Supporting the education of looked after learners Rob Mills LAC Education Coordinator
The governing body should ensure that: the school has an overview of the education needs & progress of looked after children school policies are reviewed from the point of view of looked after children resources are allocated to match priorities for looked after children
Information you should know or your school should be able to give you quickly the number of children in the school who are in care how looked after children are performing compared to their peers
Questions that should be considered by the school’s senior management team how will the school include raising the attainment of LAC in the school plan? what policies have the school developed that encourages collaboration with other agencies and services e.g. health professionals, CAMHS, school attendance officers?
Questions that should be considered by the school’s senior management team what is the policy on professional development for all staff in contact with vulnerable children? how does the school assist the local authorities with requests to provide data on attendance, attainment & exclusions?
Case study After a school inspection, our school was reported as having weaknesses relating planning to pupil outcomes. It highlighted the unsatisfactory improvement in attainment for LAC. The governing body undertook to look at monitoring and evaluation systems to improve the way plans were revised in light of experience. The governing body set up a small committee that asked for a termly progress report for all the school’s vulnerable children, including LAC, in order to identify whether their continued to be barriers to learning not taken into account in the school planning process.
Designated Teachers The governing body should ensure that: the designated teacher for LAC has the opportunity to attend training offered by the local authority there is a clear policy on professional development for all staff in contact with LAC & other vulnerable children the designated teacher is sufficiently resourced to carry out the role effectively
Information you should know or your school should be able to give you quickly the name of the designated teacher for LAC the number of training sessions attended in support of this role
Questions that should be considered by the schools senior management team what safeguards does the school have in place for sharing sensitive information about individual LAC with relevant staff members? what is the procedure for liaising with carers/social services to ensure that the school has the relevant information about the child’s care history?
Case Study Our governing body were concerned about the increasing volume of work undertaken by the school’s designated teacher given the influx of LAC being placed in the school by other authorities. After discussing this with the school’s senior management team, we agreed that the role would of designated teacher should become a full-time dedicated post. A member of our governing body and the designated teacher for LAC attended a training course run by the local education authority on the “needs of looked after children”
Personal Education Plans The governing body should ensure that: procedures are in place to ensure all LAC & care leavers have up to date Personal Education Plans (PEP’s) the school’s confidentiality policy covers the needs of LAC & care leavers procedures are in place to ensure that where a child transfers to a new school their PEP is transferred with them
Information you should know or your school should be able to give you quickly the number of LAC with up to date PEP’s what their final grades were in relation to national benchmarks
Questions that should be considered by the schools senior management team who reviews and keeps the child’s PEP up-to-date? who updates school records with current addresses of carers, birth parents, social workers etc? what is the procedure to prepare information for transfer if a LAC changes school?
Raising achievement & expectations the governing body should ensure that: the school sets challenging targets for LAC additional support is offered to meet the needs of LAC who are at risk of under achieving there are established benchmarks for exam attainment of all vulnerable children
Information you should know or your school should be able to give you quickly the overall attainment levels of LAC in the school the figures for examination entries and non-entries of LAC
Questions that should be considered by the schools senior management team what targets are there for LAC in the school what are the specific barriers to achievement facing LAC & can the school take action to remove them? is there good liaison between LAC education officer, foster carers & social workers to support children’s learning? if LAC fall behind, how is this identified & help provided? are LAC engaged in the gifted & talented programme? what revision support is available for examinations for children at risk of underachieving?
Exclusions The governing body should ensure that: there is a thorough understanding of the extra problems caused by excluding LAC & consider a policy of not excluding LAC except as a last resort
Exclusions Governors reviewing exclusions of a LAC, should consider the following: has the child recently changed home placement? has the child recently experienced any trauma? has the school provided appropriate support for the child, e.g. mentors, counselling, access to the learning support unit?
Information you should know or your school should be able to give you quickly The number of LAC who have been excluded (either fixed term or permanently) by the school in the last 12 months
Questions that should be considered by the schools senior management team when considering excluding a LAC, does the governing body and the head teacher have regard to the “Exclusion form Schools and Pupil Referral Units Circular no:1/2004” on Looked After Children “Schools should be especially sensitive to exclusion issues where LAC are concerned. Schools should try every practical means to maintain the child in school & should seek LEA and other professional advise as appropriate”.
A way forward Governors should consider adopting a school LAC policy and convening a sub committee that meets once per term to review all of the data concerning vulnerable and looked after children thereby ensuring that the education needs of those groups of children are being met and that there is good joint working across all of the agencies that are involved with the children.
Contact details for further questions or assistance Rob Mills Tel: 01267 224953 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org