Previously Looked After Children Support and Guidance
What is it?
Schools and local authorities have a new duty, required by the Department of Education, to promote education, progress and achievement for previously looked after children. These are children who may have been adopted, placed on special guardianship orders or a child arrangement order from care. These new duties recognise that children who have previously been in care may well require additional support as a result of their life experiences prior to being adopted or placed in permanent families.
All schools must appoint a member of staff as the named person to lead within the school on promoting education progress and attainment for previously looked after children. They should use the Pupil Premium and effectively to support progress and achievement for these pupils, this should be monitored to track progress and attainment. They are also expected to provide advice, support and information to parents and guardians.
Virtual school responsibilities:
The virtual schools duty is to provide advice, information and guidance to schools, parents and guardians on how to support previously looked after children. This can include issues such as school admissions, transfer between schools, and appropriate use of Pupil Premium, challenging exclusions, post-16 options and course availability. The designated teacher for previously looked after children are able to access all training offered by the Virtual School for cared for children.
Social workers responsibilities:
Social workers should make the child’s virtual school advisor aware of any case they have that is moving to adoption, SGO or CAO. We will then attend the child’s last PEP or contact the school and parent/carer to ensure they are aware of the support in place for PLAC .
In school support and intervention advice:
The Cheshire East Adoption and Special Guardianship Team have a school advisor who is able to offer practical advice to schools and families on how to ensure that schools understand and respond appropriately to the needs of previously cared for children. This advisor is also able to offer advice should issues arise in school such as reduced attendance or exclusion and to identify if a case might be eligible for Post Adoption Support Funding.
- Pupil Premium Schools that have children who are previously looked after, and subject to adoption, special guardianship order or child arrangement order are eligible to claim pupil premium. To do this, head teachers should invite parents to self-declare that they have a previously looked after child and request sight of the legal paperwork, such as a court order or certificate. This needs to be indicated on the schools management information system before the January census in order for the school census to be accurate. The funding (£2300 per year) is sent directly to the school. Early Years settings can also claim pupil premium for previously adopted children.
- Post Adoption Support Fund To provide essential therapeutic support for adopted/SGO children and families in a plan agreed with the post-adoption support team.
The main contact:
Katie Limb Education advisor, virtual school