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Your COVID-19 school travel questions answered

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Now that the world is reopening to international travel, and the Department for Education has confirmed that English schools can book new trips abroad once more, we are ready to help you prepare for your next educational trip.

This Q&A will guide you through the main questions you need answered to plan and book your next school trip with confidence. 

Children have missed out on so much and so we can't wait to organise an educational trip to help plug students' knowledge gaps. Join the growing number of groups, representing thousands of travellers, who have secured their school trip with Voyager School Travel for 2022. 

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Planning your next school trip

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that schools in England can now book trips abroad subject to an enhanced risk assessment and suitable financial protection. Read the full DfE advice here.

By the time schools resume trips in 2022, most classes will have missed two planned trips since the pandemic began. This has resulted in considerable pent-up demand for 2022 places, in particular for our language immersion programmes.

The majority of schools have now rebooked their place at our Normandy language centres, and 100s of groups, representing many thousand travellers, have secured their 2022 school trip with us. We are also seeing group sizes increase as schools have combined year groups to ensure that none of their students miss out again next year. The result is that sought-after dates in 2022 for our language centres and most popular programmes in ParisGermany and Spain, are filling up fast.  

We strongly recommend that you talk to us very soon to avoid disappointment later down the line, especially if you have preferred accommodation or a particular week in mind. We may be able to option your preferred trip while you get the ball rolling with SLT and parents.

To give schools confidence to secure their next 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. What's more, our COVID-19 school trip insurance provides cover if someone in your group is unable to travel due to testing positive or being told to self-isolate.

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.

To give schools the confidence to book a trip in times of change, our COVID-19 Peace of Mind Promise allows school groups to change their plans up to 28 days before departure and guarantee a refund if the trip has to be cancelled due to COVID-19 or requirement to quarantine. Click here to understand the financial protections provided by our Peace of Mind Promise.

Our COVID-19 school trip insurance also provides cover for someone in your group being unable to travel due to testing positive or being told to self-isolate.

 

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 the 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 COVID-19 cover.

All our school trip packages include enhanced travel insurance which includes cover for COVID-19.

This covers the medical expenses, additional accommodation and travel costs of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 while on the trip. This specialist school trip insurance also covers the additional expenses of a parent travelling to the resort to accompany the child until they are able to travel home. This means that teachers can return home with the rest of the group.

Our travel insurance has been developed in associated with the School Travel Forum (STF) and ABTA and is included with all Voyager School Travel educational trip packages. 

Our school trip insurance has been upgraded to include cover for COVID-19 and this includes medical expenses as well as additional travel and accommodation costs for an individual testing positive. The insurance also covers the additional expense of a parent travelling to the resort to accompany the child until they are able to travel home, so that the teacher can return with the rest of the group.

We provide 24/7 support to all our travelling groups and so if you come across a problem, or your plans have to change at short notice, we are here to help sort it out. Our multi-lingual travel team is here to deal with local operators on your behalf.  You can find more information about how we'll support your group while you are abroad on our Group Safety and Wellbeing pages.

Our local French teams are also on hand to liaise with local medical services and to advise on local health protocols if required.

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.

 

 

Our school trip insurance has been upgraded to include cover for COVID-19 and this includes cancellation cover for a student who has to pull out of the trip because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or they have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate. The insurance also covers the cost of replacing the party leader if they can't travel because they have tested positive. Read more about our specialist school trip insurance which includes COVID-19 cover. 

It's important to note that if a child drops out of the trip for any other reason, for example if their parent doesn't want them to travel, then insurance companies will class this as ‘disinclination to travel’ and it is unlikely you will be covered. 

Your trip price is based on a minimum number of passengers and a drop in numbers could increase the per person price (this is due to fixed costs such as coaches and guides which don’t reduce in line with numbers). For this reason we recommend that you try to fill the vacant place.

We will not run a school trip to a destination which requires the group to quarantine on arrival. If this is the case, we would first attempt to rearrange your trip to a suitable alternative destination or postpone your trip to a new date. If this is not possible or acceptable, your group will be eligible for a full refund.

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. The 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.

Read more about the current rules for school groups returning from abroad

All our overnight school trips are backed by ABTA or ATOL and comply with the Package Travel Regulations. This means that 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, DfE advice or quarantine rules. Click here to understand the financial protection offered by our Peace of Mind Promise.

 

This is in addition to the protection provided by our COVID-19 School Trip Insurance which refunds the cancellation costs of a child who can't travel after testing positive or being told to self-isolate before the trip.

Our travel insurance covers individual members of the group for COVID-19 related claims, for example, the cover will reimburse an individual if they can’t go on the trip because they’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Click here for a summary of our COVID-19 trip insurance.

You should also check if your school insurance or RPA includes cover for the whole trip having to be cancelled, for example, because the DfE advises against taking educational visits or because you are unable to run the trip because the government traffic light system requires the group to quarantine on return.

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.

Yes. All trips include COVID-19 travel insurance which includes cancellation cover for any individuals who can’t travel because they’ve either contracted COVID-19 or been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace in the run up to the trip. You will also be insured for additional medical, accommodation and travel costs incurred due to contracting COVID-19 while on the trip. Click here for the full details.

Our COVID-19 Peace of Mind Promise offers the flexibility to change your booking to another date or receive a refund if your trip is cancelled within 21 days of departure.

Voyager School Travel's COVID-19 Promise provides new bookings with additional financial protection in the event: 

  • The DfE or Foreign Office advises against travel to your chosen destination 
  • Quarantine restrictions are imposed at your chosen travel destination
  • The traffic light system requires your group to quarantine on return

Click here to read the full details.

This financial protection is in addition to our COVID-19 school trip insurance which covers individuals who can't travel because they have tested positive or have been told to self isolate.

Travel advice for schools

At the end of the summer 2021 term, the Department for Education (DfE) confirmed schools can resume school trips abroad in 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. Click here to read the latest DfE guidance on school trips abroad.

The DfE guidance is that groups should only use travel providers who can provide adequate finacial protection and travel insurance and that all trips must be subject to a full and thorough risk assessment.

Visit our COVID-19 Travel Hub for all the information and resources you need to safely resume your school trips, including more detail on our Peace of Mind Promise, our COVID-19 Travel Insurance and our essential Guide to Restarting School Trips.

You can check the current paperwork, vaccination and testing requirements for our most popular school trip destinations below:

As your trip approaches, we will keep in close contact with you to discuss what is required for your specific destination and your options under the current rules. 

For more detailed information, please see Coronavirus Travel Advice For Schools With Upcoming Trips.

 

 

 

The DfE's Educational Visits Guidance allows English schools to book and take school trips abroad once again. 

To help schools plan their next trip, we have created guides to our most popular destinations. Click on the links below to see the current paperwork, quarantine and testing requirements for school groups travelling abroad:

You can also review the Foreign Office travel advice for other destinations here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice 

COVID-19 safety protocols and risk assessment support

Wherever possible our school groups stay at our centres, travel on our coach fleet, and are looked after by own staff which means that we are in control of every aspect of your trip and are directly responsible for the safety of your group. Download our Guide to Restarting School Trips for more information.

We have been hosting school groups at our centres for over twenty years and have the experience and local knowledge to look after the specific needs of your group. 80% of our Normandy centre groups have already rebooked, demonstrating teachers' confidence in our standard of care and their belief in the educational value of our language programmes.

During the pandemic we have been hosting domestic French school groups at our centres in France so you can be sure that our COVID-19 protocols are tried and tested. You can read about how we will keep your group safe at our French centres by clicking here.

We encourage you to see the new controls for yourself. Get in touch to organise a subsidised inspection visit to one of our centres in France.

We have been working closely with professional bodies, such as the School Travel Forum (STF), to draw up new health and safety protocols for our centres and suppliers so that you can book and travel with confidence. 

We hold our travel partners to the same high standard as our own centres, and so if your group is not staying with us, you can still be reassured that a qualified member of our leadership team has carried out additional checks to ensure that your accommodation and activities comply with the STF enhanced protocols for COVID-19.

Visit our COVID-19 Travel Hub for all the information and resources you need to support your enhanced school trip risk assessment.

General questions about Voyager School Travel

Yes. Voyager School Travel is a diverse and robust business which owns a coach company as well as centres and a hotel in France, all of which continued to generate income while travel restrictions grounded school trips abroad. Our French centres in Normandy and Northern France have been busy hosting local school groups during the pandemic.

Looking forwards, hundreds of schools, representing many thousand travellers, have already transferred their bookings to a later date—so you can be confident that our company is financially secure and your money is safe.

What’s more, you have the additional reassurance that all monies paid to Voyager School Travel are protected by ABTA and ATOL. 

While we weren't able to host UK school groups at our centres, we put our French accommodation and animateurs to good use over the course of the pandemic. We transformed our Normandy Chateau into an 'English Manor' where French school children can enjoy an immersive English language and British cultural experience without crossing La Manche. 

At the same time, our animateurs were busy running our fantastic live online escape room from the Chateau so that school groups could still enjoy a French immersive experience in lieu of their French trip.

Yes. The ABTA and ATOL schemes provide financial protection to customers in case a travel company ceases trading. The ABTA scheme covers package trips taken by rail, road, or sea while ATOL is specifically designed to provide financial protection on package trips involving a flight. 

All Voyager School Travel’s overseas trips and UK residentials are protected by either ABTA or ATOL so schools can be confident that the money a parent pays for their child’s school trip is safe. 

Why choose Voyager School Travel for your school trip?

COVID-19 trip insurance

All our trips include COVID-19 cover before and during the trip so you can book and travel with confidence. Read more...

Peace of Mind Promise

You won't be left out of pocket because of changing travel rules. New bookings will receive additional financial protection. Read more...

COVID-19 secure

The majority of our groups stay at our centres and travel on our coaches which means we can ensure the highest standards of care are met. Read more...

Safety assured, bonded and accredited

Your booking is protected through ABTA or ATOL. As an assured member of the School Travel Forum we adhere to the highest standards. Read more...

We make it easier

Teachers’ lives are hard enough without the extra work involved in running a school trip, so we’ll be there for you before, during and after the trip. Read more...

You are in expert hands

We have specialised in educational trips for over 10 years and organise school trips for over 25,000 students a year. Read more...

For teachers who are serious about the educational outcomes of their school trip.

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