Safety & Support
Safety, expertise, peace of mind… whether you’re new to planning school trips or have a wealth of experience, using a school tour operator with all the right accreditations can truly benefit you and your students.
The most important element of any school trip is ensuring the safety of your students. At WST, we proactively review and improve our safety procedures, as well as adhere to a rigorous code of practice and safety management standards, meeting DFE guidelines.
It is also important that should you need to change your travel plans, due to unforeseen circumstances, you are protected ﬁnancially. This only comes if you book through a tour operator with the right trade body licences and accreditations.
KEY SAFETY CHECKS
At WST we are absoultely committed to every aspect of safety on your school tour. Our 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
View Safety for more detailed information on how we do this.
AN EXPERIENCED TEAM
WST has been operating tours for over 35 years with over 370 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
Here are more of our customer’s stories on how we supported them through an emergency situation.
TRADE BODY LICENSES
At WST, we hold all the important trade body licences. This means that your money is protected and where necessary we will endeavour to get the most out of your situation when things don’t go to plan.
You can download our latest School Travel Forum certificate here.
You can download our latest Quality Badge for Learning Outside the Classroom here.
INDUSTRY AWARDS & ACCREDITATIONS
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:
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.
Best Customer Service 2015 from British Youth Travel Awards
This is awarded by a team of youth travel experts at the British Educational Travel Association. In 2016 we were also a finalist and awarded Silver.
Best School Tour Operator at the School Travel Organiser Awards 2016/2017
Voted for independently by customers who believe we are worthy of this title.
We understand that there is currently some uncertainty following Britain’s decision to exit from the European Union, however, we would like to reassure customers that we are well placed to deal with external situations in a positive manner. Take a look at our article ‘What Brexit means for WST customers’ for more info.
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.
The WST insurance policy has £10 million public liability cover. You can be assured that this exceeds the requirements of UK County Councils.
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 being there when you return.
As you arrive at your destination, our partner will be waiting as you exit passport control, 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.
Here are some useful links to support you in covering safety questions on your trip:
ABTA INFORMATION ON PACKAGE TRAVEL DIRECTIVE
STF SAFETY MANAGEMENT STANDARDS
STF DEMYSTIFYING RISK ASSESSMENT
CRISIS MANAGEMENT ARTICLE
I wish to praise the superb way that you dealt with the cancelled flight from Berlin this week. Rachel's calm, friendly manner was most reassuring and the speed at which all issues were resolved was most impressive and something we have been keen to impart to the parents.
We met other groups who had to split up to get home. In the last four years I have had nothing but praise for your company and my experience this week has increased it even further.
Gilberd School, Berlin, Feb 2017
The way that promised services are delivered is evidenced through the range and content of commendations and received from customers. Many of these are unsolicited and show how WST consistently deliver over and above what customers expect and how outcomes are positive for the vast majority of customers. Inevitably, things do go wrong and the focus in these instances is on putting things right for the customers.
Andrew Mackey, Customer Service Excellence Assessor
All at WST are super proud to be the winners of Best School Tour Operator 2016/2017 at the inaugural School Travel Awards. It’s brilliant to know that our customers really appreciate the efforts we put in to ensuring we offer the best possible service and products. Not forgetting those wonderful teachers and trip organisers who consistently give up their time to inspire learning outside the classroom – they make our market place such a rewarding place to be. Thanks so much to all involved.
Sian Belfield, WST Customer Relations Director