Advice for Parents with Previously Looked After Children
Who are Previously Looked After Children?
The Department of Education defines Previously Looked After Children as those who:
- “are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales (as defined by the children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order; or
- Were adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales. ‘State care’ is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society.”
How can VSK help you?
The role of the Virtual School for previously looked after children is to promote their educational achievement through the provision of information and advice to their parents, educators and others where necessary. VSK will:
- Offer advice and information to parents and sign-post them to other services for advice and support if necessary.
- Offer advice and information to providers of early education, designated teachers in schools and providers of alternative provision in respect of individual previously looked after children.
- Make general advice and information available to early years settings and schools to improve awareness of the vulnerability and needs of previously looked-after children. This includes promoting good practice on identifying and meeting children’s needs and guidance on effective use of the Pupil Premium funds.
Pupil Premium funding for Previously Looked After Children
Is my child eligible for Pupil Premium Post-LAC Funding?
In 2013 the DfE introduced Pupil Premium Plus for looked after and previously looked after children. In doing this, the DfE acknowledged the enduring impact of trauma and loss in children’s lives and the key role of schools in supporting children who have had a difficult start in life.
Pupil Premium funding is available to pupils from reception age to Year 11 in state-funded education in England who:
- Are in local authority care in England.
- Have been adopted from care in England or Wales.
- Left care under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) from England or Wales
- Left care under a Child Arrangements Order (formerly known as a Residence Order) from England or Wales.
Pupils must be attending either:
- A local authority maintained school or maintained special school.
- An academy or free school.
- A non-maintained special school, an independent school and other alternative provision (e.g. home education) where the place or provision is funded by the local authority. Children who are educated at home or attend private schools are not currently eligible unless these placements are funded by the local authority.
How can I make sure my child’s school is receiving Pupil Premium Post-LAC Funding?
In order for schools to access the funding, parents and guardians must declare their child’s adoptive, SGO or CAO status directly to the school before the school completes the January census. Parents and guardians must provide evidence, for example, a copy of the legal order, or a confirmation letter from the local authority which placed their child. Parents should not need to declare their child’s status again until the child changes school.
How can I make sure that my child is receiving the Pupil Premium Post-LAC Funding?
This money is not ring fenced for your child 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.’ How do I know what the school is using the Pupil Premium Post-LAC Funding for?
It is considered best practice for schools to share their plans for Pupil Premium funding with the relevant parents. This might be done at an information sharing meeting with all parents, or on an individual basis.
Information on what the school uses Pupil Premium funding should be available on their website or ask the school’s Designated Teacher for further information.
For more information we recommend reading the PAC-UK Pupil Premium Plus Guide 2018-2019
Early Years Pupil Premium funding for Previously Looked After Children
The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) gives providers additional funding to support children who are three or four years old and receive the universal 15 hours entitlement who were previously looked after by an English or Welsh local authority immediately before being adopted, or who have left local authority care on a special guardianship or child arrangements order (previously known as a residence order).
Once the child enters Reception, they will no longer be eligible for EYPP, but may become eligible for Pupil Premium post-LAC.
For more information please refer to the DfE Guidance: Early years entitlements: local authority funding of providers: Operational guide 2019 to 2020
Education Plan for Previously LAC/Adopted Children (EPPLAC/EPAC)
VSK are using EPPLAC/EPAC to help previously looked after children achieve the best that they can. The EPPLAC/EPAC form is completed at an EPPLAC/EPAC meeting with the school/early year provision, parents and others that parents choose to invite.
For more information and the forms please visit our EPPLAC/EPAC webpage
Adoption UK’s guide Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children is a guide for adoptive parents and includes information about Virtual School Heads, Designated Teachers, Priority School Admission, Pupil Premium Plus and dedicates two pages to Intercountry Adoption and Schools.
Commissioned by the Department for Education, the guide explains how The Children and Social Work Act 2017 enhances support for previously looked after children. PAC-UK’s guide includes the views of adopted teens on how their experiences in school could be improved whilst Adoption UK’s has advice from adoptive parents, who adopted both domestically and from oversees.
Who to Contact for Further Information/Advice
Every school has a designated teacher, if you are unsure who that person is, the school office will be able to give you this information. In the first instance, it would be advisable for parents to contact the Designated Teacher who will be able to discuss any concerns that they have and if necessary, will be able to arrange an EPPLAC/EPAC meeting with parents and the relevant professionals.
VSK can offer advice over the phone to parents and will suggest next steps for you to follow to ensure that your child is getting the right support; this may include signposting you to other services, websites, explaining educational processes, etc.
You can contact VSK by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org