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Highcliffe School ski trip pupils stuck in Dover chaos as teachers spend £500 on pizzas

TWO coach-loads of Highcliffe School children were caught up in the port of Dover chaos as teachers spent £500 on pizzas, with the youngsters forced to wait 24 hours for their ferry.

The party of 80 pupils and teachers left the school at 4pm on Friday for a week-long ski trip in Pila, in the Italian Aosta Valley, and had expected to take a sailing at 8.25pm that day.

However, lengthy delays – which saw the port declare a critical incident – stranded the coaches in a Kent car park for more than 20 hours as port staff struggled to deal with the backlog.

Queue at the Port of Dover on Friday (picture: Stuart Brock)
Queue at the Port of Dover on Friday (picture: Stuart Brock)

The port has blamed the Easter traffic, bad weather and post-Brexit delays by French border staff for the issues.

Some schools were forced to cancel their trips after their drivers had reached their maximum hours.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has come under fire amid suggestions Brexit was a major cause of the disruption, which she has denied.

Highcliffe School assistant head Edward Davies, who is on the trip, told the A&T: "We would always make sure the students are fed and happy.

"The experience of our first day has accelerated group cohesion and it is lovely to see students enjoying themselves and the mixing of friendship groups without the need of digital devices.

"We are already seeing the development of self-confidence of our shyer students."

The buses stayed at hotels in Remes last night
The buses stayed at hotels in Remes last night

After finally catching the 5.25pm ferry yesterday (Sunday), the two coaches spent the night at Remes, France, and were due to reach their destination later this afternoon.

Mr Davies added: "Teachers have been proud to see students taking the setbacks in their stride and not let the inconvenience dampen their excitement.

"The development of character is one of the reasons we run school trips.

"As a geography teacher, I am now looking forward to sharing my knowledge of glaciation and geology with our students.

"They don’t share my enthusiasm just yet."

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