Following the tragic events in Paris on Friday 13th November, we understand that Group Leaders, parents and governors will have justifiable concerns about travelling to France in the coming days. Currently, a State of Emergency has been declared by the French Government. This is scheduled to last for three months. Systematic border control checks are now in place and troops have been deployed across all major towns and cities in the country.
We understand that the safety of your students and staff will be your first priority. Our advice is as follows:
Groups wishing to travel
The French Ministry of Education has cancelled all school trips by French school parties until Sunday 22nd November. Whilst advising foreign schools against travelling to France for the time being, the French Authorities have stopped short of imposing a ban. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice is that school parties that do travel should be prepared for some delay and disruption to travel plans as a consequence of the security measures that have been implemented. Groups are advised to proceed with caution in public places, be vigilant and follow the advice of the local Authorities.
This is a dynamic situation and we would advise Group Leaders to monitor the Foreign Travel Advice emanating from the FCO. The web address is: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france. You can also contact our office on our freephone number: 0800 801 506.
Groups wishing to postpone their trip to a later date
We are contractually obliged to pay our suppliers for the services they have agreed to provide but, under the circumstances, we will do everything we can to work with you and them to transfer your booking to a mutually-agreed alternative date and minimise any rearrangement fees that may be incurred. We will deal with this on a case-by-case basis.
Groups wishing to cancel their trip outright
We will reimburse any funds that have not yet been irretrievably committed to paying our contracted suppliers. In addition, we will negotiate with our partners to see if they would be prepared to reach a compromise over any amounts due or which have already been paid, although, of course, we cannot make any firm promises in this regard. We would ask for your patience over the next few days on this matter. If you wish to cancel, please contact us via email (as soon as possible) stating your intention to do so.
We would also advise Group Leaders to speak to their Head to ascertain what the School/Local Authority policy is regarding cancellations, reimbursement of parents and/or access to contingency funds under such circumstances.
Before taking any precipitate action, contact your travel insurer for advice (if you have not insured your group through Galina) or contact our office. Following 9/11, insurers recognised the potentially massive exposure they might face in the event of a terrorist attack. Consequently, specifically excluding cover relating to or arising, directly or indirectly, from terrorist attacks has become the norm. In all likelihood, especially in the absence of a direct ban on foreign schools travelling to France, Insurance Companies will not reimburse groups for any cancellation that the school may choose to make.