Britain on Thursday lifted some costly obstacles placed on school trips post Brexit -- but only for students from France as campaigners called for all EU countries to benefit.

The U-turn follows talks earlier this year over the issue between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron.

French and EU nationals at schools in France who cross the Channel for a language-learning holiday will now need to carry only a simple identity card, as was the case before the UK formally departed the European Union in 2021.

While non-EU nationals attending French schools will still need a passport to enter the UK on a language-learning holiday, London has scrapped the need for them to have a visa costing £115 ($147).

British Educational Travel Association, which has seen demand for school trips tumble since Brexit, described Thursday's changes as "a positive step ahead", while urging the UK government to expand them for the entire European Union.

BETA is pushing also for a new scheme that would allow groups of EU nationals and residents aged under 18 to travel to the UK for up to six weeks for educational visits.

In France, the director of an organisation offering school trips warmly welcomed the partial lifting of restrictions that have been made ahead of the new year, claiming it would trigger a resurgence in visits.

"These changes are much more than a victory", said Edward Hisbergues of PG Trips, which had complained of a drop in demand for excursions to the UK owing to prohibitive costs.

"The United Kingdom is once again giving teachers an image of a welcoming country that loves France," he told AFP.