COVID-19 - the Department for Education (DfE) have provided some useful links on guidance and support for schools:
- visit the DfE website to view deciding what to teach during a phased return
- visit the DfE website for supporting staff in curriculum planning for a phased return
- visit the DfE website for pastoral care in the curriculum
- visit the DfE website for identifying and addressing gaps in pupils’ understanding
- visit the DfE website to find out more on making the most of reduced classroom time
- visit the DfE website for supporting wellbeing
- visit the DfE website to find out more on adapting teaching practice for remote education
- visit the DfE website on adapting the curriculum for remote education
- visit the DfE website on keeping pupils motivated and engaged.
COVID-19 - support and guidance
For advice on supporting young people during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, download a useful guide booklet for foster and kinship carers, adoptive parents, and professionals who work with care experienced children in schools, residential care homes and other settings.
The Designated Teachers role
The Virtual School is passionate about and committed to developing the role of the designated teacher in school. This section of our webpage aims to provide useful resources to support designated teachers to carry out their duties.
All school governing bodies are required to ensure that an appropriately qualified and experienced member of staff (the designated teacher) undertakes the responsibilities within the school to promote the educational achievement of children in care. They must also ensure that they undertake training to carry out this duty.
The designated teacher is responsible for championing the educational needs of children in care in their school and ensuring they have good quality PEPs. They should be the main author and champion of the PEP within the school. The designated teacher should maintain high expectations of children in care and have the time to understand their needs.
The Virtual School offers professional development to designated teachers as well as the opportunity to network and exchange knowledge, understanding and good practice with other designated teachers. Please visit our training and events page for more information.
Information, policies and useful resources for Designated Teachers and schools
The following resources have been developed by the Telford and Wrekin Virtual School to support the designated teacher to monitor provision and planning for children in care. If you wish to access the information listed below, download the range of policies and resources to support schools.
- Download the Pupil Premium Policy 2020 - 2021 to view the arrangements and policies for Pupil Premium for Children in Care.
- Download the Model Children in Care Policy for more information on children in care.
- Download the Designated teachers Autumn Term 2019 letter for more information about the role of the virtual school for children in care.
- Download the Pupil Premium Grant allocation for more information on PPG.
- Download the Belonging Strategy which is about creating a sense of belonging or exclusion.
- Download the expectations, roles and responsibilities letter from the new Virtual school headteacher.
- Download the example of Children in Care annual report 2019 - 2020 to be shared with Governors and the Virtual school.
- Download the PEP Quality Assurance and Attendance flow chart for PEPs.
- Download the Designated Teacher and Designated Practitioner handbook 2020 - 2021 for looked after and previously looked after children.
Statutory guidance from the DfE:
- visit the GOV.UK website for more information about local authority maintained schools carrying out duties for looked after and previously looked after children
- visit the GOV.UK website for more information about local authorities supporting looked after and previously looked after children's aspirations to achieve in further and higher education.
Information for headteachers and governors
Schools have a key role to play in improving the educational outcomes of children in care. There is no denying that quality teaching has the greatest impact on outcomes but children in care need more than this. They need understanding, high aspirations, staff that go the extra mile and organisations that work in partnership.
Guidance from the Department of Education:
Who are our children in care?
A child is in care by a local authority if they have been provided with accommodation for a continuous period of more than 24 hours, in the circumstances set out in sections 20 and 21 of the Children Act 1989, or is placed in the care of a local authority by virtue of an order made under part IV of the Act. Visit the Department for Education website for further definitions in The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations. But if you have any doubts about the status of a student in your school then contact the Virtual School.
The majority of children in care enter care through no fault of their own. They are likely to have experienced some form of abuse, neglect or trauma prior to entering care. Most children in care live in foster care provided by the local authority or with a member of their extended family under a legal order. A smaller proportion live in children’s homes, or attend residential schools due to their complex needs. Children in care tend to have higher levels of Special Educational Needs but often this is due to their Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs and not necessarily due to their cognitive abilities. It is important to remember that an unaccompanied minor/unaccompanied asylum seeking child (UASC) is entitled to the same support as a child born in this country.
Children in care have been given the highest priority within school admission arrangements. The admission requirements for children in care are set out in the School Admissions Code which applies to maintained schools and academies, including free schools. But simply, a child in care must be given a place in the school chosen irrespective of the current numbers on roll or in a class. The local authority that looks after a child can instruct a school in any local authority to admit a child in care. This includes using their powers of direction in a timely way to avoid delay.
Where a local authority considers that an academy will best meet the needs of any child, it can ask the academy to admit that child but has no power to direct it to do so. The local authority and the academy will usually come to an agreement, but if the academy refuses to admit the child, the local authority can ask the Secretary of State to intervene. Visit the GOV.UK website to complete academy admission request form for children in care.
Headteachers who prioritise the education and welfare of children in care ensure that the governing body is able to fulfil its duty to appoint a sufficiently senior and experienced designated teacher to promote the educational outcomes of children in care. The designated teacher must:
- be a qualified teacher
- be in a position to lead school staff
- undertake appropriate training to fulfil the role
- work closely with the virtual school.
Governing bodies that prioritise the education and welfare of children in care identify a governor to take particular interest in the work of the school in relation to children in care, and meet regularly with the designated teacher. The chair of governors supports this ‘designated governor for children in care’ by ensuring they have access to training to fulfil their function and advise the governing body as a whole. Please contact the Virtual School to discuss training for governors.
Headteachers should ensure confidentiality about the personal details of children in care on the school roll while facilitating termly reports from the designated teacher to the governing body and a positive working relationship between the designated teacher and the designated governor for children in care.
Other useful resources
Self-evaluation and school inspection. The outcomes of children in care remains a priority for Ofsted in the West Midlands Region and the Senior HMI has asked for, and been sent, a copy of the new Telford and Wrekin PEP template. The Senior HMI will issue it to inspection teams going in to Telford and Wrekin Schools so they know what to expect when they ask to see a sample of PEPs during inspections and/or meet with the designated teacher. The Telford and Wrekin Virtual School are urging schools to sign up for ARC to complete the online SEF which in turn will generate the schools action plan. This is the first step to become an attachment and trauma formed school.
The Virtual School is regularly contacted by inspectors during school inspections and asked for an opinion on the school’s work with children in care.
Please send us your completed self-evaluation as it will help us support you before or during inspection to firstname.lastname@example.org. Inspectors will look for evidence of a positive relationship between the school and the Virtual School and sharing your self-evaluation with us is a way to demonstrate this.
- Download the successful classroom strategies for unaccompanied asylum seekers which has been complited by Telford and Wrekin Virtual School.
- Download the sexual behaviours traffic light tool which helps professionals objectively assess the risk presented by what may appear to be inappropriate sexual behaviour
- Download the recognising and responding to needs of vulnerable children and children in care.
Last updated: 11/02/2021 11:48