Saturday, April 09, 2011

Bad news for Purbeck School's Easter ski trip

Bad news for Purbeck School's Easter ski trip!!

Purbeck School has cancelled its ski trip to Switzerland at the last moment, due to concerns that the operator may be unreliable.

This is hardly news - the operator was banned from running ski trips a decade ago, yet he continues to do so. This article (from 2000) hardly makes for comfortable reading:

(Teachers have to undergo CRB checks - why wasn't this man and his company checked for a relevant criminal or business history?)

Several schools found themselves in the same predicament over the February half term, and pulled out, but the company denies any responsibility, and one council (which presumable vets all travel providers) has been left with the task of compensating parents since the parents paid money to the school (this establishing a contract) who then paid the firm.

This company was discussed in s school trip forum in the TES a few weeks ago, which every school receives:

Let's be grateful this has been called off before our kids are placed in any danger!

But who vetted this company? Does the council vet all such firms, and provide head teachers with a list of approved companies? Why did this only get discovered at the eleventh hour? It has been in the press around the UK the past few months. There have been three high profile similar cases involving this company in the press since February. And a Google search produces lots of worry information extending right back to the operators banning ten years ago - and earlier. Enough to, if known, give one second thoughts about entrusting our kids and teachers.

It is good Mr Holman stopped this in its tracks. Our kids' safety is more important than money or pride, or a lost holiday ski trip. Good luck to any parents who have to recover their money (800 quid) and sorry to the kids who were left disappointed. I hope they get an alternative trip.
This is a lesson for us all - do your due diligence first!!

The story is in Friday's Echo.

Posted by Anonymous to swanageview at 9/4/11 2:00 AM


Anonymous said...

Travel insurance?

Anonymous said...

Other schools in the same pickle with this firm have found out if they cancel their trip while this company offers something else and is still trading, then travel insurance won't cover the lost cost. At least one council and one school have already agreed to reimburse parents of of the educational budgets while they pursue this company through legal means.

The problem is it does not appear the company terminated its end of the contract, and will argue the schools made their own (correct) decision to do this and have to pay the piper.

Usually (there are always exceptions) when a school handles money and makes a payment on behalf of the parent to a travel company, then the school has created a contract with the parents and assumes liability for the money and the actions of the trader. Parents cannot sue the trader; it has to recover money from the school or council. The school must pursue the trader.

Councils are insured, but again it becomes sticky if the company is still trading and offers (?) an alternate trip.

The rules need to be changed. It appears schools take risks under the rules at present. The contract should be between the parent and the trader.

Anonymous said...

£800 for one week, what a rip off for a start.
Mr Reynard, from Wareham in Dorset!!!
Cum on

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for these my older ones reminded me, it was their hard earned part time work money that paid for some of their school trips, also some will have had to pay for new passports, ski wear etc, so lots of hidden extras.

Hope you get your money back !