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Supporting the Judicial Review

5 July 2021 Press Release – for immediate use. Local business supports legal challenge against Department for Education travel advice: Absolute Travel and Tours Limited of Stansted in Essex is supporting a challenge to the Department for Education regarding its overseas travel advice to schools.

Absolute Travel and Tours 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 the greenlight to schools to plan and book International educational visits for 2022 and beyond, citing the advice as ‘irrational’ and seeking a Judicial Review to overturn this guidance.

The Managing Director of Absolute Travel and Tours, Mr. Ashley Gowing said: “It takes schools 9 months and upwards 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 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 an educational visit overseas. Members of the School Travel Forum have been contacting their MPs to highlight the plight facing schools and students. Gill Harvey, ceo at 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.” ENDS

Media queries: ashley@absolutetravel.co.uk

phone 01279 647566

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