Holidays and School Trips

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

The Children’s Views, Wishes and Feelings Standard

The Enjoyment and Achievement Standard

OUTCOME STATEMENT

Children and young people are able to pursue their particular interests, develop confidence in their skills and are supported and encouraged by staff to engage in leisure activities.

This chapter was added to the manual in April 2014.



Contents

  1. Policy Statement
  2. Ensuring Children Stay Safe
  3. Consent
  4. Risk Assessment
  5. Emergency Situations
  6. Staff Supervision
  7. Behaviour Management Whilst Away
  8. Sleeping Arrangements
  9. Holidays or School Trips Outside of the UK
  10. Miscellaneous


1. Policy Statement

Childhood First understand the need for children to both be safe and feel safe in all activities they do. When children feel safe, they are more likely to enjoy themselves and, in turn, are more likely to develop in confidence and achieve success. In order to ensure children both feel safe but also stay safe, we understand the need to plan for all holiday and school trip activities they do. Thorough planning and preparation reduces the likelihood of needing to be reactive to situations as they arise and also allows staff to engage and work with children in a more meaningful way whilst on holiday or a trip. We understand that it is not possible to plan for all eventualities but aim to ensure that, as far as possible, we have a common sense approach to unexpected situations and that the welfare of the children remains our priority. The responsibility for planning rests with the Registered Managers and staff of each establishment.

Issues for consideration

The following issues for consideration are intended to provide the Registered Manager and Residential Support Worker with guidance when planning and managing holidays and school trips for children and young people.


2. Ensuring Children Stay Safe

Planning for holidays or school trips should ensure that the child's safety and welfare is promoted at all times (NMS 4.1). Dependent on the type of holiday or school trip, ensuring the child's safety will need to be considered within the context of encouraging children to take appropriate risks as a normal part of growing up* e.g. outdoor adventurous activities where there may be an inherent level of risk associated with particular activities. These activities and risks should be proportionately risk assessed and managed, at all times, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff. The responsibility for ensuring that appropriately qualified and experienced staff are employed to provide activities for children in Childhood First holidays or school trips, rests with Childhood First. 

* NMS 4.3 & Regulation 23 & Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations - volume 5: children’s homes, October 2013, 2.60 - 2.64.


3. Consent

Planning for holidays or school trips will need to consider whether the appropriate written consents have been provided by those with parental responsibility. This may be provided by the placing Local Authority for the child and/or parents/carers. This should be secured at the earliest opportunity prior to any bookings being made or money paid for activities. Documentation seeking consent should provide a clear outline of the nature of the holiday/school trip and any activities that will be available. This allows those with Parental Responsibility to then give informed consent.

However, it will be important to remember that staff do have a degree of delegated authority** for the care and welfare of children in their care. Day to day decisions about activities, such as holidays and school trips, may have been agreed at the point of placement with all appropriate consents in place. This should be formally recorded on the child's file and checked at the planning stage for each holiday/trip.

** NMS 7.4, Delegation of authority: Amendments to the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review, July 2013, Department for Education, and The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations, Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review, March 2010, page 71 - 72, HM Government.


4. Risk Assessment

In reaching a decision about whether it is appropriate to take a child or young person on a holiday or trip it is important that a risk assessment is undertaken prior to a child being booked onto a holiday. The risk assessment should be undertaken by the Registered Manager or Residential Support Worker in partnership with the child's placing Social Worker and/or parent/carer. It should cover all aspects of the child's day to day care needs whilst away on holiday or school trip, as well as any activities that the child may participate in. It is also good practice to involve children and young people in the risk assessment process to ensure that they are aware of potential risk factors. This should include a contingency plan of a return home/back to school if the child's behaviour on the holiday or trip causes concern. Risk assessments should also cover;

  • the type of activity/holiday or trip;
  • the age, competence, fitness and standards of behaviour of the children;
  • any special educational, emotional, behavioural or medical needs of both children and supporting staff;
  • adult: child ratios;
  • the competence, experience and qualifications of staff/adults,
  • modes of transport, journey routes and locations;
  • emergency procedures.

The completed risk assessment, on all holidays and trips, should be scrutinised and agreed by either the Registered Manager or a Senior member of the Management Team at Childhood First.


5. Emergency Situations

It will be important that appropriate consent is obtained to cover the need of a medical emergency, and treatment. Whilst on holiday or school trip it will necessary to ensure that staff have relevant information immediately available to them should an emergency arise. Examples of situations which may require this might include, a medical emergency, a child going missing which requires the Police to become involved, and accidents. Information should include emergency contacts, medical needs, ID and distinguishing features, along with any other relevant information that may be useful in an emergency situation. This information, which will be of a personal, sensitive and confidential nature, should be held securely at all times whilst away.

Staff should have suitable means of communication e.g. mobile phones, whilst away on holiday or school trip. Where the trip is overseas, staff will need to ensure that mobile phones are enabled to make and receive calls abroad.

Contingency plans should also be considered prior to the holiday or school trip. Situations such as staff illness or car breakdown may arise and prior contingency planning will ensure arrangements are not completely undermined.


6. Staff Supervision

In order for the holiday or school trip to be successful there will need to be sufficient adults to supervise children at all times. The levels of supervision will vary, dependent on the type of holiday/trip but also on the activities being undertaken, the age range of the children and any particular needs of the group of children which may increase risk e.g. learning difficulties, behavioural difficulties etc. This will need to be considered when planning the holiday or school trip.

Staff should discuss with children, in an age appropriate manner, what they should do if they become lost or separated whilst away; children should also be made aware of known risks.


7. Behaviour Management Whilst Away

Whilst away on holiday or a school trip children's behaviour may still require clear and decisive management. The management of difficult behaviour when away from the home environment is an issue that should be considered and planned for, prior to going away. The staff approach and management to problematic behaviour, which may be in a public location, exposes both staff and children to additional levels of scrutiny. The responsibility on staff to ensure standards of care are maintained remain***

*** NMS 3 & Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations - volume 5: children’s homes, October 2013, 2.60 - 2.64 & 2.85 - 2.106.


8. Sleeping Arrangements

As part of the planning and risk assessment stages it will be important to consider sleeping arrangements for both children and staff. NMS 10 provides some guidance on the issue of bedroom arrangements for children and this can be considered a good standard to apply to holiday situations.

As a general rule therefore all children should have their own bedroom or sleeping space that affords them some privacy. This should be the same for staff. However, on occasions whilst on holiday it may not be practical or possible to maintain these standards and children may need to share a bedroom or sleeping space e.g. camping, rented accommodation, hotels and hostels. Mixed gender bedrooms/sleeping areas are not acceptable on any occasion. Each situation will need to be assessed, dependent on the needs of the individual children. Issues that should be covered in a risk assessment will include;

  • the age, developmental stage, maturity, health & medical issues, disability and mobility of children;
  • known behaviours i.e. offending, absconding, bullying, violence and abuse (self or others);
  • access to bathrooms during the night;
  • monitoring and supervision of children including staff ratios;
  • environmental issues such as fire escape, access to other rooms, stairs, lighting, access to staff.

The completed risk assessment, on all holidays and trips, should be scrutinized and agreed by either the Registered Manager or a Senior member of the Management Team at Childhood First.


9. Holidays or School Trips Outside of the UK

Where there is a proposal for a child or young person to go on a holiday or school trip abroad, the child will require a Passport. The placing Local Authority Social Worker and/or parent/carer will need to be consulted about this in good time. This will also be the case for any Visa requirements.

Where overseas holidays and trips are planned, staff must ensure that a child's need for vaccination or other preventative measures e.g. anti-malarial medication, are properly planned.

For holidays within the European Community children and staff will need to have a European Health Insurance Card. These cards can be obtained via the NHS (see NHS Choices website).


10. Miscellaneous

Where the holiday or school trip will interrupt scheduled contact arrangements between the child and parents or siblings, consideration should be given to making alternative suitable arrangements. Whilst away on holiday it may still be appropriate for the child to maintain some form of contact with parents, family and siblings e.g. postcards. This should be encouraged if appropriate to do so.

Appropriate insurance cover should be in place for holidays and school trips. This should cover potential medical and repatriation costs.