Children who have new families through adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements orders have positive futures ahead of them. However, it is important to remember that this does not eliminate their past experiences, which can have a lasting impact, particularly at school. Teachers and schools have a pivotal role in supporting the academic, social and emotional needs of Previously Looked After Children (PLAC).
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 PLAC 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 if s/he is in the care of or accommodated by a public authority, a religious organisation or any other organisation the sole or main purpose of which is to benefit society.”
The aim of the Guidance is to give specific support to PLAC (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 PLAC pupils
- Ensure the designated person undertakes appropriate training
Key actions for the Virtual School Head are to:
- Be a source of advice & information to help parents of PLAC at schools in the area to advocate for them as effectively as possible.
In the Further Information section at the bottom of this webpage you will find guides for Schools and Early Years settings with previously looked after children on roll.
We would strongly advise Designated Teachers to hold regular EPPLAC (Education Plan for Previously Looked After Children) meetings for the whole cohort of PLAC within your school. The meetings are invaluable in terms of finding out the needs of previously looked after children, so that you can plan and support them in the most effective way. By understanding how they present at home, at school and what additional challenges they may face allows education settings to support them to reach their full potential. By understanding your cohort of previously looked after children, as a Designated Teacher you can then discuss with your SENCO and SLT the areas of need and interventions needed and how best to use the Pupil Premium Grant for this cohort within your school. Further information and guidance can be found on the VSK website.
If you would like to arrange a phone consultation with the VSKAT regarding your cohort of PLAC, or (with parental consent) an individual, then please complete the Initial Contact Form with some suggested times that would be convenient for us to contact you back on. Please provide details of the school, Designated Teacher and a brief outline of what you would like to discuss with us. (Please do not mention children’s names or confidential information).
School consultations with VSKAT and Educational Psychologist Service
We hold termly school consultation sessions for schools to discuss individual previously looked after children. It is a very informal half hour discussion with VSKAT, the school and an Education Psychologist. If you feel that this would be a useful tool in your planning around an individual child, please refer to our Events diary to see when the next consultations will be. Please contact us for more information via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then send a form for you and the parents/guardians to fill in (including obtaining their consent to discuss their child). You, as a school, are responsible for feeding back to the parents/guardians around the discussion and any outcomes or next steps.
Nurture – Boxall Profile
We would always recommend that a school undertakes a Boxall Profile (or similar) to assess a child or young person’s social, emotional and behavioural development.
Virtual School Kent have the expertise and knowledge to advise schools on interventions that can help a previously looked after child. If a child has other areas of need or support/interventions from Post Adoption services, we can incorporate this into the suggested support around social, emotional or behavioural development; for example looking at sensory interventions that can also support the Boxall Profiles areas of need.
If as a school, you do not use Boxall Profiles (or similar), VSKAT would be able to conduct the assessment on your behalf. School would remain responsible for the assessment and would hold the information within the child’s school records. Where a school uses Boxall Profiles, we could advise on the analysis of the assessment if asked. VSKAT would not keep Boxall Profile Assessment data on the child’s KCC recording system but would make note of when the assessment took place.
For more information, please contact us.
SEND Code of Practice 0 to 25 years
I Am Adopted, a poem by a Year 6 adopted child Her family hopes that sharing those powerful words will “help people understand the complexities of adoption and feelings around being different especially around transitions, building trust with new relationships, loss and how it affects school and the way children hide their internal feelings and mask”.
Who to contact for advice
You can contact VSK by email at: email@example.com
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.