Safety and Support

Safety & Support

Considering recent events, we have reviewed our safety and support procedures and will continue to review them going forward. Travel as we know it has changed, however, one thing that has not changed is the way we prioritise the health and safety of every one of our customers. It is your basic right as a traveller to feel like you can relax on tour knowing everything is taken care of.

We also understand that you, your students and your parents are going to have lots of questions, so please do not hesitate to contact us, should you wish to know more. In the meantime, here are the some of the ways that we support you.

  • Certificates, Accreditations & Industry Awards

    At WST, we are absolutely committed to every aspect of safety on your tour and we hold all the trade body licenses including ATOL, ABTA, STF and LOtC so you can be confident that your trip is safe in our hands.

       

    You can download our latest School Travel Forum certificate here.

    You can download our latest Quality Badge for Learning Outside the Classroom here.

    You can download Galina Study Tours Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge here. 

     

    Our expert team will support you from start to finish. When it comes to operating tours we have tonnes of experience and our gut instinct is to always do the right thing. This is reflected in us being the proud holders of the following awards:                                                  

    Best School Tour Operator at the School Travel Organiser Awards 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 & 2019/2020.

    Voted for independently by customers who believe we are worthy of this title.

    Customer Service Excellence accreditation

    We have held this award since 2013. We are the only school tour operator to hold this accreditation which means we are regularly assessed by an independent body on meeting set criteria.

               

    Investors in People

    WST are an Investors in People organisation meaning we demonstrate a commitment to the development and success of our people.

    Best Customer Service Finalists 2017 from British Youth Travel Awards

    This is awarded by a team of youth travel experts at the British Educational Travel Association. 

     

    Investors in People

    WST are an Investors in People organisation meaning we demonstrate a commitment to the development and success of our people.

    The list goes on… click here to see our full list of awards and accreditations.

  • External Audits

    Every year, an external auditor reviews all of our health and safety procedures. Our latest audit was in February 2021 with Argent. Yet again for the tenth year running we have had NO RECOMMENDATIONS to help improve the way we control our safety management and quality provision.

    Take a look at our Safety Management System for more information 

  • School Travel Forum

    Our chairman David Craven was instrumental in setting up the School Travel Forum to raise standards in educational visits – it is now recognised as the safety & quality standard mark you can trust. As a full member of the School Travel Forum, WST adhere to a rigorous Code of Practice and Safety Management Standards that meet the requirements of DCSF guidelines and are externally verified each year.

    With more than 400 years combined experience in the school travel industry, the team here at WST are proud of our safety conscious environment and proactively review and improve our school trip safety procedures continually. We also have the experience and knowledge to recommend the most suitable accommodation and transport providers for your age of students, and your learning objectives.

    Further information on the School Travel Forum:

    STF Website

    STF Safety Management Standards

    STF Demystifying Risk Assessment

  • What happens if I have a problem on tour?

    Very few of our tours have problems because every effort is made, and checks put in place, to ensure your tour plan is flawless. However, if an issue does arise, we are here to help. At WST our team of experienced tour consultants will be on hand during office hours (08:00 – 17:30 hrs) to support you whilst on tour, AND outside of office hours as well. We have 24 hour emergency response cover for issues that need to be addressed urgently. Our emergency duty officers are fully briefed on all groups that are travelling and have access to all of your tour planning details, which means you have complete peace of mind whilst on tour, should the need arise to call us.

    “Our outgoing flight was delayed and this meant that the coach at Berlin and all our activities for the first day had to be re-scheduled. Helen and Nici were extremely responsive and all the logistics had been solved by the time we got to Berlin. This was a stressful situation for us but was made much easier with their calm assistance.”
    Graveney School, Berlin

    “Jenny liaised with SLT at school and was fabulous in rescheduling everything due to the ferry strike. She deserves a medal or more!!”
    St Francis College, Le Touquet

    “Flight was cancelled due to fire at FCO Airport. Within one-hour WST had arranged alternative hotel, meal and breakfast and sent all vouchers etc. to our hotel. This was exceptional service.”
    St Columba’s High School, Rome

     

  • Brexit FAQs

    Following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 January 2020 there have been a number of changes which will affect groups travelling with us to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

    We have picked out those changes we think are relevant for our customers.

    Click here for Brexit FAQs

     

  • What about healthcare in Europe?

    If you have a European Health Insurance Card it will be valid up to its expiry date. If you apply for a card now, you'll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC. More details here.

    If you’re travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you should get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel. Make sure it covers any pre-existing conditions that were previously covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

    ABTA has always advised when travelling to the EU and beyond, that it is important you take out travel insurance. Our tour price includes comprehensive travel insurance as standard. So, unless you advise us that your school or college has its own travel insurance and you wish to decline our insurance, you will automatically have insurance cover with us.

    For more information on our insurance go to: Next Generation Travel Insurance Policy

    Further advice on travel insurance can be found at www.abta.com/travelinsurance

  • Key Safety Checks

    At WST we are absolutely committed to every aspect of safety on your school tour. Our school trip safety checks include:

    • Our Safety Management System is established and maintained to conform to the requirements of the School Travel Forum.
    • We provide a 24-hour emergency helpline should you require any urgent assistance
    • We have specialist staff who are fully trained auditors
    • All accommodation used by WST undergoes a safety audit prior to use and every 3 years thereafter
    • All coach companies that we work with both in the UK and overseas will have completed our standard audit
    • We specify that coaches used should be no more than 5 years old
  • An Experienced Team

    WST has been operating tours for over 35 years with over 400 year’s combined experience in the educational visits market. This experience combined with a strong set of values is the reason WST holds the Investors in People Silver Plaque – setting us apart from the competition.

    Take a look at one example of how WST chose to ‘do the right thing’ when West Lowland Battalion Cadets were faced with cancelling their trip following terrorist attacks in Belgium.

    “Given the late change of our destination due to the terror threat in Brussels, Kerrie handled our tour exceptionally well and with great patience that was very much appreciated during a stressful time. Thank you so much!”
    Testimonial from Notre Dame High School, Berlin

    WST have been absolutely incredible throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and have helped us successfully rearrange our annual New York trip. I cannot thank the team enough, especially Carole, who have been with us every step of the way and helped us have the confidence to want to run our trip. Thank you WST for always going the extra mile!!
    St Mary’s College

    Here are more of our customer’s stories on how we supported them through an emergency situation.

  • Fair Pricing Policy

    You’ll find no hidden surcharges. Our pricing is transparent and honest. In your quotation and provisional booking letters we will tell you what is and is not included in your price. We also fairly estimate any future rates, not falsifying prices to create ‘cheap deals’.

    Our approach is always to protect against currency fluctuation by buying currency as bookings confirm. Once your tour has been booked you will see no adjustments to your tour price because of currency.

    Click here to find out exactly what should be included in a school trip quote.

  • Insurance

    The WST insurance policy has £10 million public liability cover. You can be assured that this exceeds the requirements of UK County Councils.

    Click here to see our list of insurance policies

  • Accommodation

    All properties used by WST will have undergone a safety audit prior to its first use and thereafter every 3 years. A member of the WST team has seen every property that we use and our Contracts Manager Sheelagh Clegg personally decides which accommodation we promote in our programme. In some cases, there will be hotels or hostels that will conform to local regulations but that we feel do not meet our standards and we will not include them in our tour programmes.

  • Coach Safety

    At WST safe travel is our priority. Our policies include keeping overnight journeys to a minimum and ensuring coach drivers are fully rested and fit to drive before any journey is taken by providing them with single room accommodation. All coach companies that we work with both in the UK and overseas will have completed our standard audit.

  • Local Expert Support

    The WST team extends far beyond the walls of our offices. We consider our key partners as extra members to our team.

    Local support - we have local agents available who are experts in their destinations and are able to offer a wealth of knowledge on everything from study visits to accommodation. They are there on hand to support you and us, should help be needed.

    Flight tours meet and greet - in the UK, we are on hand at the airport to help with check-in through to boarding, as well as be there when you return.

    Arrivals - as you arrive at your destination, our partner will be waiting as you exit passport control. They’ll then travel with you to your accommodation, help with check-in and answer any questions you may have.

    Guide services - in key destinations our local guides can stay with you throughout your trip or just at key times of the day. They can provide students with an unparalleled insight into the destination.

    Click here to find out more about our local expert support.

  • Visits and the Threat from Terrorism

    The current global situation means that the possibility of being close to, or caught up in, a terrorist attack is a risk faced by us all. Like all risks this needs to be kept in perspective and managed in a thoughtful and proportionate way. Please see the latest advice from the Outdoor Education Advisory Panel regarding foreign travel and questions around terrorism.

    We also advise you to visit the FCDO website.

     

  • Other Useful Links & Information