Looked After Children Policy

The Looked After Children Policy is available in PDF Format here

The policy was written using:

The Children Act 1989, 2004

 The statutory guidance Promoting the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children 2015, (updated Feb 2018)

“The roles and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after children 2009”,

“The Children and Young Persons Act 2008”

“Designated Teacher (looked after children etc.) (England) Regulation 2009”

 “Improving the attainment of looked after young people in Secondary Schools 2009”.

Introduction

At Kingsway Park, our aim is that all our students, regardless of their background and circumstance, make outstanding progress and are aspirational about their future. We want our students to be hardworking and resilient, and that they understand that failure is sometimes a part of the journey to their potential.

 Looked After Children (LAC) and Previously Looked After Children (PLAC) – Policy Rationale

  • Many children and young people who are in care have suffered abuse or neglect.
  • Despite having as broad a range of abilities as their peers, LAC/PLAC are particularly vulnerable to underachievement. Nationally, Looked After Children (LAC) significantly underachieve and are at greater risk of exclusion compared with their peers. Their academic and social progress is likely to be affected by their experiences and compounded by instability in their personal circumstances. Around 75% of LAC leave education with no formal qualifications, and only 12% go on to further education compared with 68% of the general population.

Helping LAC/PLAC succeed and providing a better future for them is a key priority for Kingsway Park. Our school recognises that LAC/PLAC can experience specific and significant disadvantage within a school setting and is committed to ensuring that all LAC/PLAC reach their potential in all areas.

We are aware that LAC/PLAC may have specific difficulties with;

  • Transport
  • Attendance
  • Homework
  • Consent for activities.
  • Obtaining funding for extra activities.
  • Correct uniform and equipment

The school recognises that LAC/PLAC may be coping with trauma, abuse or rejection, and are likely to experience personal distress and uncertainty.  They may well also suffer from stigma about their circumstances.

We believe that the educational experience of all children should be positive and aim to provide a learning environment in which every LAC/PLAC can be successful. We believe that Kingsway Park has a major part to play in ensuring that our LAC/PLAC are healthy, safe, happy, achieving students who can make a positive contribution to society.

Definitions

Looked After Children (LAC)

LAC fall into four main groups:

Children who are accommodated under a voluntary agreement with their parents.

Children who are the subjects of a care order (section 31) or interim care order.

Children who are the subjects of emergency orders for their protection.

Children who are compulsorily accommodated – this includes children remanded to the local authority or subject to a criminal justice supervision order with a residence requirement.

The term ‘in care’ refers only to children who are subject to a care order by the courts under section 31 of the Children Act 1989. They may live with foster carers, in a Children’s home, in a residential school, or with relatives/parents under supervision. Children who are cared for on a voluntary basis are ‘accommodated’ by the local authority under section 20 of the Children Act – they may live in foster care, in a Children’s home or in a residential school.

Previously looked after children (PLAC)

The February 2018 guidance for local authorities (Promoting the education of LAC/PLAC) stated that a PLAC is a child who is no longer looked after in England and Wales. This is because she/he is the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement order.

PLAC Eligibility

The Designated Teacher will satisfy themselves that a child is eligible for support by asking the child’s parents for evidence of their previously looked after status.

For children adopted outside England and Wales, the child must have been looked after by a public authority, a religious organisation or other provider of care whose sole purpose is to benefit society.

Where parents are unable to provide clear evidence of their child’s status, designated teachers will need to use their discretion. In such circumstances, designated teachers could discuss eligibility with the Virtual School Head (VSH) to agree a consistent approach.

Key roles at Kingsway Park regarding LAC/PLAC

The Headteacher / Chair of Governors / Governors

Kingsway Park recognise extra support that LAC/PLAC require,  and we are committed to implementing the principles and practice, as outlined in the statutory guidance. In line with amendments made by the 2017 Act, section 20A of the 2008 Act and Section 2E of the Academies Act 2010, Kingsway Park and its governing body will;

  • Designate a member of staff from the Senior Leadership team to have responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of LAC and PLAC students.
  • Ensure the designated person has suitable experience and/or training.
  • Make sure the school is up to date with any new practice and legislation.
  • Identify a deputy should the Designated Teacher leave the school or take sick leave.
  • Ensure that all Governors are fully aware of the legal requirements and guidance on the education of Looked After Children – See Page 4 to 7 (Guidance - Promoting the Education of LAC/PLAC February 2018)
  • Awareness of the Education (Admission of Looked After Children England) Regulations 2006. DfE guidance to Governing Bodies (Supporting Looked After Learners: A Practical Guide for School Governors).
  • Allocate resources to meet the needs of Looked After Children.
  • Ensure Kingsway Parks other policies and procedures support LAC/PLAC needs.
  • Support the Designated Teacher and other staff in ensuring that the needs of Looked After Children are recognised and met.
  • Regularly check with the Designated Teacher regarding the number of LAC/PLAC pupils on the school’s roll, their attendance (as a discrete group), their academic progress, and the number of fixed term suspensions and permanent exclusions they may have received (if any).

The Designated Teacher

The designated teacher will work with the Virtual School to promote the education of LAC/PLAC. They will promote a whole school culture where the personalised learning needs of every LAC/PLAC matters, and their personal, emotional and academic needs are prioritised.

The designated teacher will take lead responsibility for ensuring school staff understand the areas which can affect how LAC/PLAC learn and achieve, and how the whole school provides a support structure for the educational achievement of these children.

The designated teacher for LAC/PLAC will

  1. Give all the support we give young people at Kingsway Park - plus more!
  2. Provide superb transition and if needed provide equipment, uniform and resources.
  3. Ensure all LAC have a Personal Education Plan (PEP) drawn up between the school, the child, and the child’s social worker. The PEP will identify the child’s individual needs and the support they require. The information for this report should be collected and reported in ways that preserve the anonymity and respect the confidentiality of the pupil concerned. The Designated Teacher will discuss what information is shared with which school staff at the PEP meeting.
  4. Provide equal access to a balanced and broad education.
  5. Record, track, and monitor every LAC/PLAC. Aim to improve the academic achievement, attendance and behaviour of every LAC/PLAC. Meetings will be organised when difficulties are being seen in school.
  6. Prioritise the reduction of suspensions and promote high attendance.
  7. Be aware and promote health and wellbeing.
  8. Provide stability and continuity.
  9. Promote good communication between all those involved in the child’s life.
  10. Balance high levels of support with real challenge and high expectations.
  11. Skillfully link each young person to a key person they have a good relationship with, ensure Heads of Year have a good knowledge and link with their LAC/PLAC.
  12. Make it a priority to build relationships with every LAC/PLAC and give them a voice.
  13. Develop strong partnerships with carers, local authorities and specialist agencies
  14. Ensure consistency, discretion and flexibility.
  15. Actively extend the horizons and aspirations of each young person. Try and encourage participation in extra curricular activities.
  16. Ensure staff awareness of, and sensitivity to, the difficulties and educational disadvantages of LAC/PLAC.
  17. Provide staff training when appropriate and pass on information sensitively when needed.
  18. Plan for any transition in the future, including transfer of information if the student changes school.
  19. Data shows that 60% of Looked After Children say they are bullied, so the designated teacher will actively monitor and prevent bullying issues in school.

Kingsway Park recognise that the support that designated teachers give to children who are LAC/PLAC should not be seen in isolation. All LAC/PLAC will have a wide range of support mechanisms that will assist in promoting their educational achievement.  The Careers Leader will be pivotal in ensuring guidance raises aspirations and challenges stereotypes.

The child’s foster carer (or residential care worker), social worker or, for PLAC, parents or guardian, will have day-to-day responsibilities for the child.

Confidentiality

Information on looked after children 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 with the social worker, carer, young person, and other parties, complete confidentiality is to be maintained.

 Record keeping and information Sharing

The Designated Teacher will keep an up-to-date record of Looked After Children and Young People in school and will ensure that relevant information is made known to appropriate staff. A Personal Education Plan will be initiated within 20 school days of the Looked After Child or Young Person starting at the school or being taken into care and will be reviewed regularly and as necessary and appropriate to meet the needs of the LAC.

The PEP will provide a regular opportunity to review progress, note any concerns and ensure that all relevant parties are informed accordingly. It is vital that the Looked After Child or Young Person is aware of information being recorded and who will have access to it. How this is shared will depend on their age and level of understanding.

 Suspensions

Kingsway Park High School recognise that Looked After Children are particularly vulnerable to suspensions. Where a LAC is at risk of suspension, the school will try every practicable means to maintain the child in school.  A multi-professional meeting will be arranged, bringing together all those involved with the young person to discuss strategies to minimise the risk of suspension. The child or young person’s PEP will reflect strategies to support the child, and a Pastoral Support Plan will be provided if needed. All relevant measures and resources will be considered to provide support and provide alternative educational packages to prevent a suspension from happening.

Staff development and training Arrangements

Kingsway Park will support the Designated Teacher in keeping up to date with developments relating to the education and attainment of LAC/PLAC.

Other staff will receive relevant training and support to enable them to work sympathetically and productively with LAC/PLAC, including those who are underachieving, those at risk of underachieving and those who have additional needs. These may include students who are EAL, Gifted and Talented or having learning or physical needs. Teachers with responsibility for Special Educational Needs provision will be informed of those Looked After Children who have learning needs and will work with them appropriately.

Home-school liaison

Kingsway Park recognises the value of a close working relationship between home and school and will work towards developing a strong partnership with parents/carers and care workers to enable LAC/PLAC to achieve their potential. Parent Evenings as well as PEP and Care Plan review meetings provide opportunities to continue to develop this partnership.

Admission arrangements

Kingsway Park recognise that due to care arrangements LAC may enter school mid-term, and that it is important that they are given a positive welcome and appropriate additional support. Pre-entry visits may help them settle. The school recognises that Looked After children are an ‘excepted group’ and will prioritise Looked After Children in the schools over subscription criteria - following the DfE Admissions Code (Admissions of Looked After Children (England) Regulations 2006).

Links with other agencies

Kingsway Park recognises the value of working together with other agencies and organisations. We will work closely with colleagues from services involved with the LAC, including Social Care teams, Careers Advisors, Educational Psychologists, Health Services, CAMHS, Youth Offending Teams etc.

Racial Equality & Equal Opportunities

All children have equal access and inclusive rights to the curriculum regardless of their gender, race, disability or ability. We plan work that is differentiated for the performance of all groups and individuals. Kingsway Park High School is committed to creating a positive climate that will enable everyone to work free from racial intimidation and harassment and to achieve their full potential.

 

Kingsway Park High School

Turf Hill Road
Rochdale
OL16 4XA

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