Local authorities have a duty under section 23ZZA of the Children Act 1989 (inserted by section 4 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017) to promote the educational achievement of previously looked-after children in their area by providing information and advice to:
- any person that has parental responsibility for the child;
- providers of funded early years education designated teachers for previously looked-after children in maintained schools and academies; and
- any other person the authority considers appropriate for promoting the educational achievement of relevant children
Previously looked-after children are those who:
- are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales (as defined by the Children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and Well7 being (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order; or
- were adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales. ‘State care’ is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society
The duty applies to children who are in early years provision (secured by the local authority under section 7(1) of the Childcare Act 2006) and continues throughout the compulsory years of education where the child is in provision funded in part or in full by the state.
- VSHs are integral to ensuring that local authorities discharge their duty to provide suitable advice and information for the purpose of promoting the educational achievement of previously looked-after children. They can also undertake any activity they consider appropriate where that activity will promote the educational achievement of such children in their area.
We currently have over 300 previously looked after children attending a school in Walsall. Around 15% attend early years settings or schools, 55% attend primary schools and 30% attend secondary schools. Some of the work we have carried out in relation to previously looked after children is
- Challenging schools to avoid drift and delay in relation to the admissions of previously looked after children
- Challenging schools in relation to exclusions of previously looked after children
- Attended school meetings
- Provided intervention from our own staff
- Contribute to the SGO carers newsletter
- Challenge schools on the use of pupil premium funding for previously looked after children
Pupil Premium for previously looked after children
Additional financial support for Previously Looked After Children is available for schools through the Pupil Premium Grant. The funding goes directly to the schools if the child/young person is recorded on the October Census
As with, pupil premium for looked after children, this additional funding is to be used to improve the attainment of previously looked after children and close the attainment gap between this group and their peers.
Designated Teachers have a statutory responsibility to play a key part in decisions on how the pupil premium funding for previously looked after children is used.
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 Pupil Premium funding to support these children.
Useful links and references:
DfE designated teacher for looked after and previously looked after children-statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities
Pupil Premium 2021
DfE Guidance on PP+ Funding and Accountability for Schools
The Education Endowment Foundation Pupil Premium Guide
How schools are spending the funding successfully to maximise achievement-Ofsted 2013