Children Looked after Policy 2022
Children Looked After (CLA) Policy 2022-2023
Academy: Co-op Academy Parkland
Policy owner: Charlotte Wierzbianski
Date: October 2022
Date shared with staff: October 2022
Date shared with governors: December 2022
Review date: December 2023
Children Looked After (CLA) and Children Previously Looked After (CPLA) are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and it is nationally recognised that there is considerable educational underachievement when compared to other groups.
It is recognised that schools are key in helping to raise the educational standards and improving the life chances of CLA & CPLA and in tackling the cause of social exclusion through careful planning, monitoring and evaluation.
Context and Principles Under the Children Act 1989, a child is looked after by a Local Authority if s/he is in their care or is provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours. They include the following: children who are accommodated by the local authority under a voluntary agreement with their parents (section 20); children who are the subject of a care order (section 31(1)) or interim care order (section 38); and children who are the subject of emergency orders for the protection of the child (section 44).
A previously looked-after child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because s/he is the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order which includes provisions 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.
The Role of the Designated Teacher
The designated person must be a qualified teacher. The Designated Teacher for Co-op Academy Parkland is Charlotte Wierzbianski
The role became statutory in September 2009 under the Children and Young Person’s Act 2008. Ideally, the designated teacher should also be a senior member of staff who is able to influence decisions about the teaching and learning, plus promote the educational achievements of every CLA and CPLA.
Some of the responsibilities of the designated teacher include the following:
• Designated teachers should take lead responsibility for ensuring school staff understand the things which can affect how CLA and CPLA learn and achieve and how the whole school supports the educational achievement of these pupils
• Have high expectations of CLA and CPLA learning and set targets to accelerate educational progress
• Are aware of the emotional, psychological and social effects of loss and separation (attachment awareness) from birth families and that some children may find it difficult to build relationships of trust with adults because of their experiences, and how this might affect the child’s behaviour
• Understand how important it is to see CLA and CPLA as individuals rather than as a homogeneous group, not publicly treat them differently from their peers, and show sensitivity about who else knows about their looked-after or previously looked-after status
• Appreciate the central importance of the CLA Personal Education Plan (PEP) in helping to create a shared understanding between teachers, carers, social workers and, most importantly, the child’s own understanding of how they are being supported
• Have the level of understanding they need of the role of social workers, Virtual School Head Teachers and carers, and how the function of the PEP fits into the wider care planning duties of the authority which looks after the child; and for CPLA, understand the importance of involving the child’s parents or guardians in decisions affecting their child’s education, be a contact for parents or guardians who want advice or have concerns about their child’s progress at school
• Facilitate and encourage CLA to join extra-curricular activities and maximise out of school learning opportunities e.g. ‘more able and talented’ projects
• Be proactive in supporting transitions and planning when moving children into a new phase in their education
• Promote inclusion in all areas of school life
• Children in care are among the groups who are most vulnerable to bullying.
The Designated Teacher must ensure that they are actively monitoring and preventing bullying in school by raising awareness through the school’s behaviour and anti bullying policy.
Personal Education Plans (PEP)
All CLA must have a Personal Education Plan (PEP), which their social worker will take the lead in developing.
The PEP is a record of the child’s education and forms part of the overall Care Plan. It provides a clear and shared understanding about the teaching and learning provision to ensure their academic progress.
The social worker, parents, carers and the child may be invited to the PEP meeting to ensure the views of all stakeholders are considered.
The school’s role in this plan is crucial and at least one member of staff who knows the child well will attend the meeting to establish and subsequently review this.
The PEP should set clear objectives or targets which relate to academic achievement as well as out of school activities and wherever necessary behavioural targets.
If a child moves school, the PEP should be forwarded, as a matter of urgency, to the new school when known.
In relation to CPLA, although they no longer required a PEP, the designated teacher should continue to consider their educational needs.
The Designated Teacher should maintain links with Virtual School Head Teachers who must make advice and information available, in order to promote the educational achievement of this group of CPLA.
As for all our pupils, Co-op Academy Parkland is committed to helping every CLA to achieve the highest standards they can, including out of school activities and supporting career aspirations for further and higher education. This can be measured by improvements in their achievement and attendance.
This policy links with several other policies:
• Health and Safety
• Child Protection and Safeguarding
• Special Educational Needs
Co-op Academy Parkland will ensure that the needs of CLA and CPLA are reflected in all aspects of our provision, e.g. through assemblies and Personal, Social and Health (PSHE) Education.
We will raise awareness and challenge negative stereotypes about them to ensure that they achieve their full potential.
Responsibilities of the Head of Academy
• Identify a Designated Teacher for CLA and CPLA
• Ensure cover arrangements are put in place should the Designated Teacher not be available to carry out these legal duties
• Ensure that procedures are in place to monitor and track the admission, progress, attendance and exclusions (if any) of CLA and CPLA and that appropriate action is taken where outcomes fall below expectations
• Report on the progress, attendance and conduct of CLA and CPLA
• Ensure that all staff receive relevant training and are aware of their responsibilities under this policy and related guidance
• Ensure that all staff are briefed on the regulations and practice outlined in this policy
Responsibilities of the Governing Body
The role of Governing Body under Section 20 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 places a duty on them to designate a member of staff (the Designated Teacher) as having responsibility to promote the educational achievement of CLA and CPLA.
To this effect, the trustees should:
• Ensure that the necessary provision is being made for any pupil who is a CLA or CPLA
• Ensure that the Designated Teacher/s are given the appropriate level of support and be given the opportunity to keep up to date with relevant training
• Ensure the Designated Teacher disseminate relevant training and provides support for all members of staff that will influence teaching and learning for CLA and CPLA
• In partnership with the Head of Academy, maintain responsibility for monitoring how well the role is working.
As part of this monitoring, an annual report will be received from the Designated Teacher with regard to reviewing the effective implementation of the Trust’s policy
The responsibilities of all Staff
All our staff will:
• Have high aspirations for the educational and personal achievement of CLA and CPLA, as for all pupils
• Maintain CLA and CPLA confidentiality and ensure they are supported sensitively
• Respond positively to a pupil’s request to be the named member of staff with whom they can talk to when they feel it necessary
• Respond promptly to the Designated Teacher’s requests for information
• Work to enable CLA and CPLA to achieve stability and success within the school
• Promote self-esteem for CLA and CPLA
• Have an understanding of the key issues that affect the learning of CLA and CPLA.
Confidentiality Information on CLA and CPLA will be shared with school staff on a ‘need to know basis’. The Designated Teacher will discuss what information is shared with which school staff at the PEP meeting. Once this has been agreed by the social worker, carer, young person and other parties, complete confidentiality will be maintained and will comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidance.
The Academy Trust values partnership working. In order to secure the best possible outcomes for CLA and CPLA, it is essential that we work with parents/carers, social workers, the Virtual School Head Teacher and other external partners to ensure we are providing the best possible life chances for both CLA and CPLA.
Voice of the child
Listening to the voice of children looked after and previously looked after is a vital part of successfully understanding and meeting their needs.
Children in care should have a good relationship with their designated teacher, this is one of the most important factors in supporting them at school.
To listen to the voice of the child:
- Be available, take the time to get to know them
- Notice if they are upset or angry and listen to them when they need help
- Understand that even though they’ve had a different past than most people, it doesn’t mean they need to be treated differently
- Understand their experience of being looked-after
- Understand that my past will affect their present and their future behaviour even if they don’t notice
Pupil Premium Plus (PP+)
PP+ will be received for these pupils to help improve the attainment of looked after and previously looked after children and close the attainment gap between this group and their peers.
All pupil premium spending will:
- take account of the specific needs of eligible pupils.
- reflect the significant additional barriers faced by children looked after and previously looked after
- be included in the individual PEP
The Designated Teacher should:
• for Children Looked After, liaise with the Virtual School Head (VSH) so that the Designated Teacher can contribute to decisions about how PP+ will support improving the child's educational outcomes;
• 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; and
• 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.
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Of those CLA/CPLA with SEN & Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC plans) will be in place or we will meet their identified needs through SEN support..
In respect of looked after children, the designated teacher will ensure that:
• the special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice 0 to 25 years, as it relates to looked after children, is followed; and
• children’s PEPs work in harmony with their EHC plan to, coherently and comprehensively, set out how their needs are being met. Professionals should consider how the EHC plan adds to information about how education, health and care needs will be met without duplicating information already in a child’s care plan or PEP.
• they will make full use of the SENCO and local authority support team where applicable
The designated teacher has an important role in ensuring they and other school staff can identify signs of potential issues and understand where the school can draw on specialist services, such as Nurture, Place2Be/Space2Talk, CAMHS and Educational Psychologists.
- Statutory guidance for schools and colleges June 2021
The designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children - Statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities: February 2018
Promoting the education of looked-after children and previously looked-after children - Statutory guidance for local authorities: February 2018