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Year 6 pupils at Broadclyst Primary School in Exeter were due to go on their end-of-year residential between July 11 and July 15. After EasyJet scrapped their return flights from Bristol airport, the school was left scrambling to make alternative travel arrangements.
Parents said everything was booked and paid for months ago.
They added that the children were devastated when head teacher Jonathan Bishop broke the sad news that despite trying every possible travel alternative, it was impossible because of the size of their group, reports Devon Live.
One parent said: “As you can imagine the children are devastated.
“They have been so excited about the trip having missed out on all residentials in Years 4 & 5 and so much more due to Covid.
“This is their last term at primary school and the trip was going to be a large part of making up for everything they have missed out on over the last few years.”
Some children have been in tears.
A mother said: “A lot of the children were in tears when they found out and very upset as they’ve been so excited about the trip.
“My son didn’t cry but seemed resigned to the fact that yet another thing has been cancelled.
“I believe there were about 33 of them plus teachers going.
Head teacher Jonathan Bishop, who is also the CEO of the Cornerstone Academy which oversees four Devon schools, revealed that he was joining the trip because he wanted to make sure it was extra special as it was the first residential in three years.
Mr Bishop wrote to parents: “Sadly we were informed last Friday that both the outbound and return flights for the trip to the Netherlands have been cancelled by EasyJet.
“We have spent the past few days trying to find alternative modes of transport.
“However, due to the proximity of the departure and the size of our group it has not been possible to book anything.
“We have tried alternative flights, other airports, trains and the Eurostar and travel by coach and ferry. Everything is fully booked.
“Please be assured that we have not made the decision to cancel lightly and we are so disappointed for the children who have been looking forward to this opportunity.
“We are now working with the school insurance to get a refund and we will be in touch shortly to arrange for the money you have paid to be refunded to you.”
Mr Bishop added: “On a personal level, I don’t go on many trips any more because I oversee four schools. But I was going on this one as they haven’t had anything in three years.
“I wanted to ensure it went well. We did utterly everything to try to save it – phoning coach firms and ferry companies.
“Because of the size of our group it was just impossible – there were 33 children and five teachers.
“We were finding flights – but they didn’t have enough places.
“Also the price had gone up from £140 to more than £300 each. It’s very indicative of the chaos that’s pervading the industry.
“The impact of something like this is huge. We’ve worked for many years with a school over there in the Netherlands, building relationships.
“A trip like this gives children a real sense of history, geography and culture. It’s such a sadness and disappointment.”
It comes amid months of disruption to EasyJet flights and passengers facing long queues, delays and last-minute cancellations at Bristol Airport.
EasyJet told DevonLive that it will try to help the school find alternatives.
Mr Bishop said that coaches and accommodation bookings had all been cancelled: “While it would be amazing if we could get flights organised, we would need to re-book the centre, etc to be able to make this trip happen. We are obviously very willing to try!!”
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