Information for schools, settings and governors
Many individual young people in care do well at school. However, as a group, children in care do not perform as well as their peers. The Virtual School aims to work with schools, foster carers, and other services to close this attainment gap.
Schools are at the heart of providing a good education and they have the responsibility and additional funding to provide further support to ensure that children in care achieve as well as they can. A good education provides a sound basis for transition to a fulfilling adult life, while school provides stability, continuity and normality for children in care, helping to ensure that these vulnerable young people have the best possible life chances.
- Designated teacher
- Pupil Premium, PEP and PEA
- Admissions and eliminating exclusion
- Educational outcomes
- Designated teacherPupil Premium, PEP and PEA
It is a statutory requirement under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 to appoint a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of looked after children who are on the school roll. The teacher should provide an annual report to the governing body who should also appoint a member to oversee the provision and work with the teacher to champion the needs of children in care.
Further information is available from GOV.UK:
- DfE – Supporting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils: Briefing for school leaders (Nov 2015)
- Designated teacher for looked-after children
- Promoting the education of looked-after children
- Improving the attainment of looked-after children in primary schools: guidance for schools
- Improving the attainment of looked-after children in secondary schools: guidance for schools
The Local Authority is required to maintain an up-to-date record of designated teachers for children in care. This letter provides information on where to send details of any changes in your school or setting.
If you are a new designated teacher you may find our information for children and young people helpful as it provides a straightforward introduction to The Virtual School and some of the key processes.
- Role of the designated teacher – checklist (May 2016)
- Report to the governing body
- Role of the governing body
- Register of children in care
- GOV.UK – charging for school activities
- The Children Act 2004
- Model policy for the education of looked after children in schools and
settings (December 2015)
- Protocol for Supporting CiC in Schools (including protocol for eliminating exclusions of C&YP in Care) June 2018.
- Information on guidance provided to HMI on inspecting school provision for children in care
- Training opportunities
- Working with Foster Carers
This is just like working with parents but more regular contact helps the foster carer support the work Teachers are doing. Area Learning Advocates are able to provide support for Foster Carers and can be contacted via Virtual School Team.
- Mentor training project
- Attachment Based Mentoring: Free training (January to April 2018)
A relational, child-centred and holistic approach to learning, development and well-being, supporting our most vulnerable children. A three and a half day practical training programme. Drawing on theories and research from the fields of attachment, coaching and resilience, it is a comprehensive practical guide as to what to do and how to be, to ensure that the individual needs of each child are met. The approach aims to enable children to feel safe, connected, and capable – forming positive relationships and enjoying learning. Further information and booking.
- Working with educational psychologists (EPs)
EPs work in all Devon County Council schools, supporting children in care via support in planning meetings, individual assessment and intervention. They particularly prioritise children in care who are at risk of exclusion, in a transition phase, during a managed move or new into care. Free training sessions are offered to designated teachers via the designated teacher conference and on a limited basis in schools. Traded training can also be accessed.
- Children in care who go missing from schools
The first point of contact should be the foster carer, however, if they are not contactable the school should follow its usual processes and also contact the emergency Fostering Devon Duty Team (link available to DCC staff only) or call 01392 383000 and ask for ‘Fostering Devon Duty’. Further information can be found at Looked-after children who go missing. The Devon & Torbay Safeguarding Children Boards website also provides detailed guidance on missing children and child sexual exploitation
- Holidays in term time
- Supporting children from ethnic minorities
- New into care protocol (April 2016)
- Understanding CYP with maths difficulties guidance (January 2017)
- CAMHS pathway for children in care – information for headteachers/designated teachers (May 2017)
- Working with Educational Psychologists (EPs)
EPs work in all DCC schools, supporting children in care by planning meetings, individual assessments and interventions. They particularly prioritise children in care who are at risk of exclusion, in a transition phase, during a managed move or new into care. Free training sessions are offered by EPs to designated teachers via the designated teacher conference in October each year and on a limited basis in schools. Traded training can also be accessed. The Educational Psychology Team can be contacted on 01392 287233. If you are requesting additional EP support, other than that already provided to your school, then please contact our VS Administrator, Kate Clarke for further info.
- Supported unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) – information coming soon.
Attendance of CiC
We are concerned that recently school attendance of Children in Care has declined. To address this issue we ask that:
Admissions and eliminating exclusion
- Our VS Administrator, Kate Clarke (email@example.com) is notified when the attendance level for any Child in Care drops below 95%. This information will be passed to our Area Learning Advocates who will follow this up with the relevant Social Worker.
- When a Child in Care fails to arrive for school on any given day, that you contact their Foster Carer, on the same day, to ascertain the reason for non-attendance.
A personal education plan (PEP) forms an essential part of each child’s care plan and also forms part of the child’s official school record. Schools and the Local Authority have a shared responsibility for ensuring the PEP is a living and useful document. The PEP is a vital document because it provides a collective memory about a child’s education and when used effectively improves the educational experience of the child by helping everyone gain a clear understanding of the teaching and learning provision necessary to meet the child’s educational needs; this is especially important at any transition points.
Personal Education Plans
The ePEP system is now live and log in details will be emailed to each Designated Teacher on 9 January 2018. If you don’t receive your log in please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For those DTs who weren’t able to attend the training provided, a video is available via this link: http://epep.tv/video-training/ the password has been emailed to all Devon schools – if you don’t have it please contact Aga Spier on 01392 383000/ email@example.com.
- ePEP website (where you can log into the ePEP system)
- DCC Training Guide for ePEP (January 2018)
- Key stage 1-4 PEP form
- Pupil premium and funding – improving outcomes for CIC letter to schools (August 2017)
- Devon policy for pupil premium and funding (May 2018)
Personal Education Allowance (PEA)
A PEA is for children in care who are at risk of not reaching the expected national standards of attainment. The allowances are to provide additional, personalised support. They must be linked to the targets set in the personal education plan (PEP) and show how this will contribute to improving educational achievement. The Personal Education Allowance is currently £300 per child (aged from 5 to 16 years, reception to year 11).
The designated teacher, social worker or personal education plan coordinator can apply.
A PEA will only fund activity that is over and above that which should be provided already by services or support from Devon County Council, schools and carers, or which other practitioners already provide.
Before applying for Personal Education Allowance (PEA) funding for children in care, schools must ensure that any pupil premium funding is carefully targeted to provide additional support, is meeting the educational requirements of the young person and improving their education outcomes.Educational outcomes
Children in care are given first priority for school places and schools are expected to admit them without reference to the oversubscription criteria and without delay. Social workers and parents/carers should contact their Area Learning Advocate for help with admission to schools.
ALA contact details can be found here.
As a group children in care are more likely to be excluded than their peers. They are more likely to be permanently excluded from both primary and secondary schools, when compared to those who are not in the care system and on average are given longer periods of fixed term exclusion (5.5 days compared to 2.2 days for those not in care).
‘The reasons why Looked After Children are an over-represented group in terms of school exclusions are many and complex. It is to do with the impact that coming into Care has on children and young people, and also the reasons why they are actually in Care which include abuse and neglect of all types. A lack of permanency is also a key issue for too many Looked After Children’
(The Adolescent and Children’s Trust).
The Virtual School is committed to eliminating exclusions of children in care and we work closely with schools to address the needs of young people in care who are finding life difficult. The protocol for eliminating exclusions of Children in Care was updated in June 2018 and is now called
Protocol for Supporting CiC in Schools (including protocol for eliminating exclusions).
When a child in care is at risk of a fixed term exclusion the school should inform their Area Learning Advocate.
- Education Inclusion Service
- Free resources for schools – High Impact Intervention Team (HiIT)
- Reducing exclusions in Devon schools (REDS) project: Is an intervention designed by Babcock LDP Educational Psychologists aimed at reducing exclusions. It aims to promote empathy and inclusive practice in response to challenging or trauma-related behaviours with the purpose of preventing exclusion of vulnerable pupils. This can work as a complement or alternative to a Pastoral Support Programme. A successful pilot ran in the Spring Term 2017 and it is envisaged that all Educational Psychologists will receive training in this approach to enable them to help schools reduce exclusions for any pupil at risk. For further details please speak to your Inclusion Officer, contact details can be found on the
Education Inclusion Service page.
The SEN team at Babcock LDP or the 0-25 team at Devon County Council can help you with SEN needs of children in care, please call 01392 383000 and ask for the member of staff you require. (SEN 0-25 team structure chart is available here). You can also contact your Area Learning Advocate, contact details can be found on the Virtual School Team page.