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5.4.1 Holidays and School Trips in the UK

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to holidays and school/organisational trips within the UK for all children in care.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Delegation of Authority to Foster Carers and Residential Workers Procedure

Local guidance – Decision Support Tool for Delegated Authority

AMENDMENT

This policy was reviewed and substantially amended in April 2016. It should be read in its entirety.


Contents

  1. Holidays in the UK
  2. School / Organisational Trips of up to 4 days Away
  3. School / Organisational Trips of More than 4 days


1. Holidays in the UK

Where a child is in a long term placement and subject to a Care Order, then authority to take children on holiday is delegated to the carers, unless otherwise stated in the child’s care plan and/or Placement Information Record. It is good practice for the carers to inform the allocated social worker where holidays are planned.

If the child is accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act, or subject to an Interim Care Order, then consent from the parent (s) should be sought, unless the parent(s) has previously signed a delegated authority form enabling foster carers and/or allocated social worker to make such decisions. If the parent refuses permission for the child to go on holiday, then generally their views should be respected. In extreme circumstances, the child’s allocated social worker can seek legal advice in respect of seeking the permission of the court to act against the wishes of the parent(s). Any decision to do so must first be agreed by the Area Operations Manager.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances that have been approved by the Area Operations Manager and the Head of School. Requests must be made in writing. (Note that under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, the previous ability of head teachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a holiday during term time in ‘special circumstances’ of up to ten school days leave per year has been removed. The 2013 Regulations make clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’).

It is generally the case that holidays for children Looked After should be funded by the Foster Carer or Placement provider. Where the holiday involves additional costs, the social worker should obtain approval for the costs from the relevant manager before the holiday can be agreed.

Where the holiday will interrupt contact arrangements between the child and parents, consideration should also be given to arranging additional contacts before and after the holiday.

Where the holiday will interrupt contact arrangements between the child and parents, consideration should also be given to arranging additional contacts before and after the holiday.


2. School / Organisational Trips of up to 4 days Away

The social worker should ensure risk assessments have been conducted.

If the child is in long term foster or residential care and subject to a Care Order, then the child’s record should include a delegated authority form which outlines who is needed to give consent to short trips. This will usually be the foster carer/residential worker and/or allocated social worker.

If the child is accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act, or subject to an Interim Care Order, then consent of the parent (s) should be sought, unless the parent(s) has previously signed a delegated authority form enabling foster carers and/or allocated social worker to make such decisions. If the parent refuses permission for the child to go on holiday, then generally their views should be respected. In extreme circumstances, the child’s allocated social worker can seek legal advice in respect of seeking the permission of the court to act against the wishes of the parent(s). Any decision to do so must first be agreed by the Area Operations Manager.

It is the responsibility of the organiser of trips, usually schools, to complete the appropriate risk assessments prior to the trip taking place. In the same way a birth parent would, Foster Carers and/or Residential Workers should clarify that risk assessments are in place prior to any trip.


3. School / Organisational Trips of More than 4 days

If the child is in long term foster or residential care and subject to a Care Order, then the child’s record should contain a delegated authority form which outlines who is able to give consent for short trips. This will usually be the foster carer/residential worker and/or allocated social worker.

If the child is accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act, or subject to an Interim Care Order, then consent of the parent (s) should be sought, unless the parent(s) has previously signed a delegated authority form enabling foster carers and/or allocated social worker to make such decisions. If the parent refuses permission for the child to attend a school trip, then generally their views should be respected. In extreme circumstances, the child’s allocated social worker can seek legal advice in respect of seeking the permission of the court to act against the wishes of the parent(s). Any decision to do so must first be agreed by the Area Operations Manager.

It is the responsibility of the organiser of trips, usually schools, to complete the appropriate risk assessments prior to the trip taking place. In the same way a birth parent would, Foster Carers and/or Residential Workers should clarify that risk assessments are in place prior to any trip.

End