Voyager School Travel supports legal challenge against unclear DfE school trip advice
5 Jul 2021, 15:24 by Kate Moore
5 July 2021
Press Release – for immediate use
Local school travel firm supports legal challenge against Department for Education travel advice
Brighton based Voyager School Travel is supporting a challenge to the Department for Education regarding its overseas travel advice to schools.
Voyager School Travel is a member of School Travel Forum, the leading association for companies providing overseas educational visits, which has sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Department for Education (DfE) on behalf of its members challenging the failure of DfE to give schools an unambiguous greenlight to book school trips abroad for 2022 and beyond, citing the advice as ‘irrational’ and seeking a Judicial Review to overturn this guidance.
Nigel English, CEO of Voyager School Travel, said: “It takes schools up to a year to plan a successful and safe educational visit overseas. This gives families time to save and teachers time to build the trip into their yearly plans and to prepare students.
“Schools may not be intending to travel in the next six months, but they do want to be able to plan for next year and the confusing and conflicting advice given by DfE and FCDO is preventing them from doing so.
“It is unprecedented for the DfE to give travel advice or advice that contradicts other government departments. We have been unable to operate or even take advance bookings since March 2020. We hold the DfE-backed LOtC Quality Badge which ensures stringent health and safety measure specific to educational visits are in place. There is a real risk with the current restrictions from the DfE that once we emerge from this pandemic there will be far fewer specialist accredited travel companies available for schools to use, putting safe school trips in jeopardy.”
Each year more than 560,000 students undertake a school trip abroad. Members of the School Travel Forum have been contacting their MPs to highlight the plight facing schools and students.
Gill Harvey, CEO of the School Travel Forum, said: “Educational visits have a transformative impact on young people. They broaden horizons, build understanding, bring a subject to life and have been proven to improve academic attainment, confidence and behaviour. If these opportunities become the preserve of the well-off it will further widen the education and social mobility gap.
“Schools need to be able to make their own decisions about future travel plans. Being able to plan ahead will mean they can secure the best price for their group, so all students have access to the same benefits and opportunities.”
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