Looked after Child and Previously LAC Policy_
Looked After Children and Previously Looked After Children Policy
Policy approved: January 2023
Designated Teacher: Gemma Shaw
Designated Governor: Jack Sunderland
Nationally, Children Looked After significantly under achieve and are at greater risk of exclusion, compared with their peers. Schools have a major part to play in ensuring that Children Looked After are enabled to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy, achieve, make a positive contribution to society and achieve economic well-being.
Co-op Academy Smithies Moor believes that in partnership with Kirklees Council we have a special duty to safeguard and promote the education of Children Looked After.
Who are Children Looked After and recently Looked After Children?
Under the Children Act 1989, a child is looked after by a local authority if he or she is in their care or provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by the authority. They fall into four main groups:
● Children who are accommodated under a voluntary agreement with their parents (section 20)
● Children who are the subjects of a care order (section 31) or interim care order (section 38)
● Children who are subjects of emergency orders for their protection (sections 44 and 46)
● 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 (section 21)
●Children who were looked after by an English local authority immediately before being adopted, or who left local authority care on a special guardianship order or child arrangements order (previously known as a residence order). These are collectively referred to as previously-LAC.
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, with relatives or with 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. All these groups are said to be ‘Children Looked After’ (CLA). They may be looked after by our local authority or may be in the care of another authority but living in ours.
CLA reviews, involving the school, will take place up until an adoption order has been granted. However, Pupil Premium Plus funding will continue for CLA until they are 16 years old.
● To provide a safe and secure environment, where education is valued and there is a belief in the abilities and potential for all children.
● To support our CLA and give them access to every opportunity to achieve their potential, enjoy learning and take as full a part as possible in all school activities.
● To ensure that school policies and procedures are followed for CLA as for all children.
● To ensure that carers and social workers of CLA pupils are kept fully informed of their child’s progress and attainment.
● To fulfil our schools’ role as corporate parents to promote and support the education of our CLA, by asking the question ‘Would this be good enough for my child?’
Our school’s approach to supporting the educational achievement of CLA is based on the following principles:
● Prioritising education
● Promoting attendance
● Targeting support
● Having high expectations and raising aspiration
● Promoting inclusion
● Achieving stability and continuity
● Early intervention and priority action
● Listening to children
● Promoting health and well-being
● Minimising exclusions and promoting stability
● Working in partnership with carers, social workers and other professionals
In order to implement this policy, the school will:
● Nominate a Designated Teacher for CLA who will act as their advocate and coordinate support for them
● Nominate a school governor to ensure that the needs of CLA in the school are considered at a school management level and to support the Designated Teacher.
● Support the Designated Teacher in carrying out their role by making time available and ensuring that they attend training on CLA.
The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for CLA Designated teacher (DT)
The role became statutory in September 2009 under the Children and Young Persons’ Act 2008. The designated teacher must be a qualified teacher. Ideally, he/she should be a senior member of staff who has enough status and experience to advise and provide training to school staff on issues relating to CLA. They need to be able to influence decisions about the teaching and learning of these children.
The Designated Teacher’s responsibilities in school:
● Knowing who all the CLA are in school and ensuring that availability of all relevant details from school record-keeping systems are required.
● Attending relevant training about CLA and acting as the key liaison professional for other agencies and carers in relation to CLA.
● Promoting a culture of high expectations and aspirations for how CLA should learn.
● Helping school staff understand the issues that affect the learning of CLA such as differentiated teaching strategies appropriate for individual children and in making full use of assessment for learning (AfL).
● Making sure that CLA are prioritised in one-to-one tuition arrangements and that carers understand the importance of supporting learning at home.
● Removing the barriers to learning for CLA and Prev-LAC by targeting any SEND needs when required.
● Monitoring the mental health of CLA and Prev-LAC and ensuring any concerns are addressed and supportive by the relevant agencies.
● Arranging for a mentor to whom the young person can talk to. Arranging for the CLA to be supported by their peers.
● Ensuring any CLA new to the school are welcomed positively and assessed when they start at the school to identify strengths and weaknesses in their learning. This will be used to inform planning and teaching.
● Developing personalised learning packages for CLA in conjunction with the relevant teaching staff.
● Ensuring that the CLA in our school have a voice in setting learning targets themselves.
● Ensuring Pupil Premium funding is supporting CLA with their specific needs
● Leading on developing and implementing the Personal Education Plan (PEP) within the school.
● Monitoring the child’s progress against targets on the PEP and extending these targets if they have been achieved.
● Ensuring the child makes a smooth transition to the new school whilst providing additional support meetings and that the child’s records are transferred without delay.
● Convening urgent multi-agency meetings if a CLA is experiencing difficulties or is at risk of exclusion.
● Working collaboratively with multi- agencies to ensure positive outcomes for CLA and Prev-LAC.
● Producing at least one annual report to the governing body which should include: current progress, attendance and exclusions (if any), any concerns regarding behaviour, how the PEP has been implemented and whether actions put in place are effective in addressing the learning needs of CLA, how the DT works in partnership with the LA, training undertaken for carrying out the role effectively. The report must not mention the children’s names for confidentiality reasons.
● Promoting good home-school links and the importance of education as a way of improving life chances for CLA.
For more information please see:
● The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for Children Looked After – statutory guidance for school governing bodies. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/683561/The_designated_teacher_for_looked-after_and_previously_looked-after_children.pdf
● Promoting the Attainment of Looked After Children in Primary schools – Guidance for schools https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276468/educational_achievement_of_looked_after_children.pdf
The role and responsibility of the governing body
● Support the local authority in its statutory duty to provide the educational achievement of Children Looked After.
● Ensure that the DT is given the appropriate level of support in order to fulfil their duties.
● In partnership with the Headteacher, ensure that, through their training and development, the DT has the opportunity to acquire and keep up-to-date the necessary skills, knowledge and training to understand and respond to the specific teaching and learning needs of CLA.
● Governing bodies and the SLT should make sure that the DT role contributes to the deeper understanding of everyone in the school who is likely to be involved in supporting CLA to achieve.
● The governing body, in partnership with the Headteacher, is responsible for monitoring how well the role is working. As part of this monitoring an annual report will be received from the DT.
This policy links with a number of other school policies and it is important that Governors have regard to the needs of Children Looked After when reviewing them:
● Staff Code of Conduct
● Behaviour Policy
● Anti-bullying policy
● Home-school agreement
● Children Protection and Safeguarding Policy
● Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Policy
Co-op Academy Smithies Moor will champion the needs of Children Looked After, raise awareness and challenge negative stereotypes about them, in order to ensure that they achieve to the highest level possible.