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Outdoor education centre fights school trip ban in Wales
/ Categories: Latest News, IOL Wales

Outdoor education centre fights school trip ban in Wales

A pre-action protocol letter has been sent on behalf of Rhos y Gwaliau, IOL Members in Gwynedd, run by Sara and Ed Jones for 16 years. They are fighting the school trip ban in Wales by seeking a judicial review of the "irrational" decision to restrict residential stays.

Competitors over the border have been open for weeks, with residential visits allowed in England from 17 May and 31 May in Scotland.

The Welsh government said the rules were in place to keep people safe.

Sara and Ed Jones said restrictions in Wales remained much tighter, resulting in schools potentially favouring trips elsewhere in the UK.

Currently in Wales, up to three extended households can share accommodation. But overnight school trips are not allowed, except small group visits using single accommodation, such as Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.

Mrs Jones said: "We want to hear the evidence for preventing overnight stays at outdoor education centres - so far we have received no justification at all.

"Why should children who are already operating within a bubble for educational purposes be treated the same as a group of non-related adults? And how is a bubble of school children sharing a dorm worse than 200 adults cramming inside a Boeing 737?

"Children and education should be a higher priority and viewed separately from the general public - they are a lower risk group in terms of age and cases have remained flat in schools."

'Lost two summers'

She added: "We have now been continually closed since March 2020 - we haven't had a bumper summer in 2020 like many tourism and hospitality businesses.

"We are a year-round business but, as you would expect, summer is our busiest time.

"We have now lost two summers - two peak seasons of business - and still have no idea when we are likely to be able to resume trading. To add to that, our costs will now rise again with the tapering furlough as it did last summer.

"We have now had to weather this storm twice - it's an absurd situation and it needs to be reviewed urgently."

Read the full BBC News report here.....

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