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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.


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 there is a proposal for a Child in Care to go on holiday in the UK, the child's social worker must obtain full information about the holiday, and seek the views of the child and parent as soon as possible.

If the parents consent, their consent must be obtained in writing.

Where the social worker, parent and staff/carer agree to the proposed holiday, the holiday can be approved and should be included in the child's Placement Plan.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances that would be approved by the Social Worker's Manager for the child and the Head of School. Requests must be made in writing.

Where the social worker considers that the holiday should go ahead despite the parents' opposition and legal advice supports this, the approval of the social worker's manager to the holiday should be sought. The request for such approval should include the legal advice given.

Written confirmation of the manager's decision, together with the reasons, should be provided to the parent.

Where the holiday will involve additional costs, the social worker should obtain approval for the costs from the relevant manager before the holiday can be agreed.

If approved, the holiday should be included in the child's Placement Plan.

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 overall aim of these procedures is to ensure that, through a process of responsible parenting, Children in Care are granted, as far as possible, the same permissions and opportunities to maintain acceptable and age appropriate peer activities as would reasonably be granted by the parents of their peers.

The child's participation in school/organisational trips should be of been considered at the time of the placement, and the necessary consultation undertaken and agreed in the Placement Plan Part 2 meeting along with any restrictions to the role of the child’s foster carers in consenting to overnight stays, trips/activities.

Where a child is placed with the parents, the Placement Plan will usually provide that a school trip of up to 4 days can be agreed by the social worker in consultation with the school and the parent.

Where a child is placed in foster care or residential care, the Placement Plan will usually authorise the staff/carer to agree to the child going on school or other organisational trips of up to 4 days away without prior consultation with the social worker or the parent - see Social Visits and Overnight Stays with Friends Procedure. If the staff/carer have not been so authorised, the child's social worker and parents must be consulted before agreement can be given.

For school trips and other activities the following should also be considered:

  • Who will be supervising the child during the trip/activity?
  • Are those supervising the trip suitably qualified to ensure the child’s safety while participating on the trip/activity?
  • Have the organisers of the trip/activity obtained appropriate insurance against medical and/or legal liability should the child be injured or killed?
  • The financial cost of the trip (if any) and who is expected to pay for this (if the foster carers/residential staff expects this to be paid for by the local authority authorisation must be obtained through the child’s social worker (team leader is the case is unallocated) prior to any consent being given.

As part of the delegation process the child’s social worker (team leader if the case is unallocated) must ensure that the child’s foster carers or residential key worker are made aware of any individuals, addresses or areas which may place a child at risk.

In exceptional circumstances, where there is good reason to consider a child will be at specific risk from taking part in a trip/activity, the foster carer or residential staff should consult with the child’s social worker before deciding whether to give consent.

Once consent has been given:

  • The foster carers/residential staff should inform the child’s social worker of any consent provided for the child to go on a trip/activity as soon as this is practicable;
  • The child’s social worker should ensure that the child’s parent(s)/person’s with Parental Responsibility (where appropriate) are made aware that consent has been given for a particular trip/activity (if this has not already been undertaken by the foster carers/residential staff. A record of the school trip/activity should be placed on the child’s file;
  • Foster carers and residential staff should ensure that they obtain contact details in the event of an overnight stay or a trip/activity involves more than one day away from the foster home;
  • The foster carers/residential staff must ensure that the child has their contact details (i.e. telephone number and address) in order for the child to be able to contact them should they need to.

Where parental consent is not given, the social worker should consult their team manager and obtain legal advice as necessary. Where the team manager agrees to the child going on the trip despite parental opposition, the reasons must be recorded and explained to the parent.


3. School / Organisational Trips of More than 4 days

Where the child expresses a wish to go on a school/organisational trip that is for more than 4 days, the following procedure should be followed.

To obtain approval for the trip, the social worker must first obtain full details of the arrangements for the trip including how many staff will be present, and whether all the adults on the trip including volunteers have had the necessary checks.

Social workers should ensure the appropriate procedure has been followed for risk assessments.

The child's social worker must seek the views of the parent, staff/carer and school as soon as possible and decide whether it is appropriate to recommend that the child be allowed to go.

If the social worker considers that it would be appropriate for the child to go on the trip, the social worker must seek the consent of his/her team manager.

The written request for such approval should explain the purpose and length of the trip; the wishes of the child; the views of the parent; the views of the staff/carer (unless the child is placed at home), the views of the school; arrangements for adult supervision on the trip, whether the adults are well known to the child and vice versa and the likely cost and how it is to be funded. The request for approval may be accompanied by a request for financial support.

Where parental consent is not given, the social worker should obtain legal advice and the request to the social worker's team manager should refer to the legal advice given. Where the team manager agrees to the child going on the trip despite parental opposition, the reasons must be recorded and a written explanation should be provided to the parent.

End