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3.6.3 Holidays and School/Organisational Trips Outside the UK


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 Activities Procedure.


In December 2021, this guidance was reviewed and updated throughout. Section 3, Obtaining a Passport was updated to link to reissued Home Office guidance for Local Authorities Children’s Services Departments when Applying for Passports on Behalf of Children.


  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 them that the child's welfare will be safeguarded during the holiday and seek the views of the child and parent as soon as possible. Please note children are not allowed to go on holiday in school terms.

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, this consent must be obtained in writing.

If social worker considers the holiday should go ahead, they should seek the approval of the Head of Service 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. 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 Head of Service Designated Manager (Passports and Holidays Abroad) can still be sought. The request for such approval should include the legal advice given.

If approved, the holiday/trip arrangements should be recorded on ICS.

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.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances; such a request must be approved by the Head of the child’s School and the Social Worker's Manager for the child.

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.

3. Obtaining a Passport

The Home Office has issued Guidance for Local Authorities Children's Services Departments when Applying for Passports on Behalf of Children:

  • Children's Services Departments are normally only entitled to apply for passports for a Looked After Child when they have parental responsibility;
  • Where Children's Services do not hold parental responsibility, the application cannot be processed without the consent of at least one person who has parental responsibility for the child.