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Trust cancels West Norfolk schools' expeditions after payment row

Three West Norfolk secondary schools have cancelled planned overseas trips for their students amid a row with the travel operator that runs them.

Camps International says the decision will have "no financial impact" on parents of pupils at the St Clements High School, some of whom had expressed anger at the firm's behaviour.

But one mother, whose son's planned trip to Kenya is among the trips to be scrapped, claims the company is still behaving irresponsibly by pressing ahead with other similar expeditions.

St Clements High School students have had their planned Kenya expedition cancelled.
St Clements High School students have had their planned Kenya expedition cancelled.

The development comes after the operator was criticised for its handling of the scheduled trip by a group of students from the Terrington St Clement secondary.

It is alleged they were told to pay the final £2,000 balance for their four-week trip to the East African state by next Saturday, May 1, or risk losing the money paid so far, even though Kenya is currently on the government's travel red list.

Yesterday, Camps International said it was "sympathetic", but indicated it was up to schools to either defer or scrap their trip.

In a updated statement today, the company said: "We would like to make you aware that the school made the decision yesterday to cancel the school expedition with no financial impact to parents."

A spokesman for the West Norfolk Academies Trust, which sponsors St Clements, subsequently confirmed it had decided to cancel that trip, as well as planned expeditions involving pupils from the Smithdon High School in Hunstanton and the Marshland High School in West Walton.

A further statement is expected early next week.

Kerry-Ann Lawrence, whose 14-year-old son Austin was one of the St Clements party, admitted the cancellation was a "relief."

But she still believes the company should have called a halt much earlier.

She said: "It's still affecting lots and lots of people around the country.

"They're not being responsible. They're still not cancelling the other trips."

Mrs Lawrence added she was "hopeful" of getting the money they had already spent on the trip back and said they planned to split the funds between local good causes.

She said most of the donors who had supported the fundraising efforts of Austin and the other students to take part in the expedition were had said they were happy for the money to go to charity.

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