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.
Admissions and eliminating exclusion
- 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)
- 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 you are doing. If you need further advice contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mentor training and innovate project
- Attachment Based Mentoring: Free training (Oct 2016 – Feb 2017)
- 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 Social Care Duty Team (link available to DCC staff only). 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
- Information about early help
- 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)
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
- Early years PEP form (March 2016)
- Key stage 1-4 PEP form
- PEP process
- Improving outcomes PEP letters to schools
- GOV.UK – Pupil premium: funding and accountability for schools
Pupil premium information for adoptive children
The pupil premium for 2015 to 2016 will include pupils recorded in the January 2015 school census and alternative provision census who were looked after by an English or Welsh local authority immediately before being adopted, or who left local authority care on a special guardianship order or child arrangements order (previously known as a residence order). These are collectively referred to as post-LAC in these conditions of grant.
More information can be found in the following document: Pupil premium plus for adopted children.
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.
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 and at meeting the educational requirements of the young person and improve 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.
Exclusion disproportionately affects children in care. 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 is an important document supporting our work.
Please note that where a child with a statement of special educational needs expresses a preference for a particular school, that school is obliged to admit the child.