Previously looked after children
When children cease to be looked after, their educational needs are unlikely to have changed significantly simply because their care status has changed. Although they will no longer be required to have a PEP, designated teachers will wish to consider what is best for continuity and meeting the child’s educational needs. This will particularly apply to those who leave care through adoption, Special Guardianship or a Child Arrangements Order, where the designated teacher has a duty to promote their educational attainment. As part of this, designated teachers should maintain links with VSHs who must make advice and information available to them for the purposes of promoting the educational achievement of this group of previously looked-after children.
previously looked after children are those children who have been looked after by the local authority for at least one day and have gone on to be:
Subject to a Special Guardianship Order (SGO)
Subject to a Child Arrangement Order (CAO)
It does not refer to children who have been 'looked after' and have returned to the care of their parent/s.
Pre-adoptive placement and Adoption
When a child moves into a pre-adoptive placement they continue to be a looked after child. Parental responsibility is held by social care.
There is a minimum time period of ten weeks, for which a child must be resident with the pre-adoptive family, before the family can apply to the courts, to finalise the adoption.
Once the adoption is finalised, the adoptive family hold full parental responsibility and the child is no longer 'looked after'. This is the time when legally, the child's surname and sometimes middle names will change.
Child Arrangement Order
This has replaced Residence Orders and Contact Orders. The order will state who a child lives and
with and can determine who they can spend time with and for how long.
It gives parental responsibility (PR) to the person that the child will live with, allowing them to make day to day decisions about the child including medical or dental treatments or signing for things like school trips. There are restrictions in that carers cannot change a child's name or take them out of the country for more than a month without parental consent or permission from the court.
Special Guardianship Order
This is deemed to be a permanent order that determines who the child will live with. The order grants parental responsibility to the carers, which overrides that of anyone else with PR, allowing them to make all of the decisions for the child. The order will also outline the arrangements for whom the child should have contact with and the frequency of contact.
What are the duties placed on schools regarding previously looked after children
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 places the following requirements on schools.
The governing body of a maintained school in England must:
Designate a member of the staff at the school (the "designated person") as having responsibility
for promoting the educational achievement of previously looked after children
Ensure that the designated person undertakes appropriate training and has regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
Pupil premium for previously looked after children
All pupil premium spending should take account of the specific needs of eligible pupils. Whilst there will be some overlap with the needs of economically disadvantaged children who attract the pupil premium, looked-after and previously looked-after children’s needs can be very different to others eligible for Pupil Premium. 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.
For previously looked-after children, PP+ funding is managed by the child’s school. The
amount a school receives is based on the number of eligible children recorded in the school’s annual October School Census return to the Department for Education
For both looked-after and previously looked-after children PP+ is not a personal budget for individual children. The VSH and school manage their PP+ allocation for the benefit of their cohort of looked-after or previously looked-after children and according to children’s needs
Designated teachers should help raise previously looked-after children’s parents’ and guardians’ awareness of the PP+ and other support for previously looked-after children - this includes encouraging parents of eligible previously looked-after children to tell the school if their child is eligible to attract PP+ funding;
• play a key part in decisions on how the PP+ is used to support previously looked-after children.
• encourage parents and guardians’ involvement in deciding how the PP+ is used to support their child and be the main contact for queries about its use.
The role of the Designated Teacher for previously looked after Children