PARENTS are demanding answers after they were refunded for a school trip to New York - but each cheque was missing £400.

A group of Lochend Community High School pupils should have been travelling to the Big Apple later this month.

But they say there was no communication from the Easterhouse secondary about what was happening with the holiday.

Out of the blue they were called to the school to collect a refund only to find they had been shortchanged hundreds of pounds with no explanation.

The Glasgow Times asked Glasgow City Council why £400 has been withheld from each family - around £8000 in total - to be told the headteacher plans to speak to parents.

So far they have not been contacted.

Dad Alan Duthie, whose son was booked on the holiday, said: "We have had no communication from the school since January when we paid the final amount for the trip.

"Then my sister rang me to say that the school had been in touch to ask us to go up and collect a cheque for our money back as the holiday was cancelled."

Alan said he, and other parents, paid £1485 for the excursion but were refunded £1085.

There was no note with the cheque to explain the discrepancy and Lochend parents say calls to the school have not been returned.

One parent did manage to get through to head teacher David McArthur who said he had taken the decision to cancel the trip, rather than wait for the travel agent to call the holiday off.

He is alleged to have said that he thought parents would prefer to have the majority of their money returned and lose the £400 paid from the school to the travel company so far.

But parents said they would have waited.

One said: "The school is telling lies and ducking and diving. It's absolutely disgraceful.

"Mr McArthur told me on the phone it is a small travel agency they use and if it had gone into administration we would have lost all our money but that can't be right as it must be covered by ABTA.

"We would have waited to get our full amount back and not throw away hundreds of pounds that we can't afford to lose.

Mum Helen Beesley said: "It's disgusting that they didn't even put a note in with the cheque to explain the situation.

"We don't even know what this £400 was for. It doesn't seem to be a deposit - it just seems to be the only amount the school had paid so far to the travel agents.

"Which makes us wonder where the rest of our money was sitting as we paid it up months ago."

Another mum said: "My daughter put a lot of money in herself and she's worked really hard to pay to go on this trip.

"Now she's not getting the trip or her money back."

Scottish Labour raised the issue of school trip refunds in parliament last week after it emerged parents are owed cash.

We told last week how parents at Lourdes had lost £250 deposit from a school trip to New York.

Education Secretary John Swinney has now agreed to investigate the issue.

West of Scotland MSP Neil Bibby said: “The Scottish Government should investigate the legal position of schools in recovering deposits and work with the local authorities’ body COSLA to ensure guidance and advice is issued to schools.”

But Lochend parents are now left waiting for answers.

Alan added: "My son is autistic and so it was a big deal to allow him to go in the first place.

"We had to give up our family holiday this year in order to pay for him to go.

"We simply don't have that kind of money to lose and there has been no discussion from the school at all."

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “We totally understand and sympathise with parents who are out of pocket because school trips being cancelled during the worldwide health pandemic and the council’s insurance service is doing all that they can to recover the non-refundable deposits.

“The headteacher has assured us that he is still working on getting this resolved and will be communicating directly with the parents.

“Unfortunately this will take time as there is an increased number of claims, various new working practices and absences because of the crisis have to be taken into an account.

“We are very sorry for the delay that is out with our control at the moment and our schools will keep in touch with their families to let them know any updates.”