Education

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

Regulation 5 – Engaging with the Wider System to Ensure Each Child’s Needs are Met

The Education Standard

The Enjoyment and Achievement Standard

The Care Planning Standard

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

This chapter should be read in conjunction with:

Promoting the Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

Keeping Children Safe in Education

Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years: Statutory Guidance for Organisations who work with and Support Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools - Guidance (DfE) 

Designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children (February 2018)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in April 2019 to reflect amendments introduced by the Children and Social Work Act 2017. These changes relate to the status of ‘previously looked after children’. A previously looked-after child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales. A new Section 5, Safeguarding in School was incorporated.


Contents

1. Introduction
2. Responsibilities of the Placing Authority
  2.1 Personal Education Plans
  2.2 Pupil Premium Plus (PP+)
  2.3 SEN Support Plan
3. Responsibilities of the Home
4. Arrangements for Education
5. Safeguarding in Schools
6. Exclusion/Refusal to Attend School


1. Introduction

Obtaining a good education can be the key to vastly improving a child’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.


2. 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 relation to education should be recorded in the child’s Placement Plan.

2.1 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 and all subsequent LAC Reviews.

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.

PEP’s should:

  • Identify developmental and educational needs in relation to skills, knowledge, subject areas and experiences;
  • Set short and long-term educational attainment targets agreed in partnership with the child and the carer where appropriate;
  • Include a record of planned actions, including milestones on homework, extra tuition and study support, that the school and others will take to promote the educational achievement of the child, based on an assessment of their educational needs;
  • Include information on how the child’s progress is to be rigorously monitored;
  • Record details of specific interventions and targeted support that will be used to make sure personal education targets are met, especially at the end of Key Stage 2 in relation to English and mathematics, and at Key Stage 4 in achieving success in public examinations;
  • Say what will happen, or is already happening, to put in place any additional support which may be required - e.g. possible action to support special educational needs involving the SENCO, educational psychologist, or local authority education services (information contained within a Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) does not have to be duplicated in the PEP, a reference is sufficient as long as the plans work together to meet overall needs);
  • Set out information on what will happen or is already happening to identify and support any mental health needs relevant to the child’s education;
  • Set out how a child’s aspiration and self-confidence is being nurtured, especially in consideration of longer-term goals towards further and higher education, work experience and career plans. Discussions about longer-term goals should start early and ideally well before Year 9 (age 13-14) at school. High aspirations are crucial to successful planning for the future. They should focus on young person’s strengths and capabilities and the outcomes they want to achieve;
  • Include the child’s views on how they see they have progressed and what support they consider to be most effective;
  • Be a record of the child’s academic achievements and participation in the wider activities of the school and other out of school learning activities (e.g. sporting, personal development);
  • Provide information which helps all who are supporting the child’s educational achievement to understand what works for them, helping to substitute for the role that parents might otherwise provide; and
  • Have clear accountability in terms of who within the school is responsible for making the actions identified in the plan happen.

The designated teacher would normally have overall responsibility for leading the process of target setting for looked-after children in school, should monitor and track how their attainment progresses, and ensure that identified actions are put in place. The designated teacher will help the school and the local authority that looks after the child to decide what arrangements work best in the development and review of the PEP.

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

For more information about PEPs, see National Teaching & Advisory Service Website.

2.2 Pupil Premium Plus (PP+)

Both Looked After and Previously looked After children are eligible for Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) funding. This is additional funding provided to help improve the attainment of Looked After and Previously Looked After children and close the attainment gap between these children and their peers. It is not a personal budget for individual children. The extra funding provided by the PP+ reflects the significant additional barriers faced by Looked After and Previously Looked After children. The designated teacher has an important role in ensuring the specific needs of Looked After and Previously Looked After children are understood by the school’s staff and reflected in how the school uses PP+ to support these children.

The PP+ for Looked After Children is managed by the Virtual School Head (VSH). However the PP+ for Previously Looked After Children is managed by the school.

The PP+ is a key component in ensuring resources are available to support the child’s Personal Education Plan and the plan should clarify what the support is and how it will be delivered.

2.3 SEN Support Plan

An SEN Support 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.


3. Responsibilities of the Home

This section provides guidance on the role and responsibilities of the home's manager and staff.

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.

It is important that all staff work co-operatively to promote the education of Looked After children and young people.  Care staff should liaise on a regular basis with teaching staff or with external schools and educational support services, to ensure that educational programmes are promoted within the home. Key Workers should have regular contact with teachers and co-operate with reviews of key plans e.g. SEN Support Plans, ensuring that education and Placement/Care Plans are consistent with or complement each other.

Staff should have an understanding of:

  • Admission processes for local schools;
  • Role of Designated teachers for Looked After Children;
  • Role of Virtual School Head (VSH).

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, see - Staying in Touch, the Safe Use of the Internet, Social Media and Taking Photographs Procedure.

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

The Registered Person should challenge the 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.

Key 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.

Key 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.


4. Arrangements for Education

The home/Key Worker will:

  1. Contact the school immediately a child is placed and exchange relevant information;
  2. Go to the school and introduce themselves to the class teacher and Designated Teacher;
  3. Ensure that the child attends school every day;
  4. Accompany the child to and from school, according to the child’s age and ability;
  5. Seek support from the child’s social worker if problems occur;
  6. Maintain regular contact with the school and try to attend parents’ evening and school functions e.g. school plays, sports day;
  7. Ensure that the child has somewhere quiet to study and do homework;
  8. Encourage the child to do their homework and offer help where appropriate;
  9. Encourage all children to develop their own talents, interests and hobbies;
  10. Encourage children to enjoy music and play musical instruments;
  11. Ensure that all children join a library;
  12. Build a supply of children’s books (these should include books that are anti-racist and anti-sexist and also books particularly relating to the experiences of being looked after);
  13. Read to or with the child as appropriate to age;
  14. Encourage children to watch educational television programme's and videos/DVD’s and go on outings to places of interest. Use everyday situations to promote learning;
  15. Encourage children to participate in school and after-school activities;
  16. Keep information on the child’s educational circumstances and attainments with the child;
  17. Check with the child how things are at school; discuss education on a routine/regular basis;
  18. Encourage children to do well educationally, consider an appropriate career and go into further or higher education;
  19. Keep a record of and share information in relation to the child's achievements;
  20. Act as an advocate on behalf of the child and intervene immediately if there is a problem with education;
  21. Liaise with social workers (and other relevant people) in relation to educational issues;
  22. Notify the school as early as possible during the first school day of absence;
  23. Supply the school with evidence of the child’s illness;
  24. Celebrate success and reward the child when they do well;
  25. Contribute to Personal Education Plans.


5. Safeguarding in Schools

Looked After Children are a vulnerable group, and all staff, working in schools should be aware of the systems in place to support safeguarding. The aim of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children in education should be:

  • Protecting them from maltreatment;
  • Preventing any impairment of their health or development;
  • Ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with safe and effective care;
  • Being proactive in enabling them to experience positive outcomes.

There should be staff (usually the Designated Teacher or the SEN coordinator) who will be able to share with you information about:

  • The school’s child protection policy and procedures;
  • The Data Protection Act  and safeguarding;
  • The child behaviour policy;
  • The staff behaviour policy (code of conduct);
  • The safeguarding response to children who go missing from education.
They will also explain that staff must report any concerns regarding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).


6. 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 (also known as 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.

Staff from the home should be aware of any difficulties the young person is experiencing or causing within the educational setting prior to exclusion being used by the school. Staff from the home should 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”.

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