Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Paris terror attacks: British schools warned against taking trips to France as state of emergency continues

British schools planning to take groups on children on trips to France between now and Sunday have been advised not to do so.

The Foreign Office issued the guidance in line with that of the French Ministry of Education.
It comes as the country remains in a state of emergency following the terror attacks in Paris on Friday.

It said: "As part of the national state of emergency, the French Ministry of Education has cancelled all school trips within France by French schools until Sunday.

"This includes excursions to cultural sites (theatres, museums, etc) and travel by school groups on public transport.

"These cancellations don't specifically include foreign school parties, but the French Ministry of Education has advised foreign school groups to avoid travelling to France until after 22 November.

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends that British schools planning to take groups to France between now and 22 November follow the French Ministry of Education's advice not to travel.

"The French Ministry of Education has advised that school trips already under way in France may continue as originally planned."

The headteacher of a school in Grimsby said he was cancelling two trips to France - even though he felt it was "giving in to terrorism".

Some 96 pupils aged 12 and 13 from Tollbar Academy were due to leave for St Omer in two groups on a French and history trip, one on Thursday and the other a week later.

David Hampson, chief executive of Tollbar Multi-Academy Trust, which runs the school, told BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a decision we made with great regret, but it was necessary and we felt in the interests of the safety of the pupils.

"It's giving in to terrorism, but in this case I'm in a position of loco parentis for children that are 12 and 13 years old.

"The parents are in an absolutely hideous position. The children want to go, (but) the parents have obviously got concerns about their safety, as I have."

He said the school is hopeful of a full reimbursement from the insurance company, but will ensure that, either way, all parents involved are repaid the £285 cost of the trip in full.

The news comes after a deadly plot to attack an international airport has been foiled in raids by police hunting the Paris terror masterminds.

The Islamic State plotters were “ready to act” again with devastating strikes on the city’s Charles de Gaulle airport and a popular shopping centre, authorities said.

Security forces found “a total war arsenal including Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosive belts” as they swooped on two neighbouring flats in the Saint-Denis area in the north of the French capital, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who orchestrated last week’s carnage in the city, was killed in the raid, according to US intelligence sources.

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