Mike Haslin, Chief Executive Officer at TUCO, The University Caterers Organisation, discusses how to achieve value for money in these unpredictable times
Exercising due diligence in school travel
All School Travel Forum members are now required to be ABTA-assured, giving further peace‑of‑mind to teachers that they are booking their trip with a reputable travel company
The School Travel Forum is a professional trade body dedicated to promoting the best standards in school travel worldwide. The STF’s Assured Member scheme has won widespread recognition and support for the way it has provided essential reassurance for teachers and leaders looking to organise school trips.
The School Travel Forum is also the awarding body for the LOtC Quality Badge for companies operating study, sports and cultural tours. The LOtC Quality Badge provides a national award combining the essential elements of provision – learning and safety – into one easily recognisable and trusted accreditation scheme. The scheme is managed and developed by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, an independent charity existing to champion LOtC and encourage young people to get out and about.
All School Travel Forum Assured members are now required to also be a member of ABTA. The strengths of both organisations have been brought together for the benefit of students, teachers, schools and other stakeholders – combining the STF’s educational travel experience and expertise with ABTA’s broader knowledge and experience of the travel sector.
Booking with an ABTA member gives further assurance to teachers and leaders that they are booking with a reputable travel company. All package and ‘Flight-Plus’ trips that have been sold by ABTA Members are protected financially in the event of a company failure. This means that in the unlikely event your school travel provider goes out of business, there is a quick, clear and simple process for schools to follow, to enable them to continue their school trip as planned or get their money back STF and ABTA members manage fantastic experiences for thousands of school trips every year but sometimes things don’t go to plan. An added benefit of booking with an ABTA member is that, if required, schools will have access to a fast, cost-effective and independent complaints resolution service which could save time and money. The scheme is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and offers an independent process to help both parties resolve a complaint without the costs of going to court.
Schools will also have the added reassurance that all STF members will have access to ABTA’s guidance which covers a range of issues, from animal welfare to health and safety, package travel regulations and GDPR. Ensuring that their travel provider will be informed of and operating within the guidelines of the most up to date regulations.
A trusted brand
STF chief executive Gill Harvey said: “This is a very positive and important step for the School Travel Forum. “ABTA is a trusted travel brand known for its expertise and guidance and will provide STF members with a wealth of advice and support in addition to what we already provide.
“We also recognise the role ABTA has in providing practical help and expertise on travel regulations – such as the upcoming package travel regulations and GDPR – to inform and keep members up to date on what’s required of them in the coming months.”
These awards and memberships provide schools with an easy and highly effective means of exercising due diligence in school travel and provides reassurance to any stakeholder involved with school travel including, teachers, leaders, senior management and governors. The ABTA logo is highly regarded with consumers and will bring added comfort to parents.
Evidence shows that educational visits are rewarding, hugely beneficial and justify a place in any well-balanced curriculum. The STF want to support schools in achieving that aim and commit to our principles of working with stakeholders to promote best practice in school travel.
Victoria Bacon, Abta brand and business director, said: “We are delighted to join forces with School Travel Forum members to support school trips.
“With 75 per cent of people looking for an ABTA member when they book their own family holiday, knowing that they can do the same for school breaks will give parents and teachers confidence that they are booking with a reputable travel company.Further Information: