Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual

5.6.2 Holidays and School/Organisational Visits in the UK

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

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

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in August 2015 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

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


1. Holidays in the UK

Where there is a proposal for a looked after child to go on holiday in the UK, the child's social worker must obtain reasonable and sufficient 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/Placement Information Record.

For children who are in a long term placement and there is agreement with the Children’s Services that the carers have Delegated Authority (see Delegation of Responsibility to Foster Carers and Residential Workers Procedure), depending upon the nature of the delegation agreed it may be the case that the carers are able to make such decisions themselves. However, good practice should ensure that decisions by the carers are shared in a timely way with the Supporting Foster Care Social Worker and / or child’s allocated practitioner.

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. 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’.)

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/Placement Information Record.

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 Visits of up to 4 days Away

The social worker should ensure that sufficient planning and preparation has been undertaken in support of the visit. Where visits are being led by City Community Schools many checks will already have been undertaken by the Local Authority Outdoor Education Adviser and additional checks by the social worker regarding the planning of the visit by the school will not be necessary.

The child's participation in school/organisational visits should be considered at the time of the placement, and the consultation required before they can be agreed should be included in the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record.

Where a child is placed with the parents, the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record will usually provide that a school visit 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/Placement Information Record will usually authorise the staff/carer to agree to the child going on school or other organisational visits 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.

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 visit despite parental opposition, the reasons must be recorded and explained to the parent.


3. School / Organisational Visits of More than 4 days

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

To obtain approval for the visit, the social worker must first obtain full details of the arrangements for the visit, many checks will already have been undertaken by the Local Authority Outdoor Education Adviser and additional checks by the social worker regarding the planning of the visit by the school will not be necessary.

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 visit, 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 visit; 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 visit, 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 visit despite parental opposition, the reasons must be recorded and a written explanation should be provided to the parent.

End