UK School Departures Summer 2021

Advice for schools:

The Department for Education (DfE) has now issued some long-awaited guidance relating to international trips this summer and we anticipate in the coming weeks we will be able to finalise the situation for any schools still travelling as planned between now and September.

The DfE now recommends that schools do not go on any international visits for the remainder of this academic year up to and including 5 September 2021.

The guidance is likely to constrain schools from travelling however, it does not constitute a formal government travel advisory which would constrain providers, such as ourselves, from delivering and which would typically trigger refunds under the Package Travel Regulations (PTR’s) and the recoverability of some costs from airlines etc. It is also separate from the red, amber and green list rules for entering England and the travel restrictions relating to each country we operate in.

It does however give school leaders more clarity and greater potential to explore other avenues and over the coming days we will speak to all our school partners to work through the various options that now exist but, in many cases, differ depending on circumstances.

The absence of clear guidance has created an extremely challenging operating environment for us and a worrying and stressful time for some of our travellers. We hope that in the coming days and weeks we will be able to finalise decisions relating to trips and thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding. We will continue in our efforts to be fair and consistent and adhere to our legal responsibilities under the PTR’s whilst also ensuring the survival of Camps, in order that we can continue to deliver exceptional experiences to the thousands of young people still booked on future expeditions with us.

Advice for independent adult travellers (gap year):

For independent travellers not involved with schools, the guidance from DfE is not relevant and we will continue to focus on the travel restrictions relating to each destination. We will contact you directly to discuss options.

The Camps Team

Previous Update: 30th April 2021

Thank you for the continued patience and support from those of you on a planned school expedition this summer.

As you will know, it is an extremely challenging time for our schools, and we are sympathetic to the fact that real concerns exist.  We have been working with schools since January to collaborate on options to relieve uncertainty and reduce pressure of finances in advance of any travel advisories, restrictive or unrestrictive, which may or may not come into force.

We would like to reassure you; we understand that travel this summer season still isn’t guaranteed. For clarity, if nearer the time Government and FCDO advice constrains us from travelling, we of course will refund in full, in line with the Package Travel Regulations (PTR’s), any travellers still confirmed on a booking.

The vast majority of our schools who were previously due to travel this summer have now made an early decision to either cancel or defer to 2022.  For those schools that have cancelled, they are typically claiming any unrecoverable costs through insurance.  Most however, have elected to defer and we will spread any remaining payments between now and the new travel dates.  For the increasingly small number of remaining schools who are still considering options, we will continue to support their decision making.

Along with the rest of the educational travel industry, we were anticipating an update from the Department for Education (DfE) in line with the government roadmap issued on the 12th April, and a few schools have delayed their decisions for the same reason. To date, there has been no update forthcoming, meaning we must continue with our operational processes and prepare for our summer season in line with our booking conditions. While it may seem counter intuitive, by keeping up with payments, it ensures families are protected under the (PTR’s).

We completely understand that some parents would like us to make decisions now, but frustratingly the Government and FCDO advice doesn’t extend far enough into the year to apply to our expeditions just yet.  This is crucial as it may trigger additional options regarding insurance and flight refunds, or indeed make clear our obligations under the PTR’s.

If you are concerned or require an update as to the status of your school trip, we urge you to contact your school in the first instance since we are collaborating with them daily as we explore options.

We will be unable to respond to queries through our social media platforms or supply members of the press with detailed information regarding individual trips, as many circumstances are unique and confidential.

In the meantime, we continue to take all measures needed to ensure that Camps is able to continue operating and deliver exceptional experiences the moment restrictions ease.  The impact to our team has of course been harsh as we have operated very much as a family for the past 20 years. We have pledged to re employ any people we have lost immediately as travel recovers.  The impact to our project partners around the world is also undeniably severe in cases and the current crisis illustrates how significant a role responsible travel plays in sustainable development.

We are sorry for the distress that this current state of affairs may be causing to some of you and thank you for your support and understanding as we try our best to find solutions.

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