January 26 2015 Latest news:
Monday, June 2, 2014
Dozens of students from three Norfolk schools are still going on an annual trip to Kenya, despite warnings from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office not to travel to many parts of the country unless it was essential.
The schools involved are Cliff Park Ormiston Academy in Gorleston, Acle Academy and Ormiston Victory Academy in Norwich. Flegg High School in Martham has pulled out of the trip, due to concerns.
The party of 50 including 41 students and nine staff will leave London for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi on a British Airways scheduled flight next month.
It comes after hundreds of British tourists have been evacuated from Kenya and Thomson and First Choice have cancelled all flights up to the end of October.
Unrest in the country has led to terrorism threats and a spate of grenade, bomb and armed attacks.
The 10-day trip is organised by Cherry Crowley, a former headteacher of Flegg High School, who said they were complying with all Foreign Office advice in making the trip.
She said they had changed the itinerary to avoid going near one of the trouble spots.
She said: “The Foreign Office advice makes it absolutely clear that there are certain areas, around Mombasa, Eastleigh in Nairobi, and on the Somali border, where you should not go. We don’t go anywhere near those places.”
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said the authority had been informed of the trip, and they had steered the organisers to the Foreign Office warnings.
But she added that as all three schools were academies, the council could not have prevented the trip, if it had wanted to.
Naomi Palmer, principal of Ormiston Victory, said parents had been given as much information as possible about the trip, and the situation in Kenya.
She said that only one family had been so concerned about the situation that they had pulled their children out of the trip.
Meanwhile, an anonymous businessman who is returning from Kenya due to the current situation, has expressed “surprise and alarm” that the schools were still travelling there.
He said: “I would have expected the institutions’ custodians and organisers to have properly researched their project and, in the light of recent UK and foreign government warnings of imminent terror attacks, to have cancelled their arrangements or amended their country of destination.
“Kenya is not a country to which I would endorse a school visit at the present time. I am currently in the process of modifying my own interests in the area as a direct result of the continuing and intensifying atrocities, together with the ongoing multi-governmental intelligence reports indicating an imminent terror attack.”
The schools’ exact itinerary during the trip has not been revealed, but last year students from Acle High School took much-needed supplies to their partner primary schools in Kenya, where they met and worked with pupils in Nairobi.
The South Walsham Road school has flown a group of students to Kenya for several years. In 2012 they went laden with knitted bonnets to help keep the Nairobi locals warm in winter.
see the Foreign Office advice below
Are you a parent of a child going on the trip? Would you like to comment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org