Dozens of Hucknall families furious after company axes schoolkids' getaway at the last minute
Dozens of Hucknall families have been left fuming after a company pulled the plug on a much-anticipated residential getaway for schoolchildren from the town at the 11th hour.
More than 30 pupils from years five and six at Edgewood Primary School had been told on Tuesday June 15 that they had the go-ahead for their five-day trip to Staffordshire next month, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement about a delay to final lockdown easing the day before.
But then two days later, Kingswood, which the school had booked the trip with, cancelled the booking just hours before the school was due to hold a virtual meeting with parents to finalise the details.
The cancellation is a bitter blow for a group of children who have already missed out a great deal in the last year due to the Covid lockdown. In fact, the trip was also cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
For the year six pupils in the group in particular, the trip represented a final opportunity to be with some of their primary school friends before going up to secondary school.
Ed Seeley, the school’s head teacher, said: “In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement we weren’t sure if the trip was going ahead so we contacted Kingswood and they said our booking was confirmed and the trip was going ahead.
"So we told all the children and the parents that was the case and the centre still said it was going ahead on Wednesday (June 16).
"Then they called us on the Thursday to say that head office had decided that our booking was cancelled and didn’t give me a reason
"We’ve used Kingswood before and never had a problem before until this.
"I’ve spoken to the parents and we’re all working very hard to try and find an alternative and we’re hopeful that we will be able to confirm that the children will be able to go on a trip.
"But obviously, we’re all very disappointed with what’s happened.”
The schoo has repeatedly carried out risk assessments to ensure the trip would be Covid-safe. Families have paid up to £230 per pupil.
And many parents are furious with the way Kingswood has let the school down at the last minute.
Laura McLean, whose daughter was one of those pupils left disappointed, said: “I think it’s disgusting.
“Obviously, it’s nothing to do with the school and I’m really sorry for them that they’ve been put in this position.
"For a big company like this to build the children’s hopes up and then cancel it like that, it’s not on.”
A spokesperson for Kingswood said: “We have been operating under a tight set of operational restrictions since schools have been allowed to visit us again, which has limited our bookings to between 15 per cent and 40 per cent of our normal capacity.
"This month, unlike for other industries, some restrictions on our sector were tightened rather than relaxed.
"Restrictions differ across England, Wales and Scotland, and local guidance also varies across our centres – which has limited our capacity further by, for example, requiring single occupancy rooms.
“Schools have understandably found it very difficult to commit to set bookings, so we have seen a huge amount of changes to occupancy on a daily basis.
"Our operational teams have worked hard to adjust capacity planning each day with the aim of delivering life changing adventures for as many children as possible, with safety always our top priority.
“Despite our best efforts, trips for a small number of schools have been impacted.
"We’re really sorry for this, and we’re working relentlessly to find solutions for those schools – such as visiting a larger centre or offering different dates, including visiting over a weekend, to make sure that children don’t miss out on the trips they’ve been looking forward to.”