Skip to main content
Cumbria County Council Logo

top of this page

Size: View this website with small text View this website with medium text View this website with large text View this website with high visibility

5.4.3 Holidays and School Trips Outside the UK


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


In August 2021, this guidance was reviewed and updated throughout. Section 4, Insurance Cover was updated to include details of how to apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which provides access to reduced cost or free medical insurance in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Section 5, Obtaining a Passport was also 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 for Accommodated Children
  2. Holidays for Children on Care Orders
  3. When the Court's Permission is Required
  4. Insurance Cover
  5. 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 and Delegated Authority Form.

The consent of the parent(s) or person with Parental Responsibility (Section 20) must be obtained and consent form signed. This should be used to provide the following information:

  • Proposed dates and duration of the holiday;
  • The wishes and feelings of the child;
  • Address(es)/contact details of the holiday location/what type of holiday;
  • Insurance details;
  • Who will be present on the holiday e.g. names of other children and other adults;
  • If the holiday involves staying with friends or relatives, their names and addresses;
  • Emergency contacts;
  • Any risk assessments that may be required, which should include any health or behaviour issues of the child as well as the holiday environment itself.

If it is a group 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; such requests need to be approved by the child and the Head Teacher of the child’s school and the Social Work Manager in conjunction with the virtual school.

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 (Section 20) is not required but should be obtained wherever practicable or possible. Any objections by the parent(s) should be recorded on the child's electronic records.

The Social Worker should ensure that arrangements are in place through the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record and Delegated Authority Form to be notified well in advance of any plans for holidays abroad in order to obtain required consent.

3. 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 if the parent’s 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. Carers will also need a letter from the local authority giving permission to take the child out of the country. This will be provided by the Team Manager.

4. Insurance Cover

4.1 Healthcare for UK Nationals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) provides access to state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free.

  • If the child already has a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) this remains valid until the expiry date on the card;
  • If the child does not have a European Health Insurance Card or it has expired, they will need a Global Health Insurance Card. Cards can be ordered online from the NHS. For children under 16, the application should be completed by their carers.

The GHIC and EHIC do not replace travel insurance which should be in place for all holidays outside the UK. For the latest advice on the GHIC see the GOV.UK website.

4.2 Travel Insurance Cover for Holidays

Carers should obtain travel insurance for all holidays overseas, this will cover a range of eventualities, including medical expenses, a trip being cut short or cancelled, and loss or theft of possessions. For more advice on travel insurance, see the GOV.UK website.

5. Obtaining a Passport