School trust 'sad' to cancel student trips to Kenya

Terrington High School students have had their Camps International trip to Kenya cancelled.

Terrington High School students have had their trip to Kenya cancelled by West Norfolk Academies Trust following issues with Camps International. - Credit: Kerry-Ann Lawrence

A school trust has said it is with "great sadness" it has cancelled international trips planned for students this summer following issues with the company that runs them.

Camps International was criticised for continuing with payments from families of students signed up for trips to Kenya this summer, despite not knowing whether they would be able to go ahead, claimed a parent at St Clement's High School.

Kerry-Ann Lawrence, whose son Austin signed up to the trip in 2019 along with 12 other students at the school, claimed they were "not doing the right thing" by continuing with payments, after being told a deadline for the final one would be on May 1.

She said heads of local schools had asked for the final payment to be postponed until June but that this was declined, which would have meant they had to pay £2,000 or risk losing the £2,000 of the total paid so far.

Parents and students had been making things to sell at fayres, markets and car boots to raise funds.

Parents and students had been making things to sell at fayres, markets and car boots to raise funds. - Credit: Kerry-Ann Lawrence

West Norfolk Academies Trust has since cancelled the expedition, which also includes students from Smithdon High School and Marshland High School.

A spokesperson said: "We have been and will continue to communicate with our parents about the next steps in terms of recovering the money already paid.

"We too are disappointed that our students will not gain the experience of the expedition but we believe this outcome is in the best interests of all our families."

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But Ms Lawrence said Camps International's decision not to cancel the trips themselves was "totally unacceptable."

She said: "This is affecting children all over the county and country, with trips to Kenya and Cambodia being uncertain at this time."

A spokesperson for Camps International confirmed the trust cancelled their expeditions and that they believe the trust will be refunding parents via its insurance.

They said: "No further payments will be required from parents."

In a later statement they said they shared the trust's disappointment and are supportive of its "difficult decision to" cancel. 

The spokesperson added: "As this is a live discussion with our client, we do not feel comfortable in discussing the particulars in any further detail."