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3.6.4 Holidays and School/Organisational Trips Outside the UK (including Passports)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

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

For organisational trips, it should be read in conjunction with "There and Back Again" - the Outdoor Education Handbook for Hillingdon Children.

AMENDMENT

In November 2014, Section 1, Holidays and School Trips Abroad, was updated to indicate that under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, the previous ability of headteachers 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 headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’.


Contents

  1. Holidays or School Trips Abroad 
  2. When the Courts Permission is Required 
  3. Obtaining a Passport 


1. Holidays or School Trips Abroad

Where there is a proposal for a Looked After Child to go on holiday or a school/organisational trip abroad, the child’s social worker must obtain full information about the holiday/trip, satisfy him or herself that the child’s welfare will be safeguarded during the holiday and seek the views of the child and parent as soon as possible. 

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. (Note that under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, the previous ability of headteachers 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 headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’.)

The social worker should ascertain whether inoculations will be necessary and if so, seek the consent of the child and parents for these at the same time.

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

If the social worker considers the holiday should go ahead, he/she should seek the approval of the Designated Manager (Passports and Holidays Abroad) to the holiday. 

The social worker's written request for such approval should include information about the length, purpose and arrangements for the holiday/trip; the wishes of the child; the views of the parent; the views of the staff/carer; the likely cost and how it is to be funded. The request for approval may be accompanied by a request for financial support and should always be accompanied by the child’s up to date Care Plan, Placement Plan and, where applicable, Pathway Plan

Where parental consent is not given, the social worker should obtain legal advice as to whether the holiday/trip can go ahead. Where the legal advice indicates the holiday/trip is possible, the approval of the Designated Manager (Passports and Holidays Abroad) can still be sought. The request for such approval should include the legal advice given.

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

If approved, the holiday/trip arrangements should be included in the Placement Plan.

The social worker should arrange for the child to be inoculated as advised, and adequately insured for the holiday/trip.

Where the child does not hold a valid passport, the social worker should arrange for this - see Section 3, Obtaining a Passport.

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. When the Court's Permission is Required

If the child is the subject of a Care Order and the holiday abroad is for more than one month, an application must also be made to the appropriate court for permission to allow the child to go abroad if the parents' written agreement is not obtained.

Where a Court Order is required, the social worker should contact Legal Services as soon as possible for the necessary application to be made and advise the parents of the intended application.

If the holiday is authorised by the court, the holiday should be included in the Placement Plan and additional contact arranged as above.


3. Obtaining a Passport

Where there is a proposal for a child to go on a holiday or trip abroad and the child does not currently hold a valid passport, the request to the Designated Manager (Passports and Holidays Abroad) in relation to the holiday/trip should include a request for authority to obtain a passport for the child.

Where the child requires a passport for any other reason, the approval of the Designated Manager should be sought. The written request for such approval should include the reason for the request, the wishes of the child; the views of the parent; the views of the staff/carer where applicable; and the child’s up to date Care Plan, Placement Plan and, where applicable, Pathway Plan.

Where the Designated Manager gives authority for a passport to be obtained for a child, this must be confirmed in writing. The social worker must inform the parent of the decision. 

The social worker will obtain and complete the necessary application for the child or assist the parent/child to complete the necessary application form.

Where the child is the subject of a Care Order, the passport application must be signed by the Designated Manager (Passports and Holidays Abroad) and accompanied by a letter confirming the child’s legal status and purpose and time-scale of the holiday/trip abroad.

When the child is Accommodated, the parents must sign the application. If the parents do not consent, legal advice should be sought; the application can only be made in these circumstances if accompanied by a Court Order authorising the issue of a passport without the parents’ consent.

For detailed guidance about the requirements of an application, see the Guidance notes for Social Services Departments when applying for passports on behalf of 'looked after children' issued by the Identity and Passport Service in January 2009.

End