all non-essential international travel for an indefinite period. The indefinite nature of the ban means that we must check the FCO advice on a daily basis to confirm that restrictions are still in place.
Trips imminently affected by the FCO travel ban
If the FCO travel advice is in place and your trip is due to depart imminently, which ABTA defines as the next few days, then in the first instance we would work with you to postpone the trip to a later date. If that proves impossible, your group is eligible for a refund. We are in contact with all schools with a trip due in the summer term. ..
Trips outside the current FCO travel restrictions
If your booking does not fall within the imminent FCO travel ban, then your group will need to keep up with their payments so that we can pass on final balances due to our suppliers. If parents are reluctant to do this, we are offering schools with trips planned in the summer term, the chance to transfer their booking to 2021. Not only does this remove any uncertainty about the trip going ahead, 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 if you cancel at this stage, you will lose your deposits as per our booking conditions. We’ve provided more information about how to claim on your insurance below.
Contacting your insurer
The Outdoor Advisors Panel (OEAP) and The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) has been working to help schools claim against their school insurance policy for trips which they are not able to take due to government advice. They issued the following statement which has been signed off by the DfE:
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 25 March 2020
English academies and state maintained schools in the RPA
The risk protection arrangement (RPA) is an alternative to insurance for academies and some state maintained schools in England and specifically includes cover for school trip cancellation. The DfE has confirmed that members can claim for school trips cancelled due to government advice in this academic year. If you are a member, please see the RPA Claims download at the bottom of this page for information on how to claim.
ABTA offers advice for customers looking to cancel a trip due to coronavirus on their website:
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.
Our full terms and conditions can be found on: https://www.voyagerschooltravel.com/about-us/school-tour-booking-terms-and-conditions/
The government’s travel guidance for educational settings can be found here:
FCO travel advice relating to coronavirus.