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Realising the potential of Children in Care

Designated Teachers

Since September 2009, the Governing bodies of maintained schools have had a statutory obligation to appoint a Designated Teacher to promote the educational achievement of Children in Care on the school roll.  Many Children in Care have suffered disruption to their learning. Gaps in their learning and the emotional impact of their experiences are likely to have become significant barriers to their progress. Excellent practice already exists in many schools and making the Designated Teacher role statutory is intended to help ensure this effective practice becomes universal.

The Designated Teacher provides a central point of contact within the school and should have lead responsibility for helping school staff to understand the things which affect how Children in Care learn and achieve.  The Designated Teacher should:

  • promote a culture of high expectations and aspirations for how Children in Care learn;
  • make sure the young person has a voice in setting learning targets;
  • be a source of advice for staff about differentiated teaching strategies appropriate for individual children and in making full use of Assessment for Learning;
  • make sure that Children in Care are prioritised in one to one tuition arrangements and that carers understand the importance of supporting learning at home;
  • have lead responsibility for the development and implementation of the child’s Personal Education Plan (PEP) within the school;
  • make sure there is an agreed process in place for how the school works with others.
  • focus on how everyone contributes to promoting the child’s educational achievement;
  • communicate school policies (e.g. around Home School Agreements) to social workers and carers;
  • ensure the school does everything possible to maximise educational stability for the child, especially by finding ways of sharing information through the ePEP Document and in providing advice to the Local Authority about the impact of disrupting education. 

Further Reading

Promoting the education of Looked after Children - statutory guidance for local authorities (DfE July 2014)

Improving the attainment of looked after children in Primary Schools - guidance for schools (DfE Nov 2009)

Improving the attainment of looked after children in Secondary Schools - guidance for schools (DfE Nov 2009)

Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools (DfE March 2016)