School calls off visit by Africans


Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A UK school has called off a visit by African teachers after parents raised concerns about pupils contracting the Ebola virus.

Teachers from Gambia were due to take part in a long-planned exchange trip at Raysfield Infants’ School in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire.

Health authorities were consulted about possible risks from Ebola but insisted there was “no reason” to cancel the trip on safety grounds.

The school was forced to postpone the exchange regardless following concerns and a meeting with parents last week.

Head teacher Alison Wood said: “Since August I have been in contact with Public Health England who have reassured me that there were no reasons to cancel the planned trip from the Gambian teachers on the grounds of safety.

“Over the last six years, we have developed strong ties with the Gambia and the exchange trip has provided a rich educational experience for all.

“However the level of concern from some parents about the planned trip has prompted Kristina Lundahl, director of education from The Future in our Hands in the Gambia, to postpone the trip.

“The last visit to Raysfield was such a fantastic experience for both the children of Raysfield and the Gambian teachers, even though it is safe to travel, she wouldn’t want the trip to be overshadowed by the concerns.

“The wonderful links that Raysfield Infants’ has with the Gambia will continue and possibly be strengthened by the decision to postpone. Having met with parents yesterday they are definitely supportive of a future trip.”

The trip was planned last February when Mrs Wood and other members of staff were at The Future in our Hands in the Gambia.

In a letter to parents, Mrs Wood said the school had agreed to cancel the trip as it would be “overshadowed by concerns” and was trying to get a refund on the flights.

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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