YOUR SAFETY – OUR NO. 1 CONCERN!

“What about school trip safety – can I rely on WST to put the right arrangements in place?”

Yes, you can!

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

Our latest audit was in March 2018 with Argent. Yet again for the eighth year running we have had NO RECOMMENDATIONS to help improve the way we control our safety management and quality provision.

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.

  • 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

  • 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

     

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

  • Certificates, accreditations & industry awards

    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. 

    Atol     Abta Black And White     LOTC Colour Logo (1)    STF Colour Logo

     

    You can download our latest School Travel Forum certificate here. 

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

    5

    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 CS Winner

    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.

    STO Awards 2017-18 Winner STO (2x)

    Best School Tour Operator at the School Travel Organiser Awards 2016/17 & 2017/18

    Voted for independently by customers who believe we are worthy of this title and we have been awarded this for 2 years running.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • FAQs – 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.

    OEAP Advice

    We also advise you to visit the FCO website www.fco.gov.uk

  • Useful links & information

    Here are some useful links to support you in covering school trip safety questions on your tour:

    WST FAQ’s

    ABTA information on package travel directive

    STF safety management standards

    STF demystifying risk assessment

    Crisis management article

    Foreign & commonwealth office  

    FCO Latest Travel Advice by country

     

    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

     

    The way that promised services are delivered is evidenced through the range and content of commendations 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 two-time winners of Best School Tour Operator 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 at the 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