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11.5.2 Holidays and School Trips Outside the UK


This procedure applies to day trips and holidays outside the UK for all Looked After Children.


Children Act 1989 Section 22

Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 - Regulation 16

National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services 2011 - Standard 7

Children’s Homes Regulations 2001, as amended by the Children’s Homes (Amendment) Regulations 2011 - Regulation 18

Children’s Homes Quality Standards and Regulations 2015


In January 2019, a new section was added as Section 5, Holidays Where Children may be at Risk.


  1. Holidays for Accommodated Children
  2. Holidays for Children on Care Orders
  3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers
  4. When the Court’s Permission is Required
  5. Holidays Where Children may be at Risk
  6. Insurance
  7. Obtaining a Passport

1. Holidays for Accommodated Children

Arrangements for notifying and consulting the social worker about holiday plans should be agreed in the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record.

The consent of the parent(s) or person with Parental Responsibility must be obtained and consent form signed. This should be used to provide the following information:

  • Address where holiday is taken;
  • Responsible adult(s) accompanying the child including adult/child ratio if group holiday;
  • If the child is going with a family or person who is not known to Children's Social Care Service, whether the appropriate checks have been made;
  • Dates of holiday;
  • Views of the child;
  • If any cost to the Authority, including insurance;
  • Any additional information.

If it is a group day trip or holiday, the social worker must be satisfied that adequate health and safety precautions are taken.

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 to the head teacher.

2. Holidays for Children on Care Orders

The procedure is the same as for those for Accommodated Children (see Section 1, Holidays for Accommodated Children) except that the consent of the parents or person having Parental Responsibility is not required but should be obtained wherever practicable or possible. Any objections by the parent(s) should be considered and recorded on the child's electronic records. Written consent from the responsible Children’s Service Manager is required and the carer is advised to take a copy of this consent with them on the holiday.

The social worker should ensure that arrangements are in place through the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record to be notified well in advance of any plans for holidays abroad in order to obtain required consent.

3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers

The procedure is the same as for Accommodated Children (see Section 1, Holidays for Accommodated Children) except that:

  • Approval is unlikely if the child/young person wishes to go on their own and/or to a destination which could call into question the integrity of their original claim for asylum;
  • The responsible Children’s Service Manager would have to endorse the holiday by signing the consent form.

4. When the Courts 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 the Court’s permission to allow the child to go abroad. An application must also be made to the appropriate Court for the Courts 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/Placement Information Record.

5. Holidays Where Children may be at Risk

If it is proposed to arrange a holiday for a Looked After Child to a destination where the child may be at risk, for example, where there is political unrest, this has recently included Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt; the holiday will only be agreed on the basis:

  • Current foreign travel advice is gained from the government website;
  • Parents written consent must be obtained; and
  • A risk assessment undertaken to include what measures foster carers will take to keep the children safe. Examples might be not leaving the resort.

A holiday will not be agreed if the government foreign travel advice recommends against all travel; or all but essential travel.

6. Insurance

6.1 Medical Treatment during visits to EEC Countries

Children travelling within EU/EEA countries and Switzerland will be covered for medical treatment through a European Health Insurance Card. An application form can be downloaded from or be collected from the post office. The Department of Health and Social Care also provides health advice for travellers. For children under 16 years old, the form needs to be completed by the parent(s) or foster carer(s) and be submitted as a family application. Young people over 16 can apply for a European Health Insurance Card in their own name.

6.2 Private Medical Insurance Cover or Insurance Cover for Holidays

In situations where medical cover is required at short notice, it is suggested that private insurance cover is taken out.

The insurance referred to in Section 6.1, Medical Treatment during visits to EEC Countries only covers a child for medical treatment and not for loss of luggage, cover for cancellation of the holiday etc. Therefore a private insurance policy is needed for a child travelling abroad.

7. Obtaining a Passport

The United Kingdom Passport Agency provides guidance for social workers seeking to obtain a passport for a Looked After Child.

If Children's Social Care Service have previously applied for a passport on the child's behalf and are applying for a renewal or extension, a letter outlining the circumstances mentioned above stating that these have not changed is sufficient. In these circumstances there is no need to complete the application form. This should be signed by the Children's Service Manager.

Where there is a proposal for a child to go on holiday abroad and the child does not currently hold a valid passport, the request to the Children's Service Manager in relation to the holiday should include a written request for the authority to obtain a passport for the child.

If it is an urgent application where an application is made in person, the social worker must provide evidence of their identity and a signed letter of authorisation from the Children's Service Manager.

Where the child requires a passport for any other reason, the approval of the Children's Service 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. Where the Children's Service 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 child to complete the necessary application form.

For further guidance: GOV.UK website.