Education

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Contents

  1. Responsibilities of the Placing Authority
  2. Our Responsibilities
  3. Arrangements for Education
  4. Exclusion/Refusal to Attend School


1. Responsibilities of the Placing Authority

Obtaining a good education can be the key to vastly improving everyone’s chances in life. Children in care can be particularly disadvantaged educationally. They will often have had their education disrupted as a result of changes of placements and circumstances, and may not have had the opportunity to develop to their full potential. Some children may have little sense of their abilities and may need encouragement to develop greater self-esteem.

This summarises the responsibilities of the Placing Authority.

The Placing Authority has a corporate responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of all Looked After Children.

Delegation of Authority in regard to education should be recorded in the child’s Placement Plan.

1.1 Personal Education Plans

The Placing Authority must ensure that all children have a school place and a Personal Education Plan (PEP) which promotes their educational achievement. The PEP must be drawn up before the child becomes Looked After (or within 10 working days in the case of an emergency placement), and be available for the first statutory review meeting.

If a child is placed in the Home without a PEP and it is the child’s first Looked After placement, the PEP must be drawn up before the child becomes Looked After or within 10 working days; if it is a subsequent placement, the child should already have a PEP, if this is not the case, the Home’s manager should obtain one from the social worker.

The matters that should be covered by the PEP are:

  1. Chronology of education and training history which provides a record of the child’s educational experience and progress in terms of National Curriculum levels of attainment, including information about educational institutions attended and the reasons for leaving, attendance and conduct record, academic and other achievements, any special educational needs, an indication of the extent to which the child’s education has been disrupted before entering care or accommodation;
  2. Existing arrangements for education and training, including details of any special educational provision and any other provision to meet the child’s educational or training needs and promote educational achievement;
  3. Any planned changes to existing arrangements and provision to minimise disruption;
  4. The child’s leisure interests;
  5. Role of the appropriate person and any other person who cares for the child in promoting the child’s educational achievements and leisure interests.

PEPs should be reviewed by the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) at Looked After Reviews.

It is however important that staff work co-operatively and that care staff liaise on a regular basis with teaching staff or with external schools and educational support services, to ensure that educational programmes are appropriately differentiated. Key/Link Workers have regular contact with teachers and co-operate with reviews of key plans e.g. Individual Care and Education Plans (ICEP's), ensuring that education and placement/care plans are consistent with or complement each other.

Staff should have an understanding of:

  • Admission process for the school;
  • Designated teachers for looked after children;
  • Virtual School Head.

If a Looked After Child from a different Local Authority area placed in the home, the Virtual School Head of that Local Authority remains responsible for promoting the child’s educational achievement.

Staff need to have knowledge and skills in regard to the child’s education and training targets and the next steps for learning.

Staff should challenge the education / training provider if the child does not have the support to progress as outlined in their plans.

Staff should act as advocates for or on behalf of a child.

Child to have access to online learning, access to a computer and the internet (support should be given in regard to safeguarding and should be in an Online Safety Policy).

Home should work closing with placing authority to support and enable a child who is either excluded or not on a school roll.

Registered person to challenge placing authority if no school education place is identified.

Where a children’s home is also an education provider, the home should have a process in place for liaising in regard to the support for the child and also challenge each other when necessary.

For more information about PEPs, see NT&AS Website.

1.2 Individual Education Plans

An Individual Education Plan should be drawn up for all Looked After Children, by the school, it sets out the day to day arrangements for educating the child e.g. short term targets, strategies to be used, outcomes.


2. Our Responsibilities

This section provides guidance on the role and responsibilities of the Home's Manager and staff.

We recognise the importance that education plays in the future experiences and life chances of the young people in our care. We believe that every young person has a right to access education of the highest quality and at a level appropriate to their individual ability and circumstances.

We believe that in order to maximise educational opportunities it is essential that teaching and care staff work co-operatively in an attempt to provide meaningful and relevant 24 hour curriculum. Education is not limited merely to the classroom, education is a continuous process which occurs throughout the waking day. That is not to say that education cannot be enjoyable or fun, there are many educational activities which occur naturally in our work with young people.

It is however important that staff work co-operatively and that care staff liaise on a regular basis with teaching staff or with external schools, to ensure that educational programmes are appropriately differentiated. Key/Link Workers have regular contact with teachers and co-operate with reviews of key Plans e.g. Individual Care and Education Plans (ICEP's), ensuring that education and placement/care plans are consistent with or complement each other.

Key/Link Workers must ensure that children have adequate opportunities and support to complete homework and take part in extracurricular activities.

Children should be encouraged to join a library and have opportunities to access a range of educational support material, including books and specialist educational software.

Each child must have a Personal Education Plan (PEP), which addresses the appropriateness of the child's educational placement and any special educational needs that the young person has. The plan also details the arrangements for monitoring school attendance, and arrangements for parental or social work involvement in the education of the child. The PEP must be drawn up before the child becomes Looked After (or within 10 working days in the case of an emergency placement), and be available for the first statutory review meeting. If a child is placed in the Home without a PEP and it is the child’s first Looked After placement, the timescales above apply; if it is a subsequent placement, the child should already have a PEP, if this is not the case, the Home’s manager should obtain one from the social worker.

Key/Link Workers, in the absence of parents, must attend all school events that would usually be attended by parents such as open days, school plays etc.

Any young person of statutory school age who is not attending school (or a pupil referral unit) would be provided with an appropriate and differentiated educational programme delivered under the supervision of a qualified teacher during normal school hours. Staff from the home would work closely with the Social Worker to secure a school placement as quickly as possible.


3. Arrangements for Education

Information to be inserted by home.

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4. Exclusion/Refusal to Attend School

On rare occasions young people may either be unable to attend school as a result of exclusion or may choose not to attend school, school refusal. Exclusions are either fixed term; i.e. for a specified number of days after which the young person will return to his or her school; or permanent; where it is not intended that the young person will return to that particular school.

Due to the close working relationships established between care staff and school based staff it is likely that staff from the home will be aware of any difficulties the young person is experiencing or causing within the educational setting prior to exclusion being used by the school. At this stage staff from the home will liaise closely with school staff in order to provide additional support to the young person during this period of difficulty. All action taken at this time will be recorded in the young person's individual records and the Personal Education Plan (PEP) will be amended to reflect the changed circumstances.

However there may well be situations whereby the school has no option but to exclude the young person without prior warning, for example in response to an isolated incident of a very serious nature. Examples of this would include a serious assault on another pupil or member of staff or the taking of illegal substances into to school.

When young people have been excluded from school or have refused to attend, staff from the home will ask the school to provide study materials for the young person to complete during the period of their exclusion or refusal. Staff from the home will assist and supervise the young person in completing this work during normal school hours.

It is important that any young person who is excluded and also other young people in the home do not view exclusion from school as an extended holiday. A criticism often levelled at residential care is that too frequently young people have no routine, they are frequently not at school, get up when they please, and at best, spend their days unoccupied and bored. We believe that establishing a balanced approach for young people will achieve positive outcomes.

On those occasions where a young person is permanently excluded from school staff from the home will work closely with the social worker to identify an appropriate alternative educational placement. Whilst an alternative placement is being sought, we will endeavour to provide a short term educational package.

The individual needs of young people within each service setting will vary greatly; because of such diverse need it is neither possible, nor do we intend to be prescriptive about nature of any alternative educational package provided. All such programmes would be delivered under the supervision of a qualified teacher and would be appropriately differentiated.