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Birmingham school children and teachers stranded abroad

Fifty seven children and eight teachers have missed the start of the summer term after being stranded in America on a school trip.

Fifty seven children and eight teachers have missed the start of the summer term after being stranded in America on a school trip.

The group from Bounville School in Birmingham were stuck in Washington after their flight home was grounded by the volcanic ash air crisis.

Virgin flight VS022, due to touch down at Heathrow at 7.05am yesterday (Mon) is one of the thousands of flights cancelled leaving Brits stranded abroad.

Birmingham City Council is so far aware of 50 school staff who have been unable to return for the start of term.

Five headteachers are among those stranded in countries including Brazil, Poland, Tenerife, Eygpt, Denmark, Thailand and America.

Bounville school has suffered major disruption. As well as its eight teachers on a school trip, a further seven teachers are stuck abroad and the school has been forced to cancel lessons throughout this week.

Year 8 lessons were cancelled today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wed) and Year 7 lessons on Thursday and Friday.

Despite the disruption, Bournville School is ensuring stranded pupils in America carry on with their education by linking up with a secondary in Washington and providing lessons through its online “virtual learning environment”.

Headteacher Barbara Easton said: “We are continuing with their education in that we are putting work up on our virtual learning environment. We have asked them to link up with a local secondary school in Washington to use their computers.

“At the moment we are waiting to hear from the travel company. Some of the students have exams so we want to ensure they continue with their learning.”

Staff and pupils on family holidays and school-run trips remain stranded across the globe with no idea when they will return home as the flight ban continues to be extended.

Secondary school teacher Christina Antoniou and husband Tony, who provides IT support for schools across the region, are stuck in Mexico.

The couple from Solihull were due to return home to Birmingham after a week’s holiday at an all inclusive resort. Since then they have been moved to various hotels.

Christina is a teacher at Lode Heath School in Solihull.

Tony Howell, strategic director for children, young people and families at Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a unique set of circumstances which no one could have foreseen.

“Inevitably in an authority this size there are going to be some teachers and pupils who have been stranded abroad.

“Schools are doing everything they can to minimise the disruption caused and we hope for those affected things will return back to normal as soon as possible.”

 
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