Realising the potential of Children in Care

Advice for Provisions Supporting Previously Looked After Children

In February 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) published the following statutory guidance for maintained schools and academies: The designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children

This Guidance defines Previously Looked After Children as a child “who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because s/he is the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales.”

The aim of the Guidance is to give specific support to Previously LAC (in addition to LAC) because they are highly likely to have had disrupted learning, may have missed extended periods of school and many of them have special educational needs (SEN). The gaps in their learning and, in many cases the emotional impact of their experiences, are likely to have become significant barriers to their progress.

Key Actions for schools are to:

  • Designate a member of staff to have responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of previously looked-after pupils
  • Ensure the designated person undertakes appropriate training

Key actions for the Virtual School Head (VSH) are to:

  • Be a source of advice & information to help parents of previously LAC at schools in the area to advocate for them as effectively as possible.

The Pupil Premium Post-LAC Grant

Additional financial support for Previously Looked After Children is available for schools through the Pupil Premium Grant which goes directly to schools (not the Virtual School) if the eligible child is entered as such on the January Census - and the school is responsible for evidencing an effective spend with good impact.

This money is not ring fenced for individual children instead allowing the school flexibility to ensure maximum impact for this cohort of children. It is considered best practice for schools to consult with parents and guardians when making decisions regarding the use of the funding.

The funding is intended to be spent on helping children: ‘…..emotionally, socially and educationally by providing specific support to raise their attainment and address their wider needs.’

Pupil Premium Conditions of Grant 2018-2019 (DfE Oct 2018)

Further Information and Recommended Reading

PAC-UK is the ‘country’s largest independent Adoption Support Agency with an Education Service working with children, parents and schools to improve the educational experience of previously LAC/adopted children.’ The PAC-UK website has a vast array for educational resources.

PAC-UK’s guide for school staff Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children: A guide for school staff covers a range of topics including: what we know about our children in education, a background to early developmental trauma, whole school approaches, and support for schools and families. The guide is accompanied by easy to use resources that can be implemented in individual classrooms or across whole schools.

Coram Life Education is part of the Coram Charity and is the leading provider of high quality Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education and works to support 475,000 children nationally. Please visit the Coram Life Education Website for more information.

The Adoptables School Toolkit - Register for the toolkit
Created by adopted young people aged 13 to 25 with specialist educators from Coram Life Education. It explores the issues highlighted by the young people as particularly sensitive or challenging, such as friendships, relationships, family, certain lesson topics, and also what they would like teachers to know.

The Toolkit involved consultation with teachers and is matched to PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) Association Learning Opportunities within the areas Relationships, Living in the Wider World and Health and Wellbeing. It comprises two separate resources, one aimed at those teaching Key Stage 2 pupils (aged from nine to 11) and one for those teaching Key Stage 3 students (aged from 11 to 14).

The Toolkit canters around a collection of fun interactive lesson plans alongside creative short films which help students understand what it’s like to be adopted and how adopted young people can feel at school. For Key Stage 3 students the Toolkit can also include the participation of a peer educator who is part of the Adoptables network.

Responses to the pilot sessions of the Schools Toolkit have been very positive with 95% of Key Stage 3 class participants rating it good or very good and all teachers strongly agreeing that the pupils engaged well with the session and the content was appropriate.

Adoption UK is the leading charity providing support, community and advocacy for all those parenting or supporting children who cannot live with their birth parents. The Adoption UK website is full of useful information, downloads and resource links for schools and parents.

First 4 Adoption is the national information service for people interested in adopting a child in England. The First 4 Adoption website is a good source of information for Pupil Premium Funding and educational links.

Stonewall provides information on developing an inclusive curriculum, resources and examples for storybooks to use in the classroom. Please visit the Stonewall website

SEND Code of Practice 0 to 25 years (DfE June 2014)

Education Plan for Previously Looked After Children/Adopted Children (EPPLAC/EPAC)

Free Training from VSK for Provisions Supporting Previously Looked After Children

Advice for Parents Supporting Previously Looked After Children

Quick Reference guide for Headteachers and Designated Teachers

Recommended Books and Classroom Resources

The diverse nature of today’s family structures means that schools need to be inclusive to all types of families as well as providing education as to the importance of social acceptance. Please visit our webpage for more information.

Who to contact for further information/advice

You can contact VSK by email at:

Please note we are happy to give general advice however if you wish to discuss an individual case please ensure that you have permission from the parents first.