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French immersion language school in limbo over Covid travel rules

The school specialises in language trips for UK schools and still does not know if it can reopen

The school's aim is to help understand and appreciate the differences and attractions of France and ultimately to fall in love with the country as have done Alex and Mark Elliot Pic: Courtesy of Alex and Mark Elliot

The Covid health pass - required of children from age 12 in France to be able to enter or attend certain places since September 30 - is posing issues for a language centre which specialises in French immersion trips for UK schools.

Read more: French health pass requirements extends to 12 to 17-year-olds today

Maison Claire Fontaine in Magny, Burgundy still does not know whether it can reopen after 18 months’ closure. 

It is run by Alex and Mark Elliott, who moved to France in 2011. Mrs Elliott said: “The business had been growing really well, and we were about to have our best year when Covid-19 stopped everything. 

“Usually, we employ up to 20 people, but now it is just my husband and me, trying to work out what we can and cannot do.” 

September, October and November trips have been cancelled, and there is a question mark over next year, which is fully booked from February to July. 

“We are finding it very difficult to get any precise information. 

“Our problem comes from a combination of the health pass and travel requirements, as in France, over 12s are expected to have a double vaccination for many activities, whilst in the UK, just one vaccination has only recently been introduced for this age group. 

“We have been told children can travel to France with parents without a double vaccination, but despite asking the authorities several times, no-one has been able to tell us what the rules are for travel with accompanying adults on school trips. 

“We cannot risk schools turning up at the port and being turned away because pupils are not double vaccinated.”

Read more: Two jabs post-Covid now possible in France for travellers to UK

Read more: Concerns uncovered: French Health pass for teens proves divisive

“We have had desperate calls from schools saying children feel they are missing out, and it is very frustrating. 

“We feel our centre is safe, as pupils arrive by coach and can stay in a bubble with us. 

“We are getting no financial help from the French government because we do not seem to fit into any of the appropriate categories. 

“Many businesses seem to be getting back to normal, but not us and we need some clear information to help us work out what to do.”

La Maison Claire Fontaine can be found online here

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