The vital role of Social Workers
Social workers have a key role to play in supporting the education of children in care. In Telford and Wrekin the Personal Education Plan (PEP) Co-ordinator organises termly PEPs. The child's social worker is required to attend the PEP meeting and ensure that the invite has been shared with parents/carers and anyone other key people who should attend. The child's Designated Teacher is responsible for completing the online PEP document every term and submitting it to the virtual school in the required time scale.
The role of the Designated Teacher
All schools must have a designated teacher for Children in Care, who is ideally a member of the senior leadership team. 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.
The designated teacher is often the main point of contact for children in care in schools and they will usually attend meetings and reviews. In some larger schools parts of the role may be delegated to a pastoral member of staff such as a head of year or a mentor.
What is a Personal Education Plan (PEP)?
The PEP is central to improving educational outcomes for children in care. It is how the views of the school, parent/carer, other relevant professionals, and the child or young person are gathered. It considers what is going well and what is going less well, identifies the needs the plan should try to meet and how they will be met through the use of supported SMART targets.
When a child comes into care the PEP Coordinator for the Virtual School must initiate a PEP and the social worker should continue to lead the plan to ensure that it is an effective element of the care plan. In Telford and Wrekin the PEP is divided into two parts:
- PEP document
- PEP meeting
there are clear lines of accountability and responsibility for each part.
The online PEP document is for children in Early Years from the term after they turn two years old through to Year 11.
An online PEP is required termly for all statutory school age pupils and a paper copy is currently being completed for post-16 learners in the care of Telford & Wrekin Council.
What is the Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) for children in care?
The PPG for children in care must be managed by the Virtual School Head to improve the attainment and progress of children in care in accordance with the latest DfE conditions of grant, visit the GOV.UK website for more information on the DfE conditions of grant and any supplementary departmental advice issued, such as the document relating more specifically to the Virtual School Head’s responsibilities. Visit the GOV.UK website for more on the virtual school head's responsibilities.
Though the grant is currently £1,350 per child in care per year the amount of funding used by the Virtual School, or the school the child is on the roll of, will depend on their needs. That may mean that more or less of the total is spent on an individual child so that larger sums can be spent on a child with greater needs. The Virtual School Head will usually approve funding interventions and support based on evidence that they are likely to have a positive impact. Visit the Education Endowment Foundation website for the best source of evidence of what makes a difference.
Social workers and carers should influence the way in which Pupil Premium is spent through the personal education plan process, through referring to the PPG policy as how the funds can be spent. The PEP requires schools to tell the Virtual School how they plan to spend the funding they receive and this should be reviewed at PEP meetings. Costings should be explicate and a PEP will be graded inadequate if Targets are not specific and demonstrate how education outcomes can be improved.
What is the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)?
Eligibility for the EYPP is different for early years settings than for schools and is paid at a different rate, visit the GOV.UK website for more information about the EYPP and a guide for local authorities.
Last updated: 12/09/2023 13:25