Parents left out of pocket as sports trip is cancelled

School places.
School places.

Parents fear they could be more than £750 out of pocket each after a school trip for 64 pupils was cancelled just days before it was due to take place.

Bourne Grammar School had planned to take 64 pupils on a football and rugby tour trip to Salou in Spain tomorrow.

But parents were told on Monday that the trip was cancelled after the travel company Duke’s Sports Travel told the school that the trip could no longer take place due to “operational difficulties”.

The firm gave the school no explantion if it would be refunding the £759 parents forked out to pay for the trip.

The football and rugby tour to Salou was booked through Duke’s Sports Travel, which is based in Peterborough.

Solicitors working on behalf of the school are now attempting to ensure that refunds are given to the parents.

Jonathan Maddox, headmaster of the school, said he is determined to ensure that the the school gets the cash back from the company.

In a a letter to parents sent out on Monday, Mr Maddox, said: “In all my time at Bourne Grammar School this is the only occasion that I have had to communicate such incredibly disappointing news regarding a trip. I must reassure you that, having first instructed the school’s solicitor to deal with Duke’s Sports Travel, I will ensure, personally, that the necessaryresolution is swiftly achieved.

“I understand that this will cause a huge amount of disappointment to students and inconvenience to parents and I apologise unreservedly for the distress and disappointment caused by the action of Duke’s Sports Travel.

“Of paramount concern to the school is securing a full refund of the monies paid in conjunction with this tour. We have contacted our solicitors and they will be pursuing this.”

In a second letter, sent out on Tuesday, he said the travel company had not “acknowledged” a request for a refund of all monies paid and as such, it was pursuing a claim via ATOL and the school’s insurance company.

Mr Maddox confirmed that 64 pupils were due to go on the five night trip from Saturday, April 1, until Thursday, April 6.

A parent of a pupil at the school, who asked not to be named, said: “Parents are concerned that they are not going to get their money back and they are concerned about what checks on the company were made by the school before this happened.

“They are disappointed for the children – they are concerned that they are not going to get a refund and some of the parents are very angry.”

Duke’s Sports Travel, which was set up in 2006, has successfully operated several other trips for the grammar school.

The company states on its website that it works with schools to “build a bespoke service”, providing “active tour management”. It states that holidays and tours are “financially protected” by the ATOL scheme.

Team GB Olympic hockey players Crista Cullen and Maddie Hinch and England International rugby player Rob Buchanan are listed among the company’s ambassadors online.

This week, the Bourne Local left telephone and e-mail messages with Duke’s Sports Travel and visited the listed business address in Peterborough, but was unable to speak to anyone for a comment regarding the cancelled Bourne Grammar School 
trip.