Refunds being arranged for trips cancelled by Borders schools

Families in the Borders left out of pocket after paying up front for school trips cancelled due to the current coronavirus lockdown are to get their money back within weeks, council bosses have promised.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 5:33 pm
Hawick High is among the Borders schools forced to cancel trips.

Scottish Borders Council education bosses have been working with all schools that had to cancel overseas or domestic trips to secure refunds either via the travel firms organising them or insurance companies, collating details of payments made and money now due back.

Negotiations are still ongoing, but the council has decided to refund families up front from its own coffers to prevent potential financial hardship among those already struggling to make ends meet.

Among the schools affected is Hawick High School. It, like other high schools, was forced to cancel all the trips it had lined up, including a skiing holiday, due to Scottish Government guidance issued in March.

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Commenting at the time, headteacher Vicky Porteous said: “In line with national guidance, the council has made the decision to cancel all residential trips for this session with immediate effect. This includes trips planned within the UK.

“Central staff will be considering the financial implications and working with insurers to find our current position.”

Explaining the council’s decision to start handing out refunds now instead of waiting to pass on money paid back by travel operators and insurers, its chief executive, Tracey Logan, said: “We are very aware that the current situation may have caused a change in the financial circumstances for many families and that money already paid for cancelled trips would be welcome at this time.

“Therefore, it has been agreed that Scottish Borders Council will make funds available to provide refunds for all families at this time and the council will pursue the return of the money separately.

“It is anticipated that the refunds will be in parents’ accounts within the next few weeks.”

Those reimbursements will be made via the online payment system ParentPay.