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5.4.3 When a Child First becomes Looked After


This chapter applies to all Looked After children. It should be read in conjunction with the government guidance documents and related chapters.

Note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure, Care Planning for Young People on Remand.


DfE, Promoting the Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

DfE and DHSC, Special educational needs and disability code of practice 0 to 25 years- Statutory guidance for organisations who work with and support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (2015)

Keeping children safe in education (July 2015)

DfE, Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England – A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion (2012)

RELEVANT CHAPTER                                                                        

Duty to Promote the Educational Attainment of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

Virtual School Procedure


This chapter has been updated in November 2015 and comprehensively revised and updated and reflects current regulation, legislation and Knowsley policy and procedures.

As soon as a child becomes looked after (if not before), the child's social worker must notify the Designated Teacher and any other relevant education services e.g. Virtual School, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service. Educational representatives from the relevant services should then be included in all care planning meetings.

The Designated Teacher must be informed within 48 hours of the child becoming Looked After (if not before) and a Personal Education Plan meeting arranged. Regular liaison should then be maintained.

When a child or young person becomes a Child in Care of the Local Authority all care planning policies and procedures should be initiated. These clearly state that with the exception of an emergency, the Personal Education Plan should be initiated as part of the care plan prior to accommodation. In the case of an emergency, the Personal Education Plan must be initiated within 10 working days. For all newly accommodated children or young people the Personal Education Plan must be available for the first statutory review (i.e. 20 days after entry to care). The child's social worker should arrange a meeting to draw up the first PEP which should include the Designated Teacher, the carers, child and parents if appropriate.

Where the child has no school place, the most suitable education representative officer should be invited and asked to assist in the search for a school place. The SEN adviser should also be asked to assist as appropriate.

The first PEP should:

  • Identify the educational and social factors that may have caused or may cause in the future a detrimental effect on the child’s educational achievement;
  • Identify the support required to reduce the impact of these factors;
  • Identify the child’s immediate and priority needs and targets, (e.g. to maintain the current school place, make transport arrangements, find a new school, obtain short-term interim education);
  • Incorporate any reports in relation to pupils with additional needs (formally IEP) or other school-based plans;
  • Identify a named person for the day to day management of the PEP and establish lines of communication between the carers, education setting and social worker - the basis of a working partnership;
  • Establish boundaries of confidentiality;
  • Agree a date for the next PEP review meeting.

The completed PEP should be distributed to the child, school, carers and all others invited to the meeting. A copy should be held on the child’s file (ICS).