Information for carers, social workers and elected members
The support of foster carers and social workers is critical in helping a child succeed at school. We rely on you for many things from helping with homework, letting us know when things are not going well (and when they are) and ensuring the young person in your care gets to school.
The relationship that is built between yourselves, the young person’s school and the Virtual School is vital in securing both school and placement stability. These two factors alone play a critical part in ensuring the best possible outcomes for the young people we care for.
We hope the information provided on this part of the site will be helpful to you but we also recommend that you refer to the information for children and young people as this contains some important links along with information for care leavers.
Guidance for elected members
- For social workers
- PEPs and Pupil Premium
- Admissions and transport
- Supporting education
- Celebrating success
- For social workersPEPs and Pupil Premium
To ensure children in care receive the best possible education it is important that social workers consider the guidance below regarding the placement of children to a school, as well the as the guidance regarding joining and changing schools.
More informationAdmissions and transport
All looked after children are required to have a personal education plan (PEP). It is part of their care plan. A PEP is a means of recording accurate information about the education of looked after children. It follows the child or young person regardless of where they live, who cares for them or where they go to school. A PEP is an opportunity for everyone involved in the child or young person’s education to discuss how well they are doing and what can be done to help them achieve their aspirations and potential. The PEP Coordinator for your area will call the meeting in consultation with you and the school but the school has responsibility for writing and submitting the form. Successful completion of a good quality PEP will release Pupil Premium+ funding for the school to spend on improving educational outcomes for the child or young person.
These questions and suggestions will help you prepare for the PEP meeting:
When is a PEP needed?
- before or when received into care (the initial PEP should be held within 10 days of coming into care)
- it should be reviewed at least every six months
- if the child or young person changes school then a PEP meeting should be held within 20 days of starting the new school
- after a change in placement
- for any concerns a PEP review will be called
- to access specialist EP support.
What is my role?
As a carer you must attend the meeting. It should not happen without you. You will need to discuss the issues affecting the education of the child or young person in your care, including:
- how well do you think your child or young person is doing at school?
- have the targets from the last PEP been achieved?
- what are your main hopes for the child or young person this year?
- do you know what the expected progress and attainment is for a child of their age?
- talk to your child or young person before the meeting, ask if they want to raise or discuss anything
- does your child or young person seem happy in school?
- when does your child or young person behave well?
- does your child or young person make good relationships with adults and peers?
- help your child or young person to complete the section on their views
- do you have a copy of the last PEP?
- do you know who to contact in school? (designated teacher for children in care)
- do you have regular contact with the school?
- do you attend parents’ evening and other events your child or young person is involved in?
Supporting the child or young person at home
- do you talk to your child or young person about school?
- does your child or young person enjoy reading or being read to?
- does your child or young person enjoy out of school activities?
- does your child or young person do homework and do you support them with their homework?
- Early years PEP form (March 2016)
- New into care protocol (April 2016)
- Early years PEP guidance
- Keystage 1 to Keystage 4 PEP including guidance
- Requests for Incidental Costs
- PEA application form
- Music Lessons (please note that this document is currently being updated)
- DfE guidance on charging for school activities
Local authorities receive additional funding to support the education of children in care. This funding is called Pupil Premium Plus. Further information can be found at GOV.UK Pupil premium: funding and accountability for schools.Supporting education
The County Council, as the corporate parents, decides where a child in care should be taught to ensure they receive a good education and have a stable placement to support this. This decision is made jointly by the child’s social worker and the Virtual School Headteacher, and will be supported by the Admissions and the 0-25 SEN team.
Children in care are given priority for a place at a school which is deemed to be suitable for them. Once admitted to school children will be support by a designated teacher for children in care in the school. All schools should also have a policy for supporting children in care, it may be helpful to read this.
More informationCelebrating success
Research shows that pupils who attend school regularly achieve higher grades than those who do not. Also, for a child in care, school can be the only constant in their life. The Virtual School works to ensure that every child in care has an appropriate full-time programme of education and is committed to working with schools, carers, other professionals and young people themselves to overcome obstacles to regular attendance and ensure positive educational outcomes for our children in care.
The Virtual School has high expectations of our children in care and encourages full attendance and punctuality. We expect carers to promote and support full attendance at school, and to avoid all absences unless absolutely essential. In particular, carers should try to arrange appointments and meetings outside school time wherever possible.
The Virtual School does not support holidays in term time and carers requesting time off school to go on holiday will need the agreement of the Virtual School Headteacher and the social worker.
Specialist education welfare officers (EWOs) working with the Virtual School can offer advice about school attendance and support to carers to maximise each child in care’s attendance. They can be contacted using the information below:
- Colin Mitchell
tel: 07973 463891
- Linda Page
tel: 07973 463987
Devon’s SEND website (local offer) sets out what you can expect to be available to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities aged 0-25, along with Devon’s approach and underlying principles.
National guidance on the support system for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) is available at GOV.UK – SEND: guide for parents and carers.
Children in care are provided with automatic membership of Devon libraries. Further information is available at www.devon.gov.uk/children.Helping a child in care to achieve well Schools in Devon GOV.UK – The national curriculum Music Lessons
The 2017 Children in Care Awards will take place on Friday 10 March at St James School, Exeter. Find out more about this event at Children in care awards.