Avoidance of Disruption in Education


This chapter applies to all Children Looked After. 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, Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England – A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion (2012)


This chapter has been refreshed in June 2020.

This chapter was reviewed in December 2022.

1. Moving a Placement

Where care planning proposes making a change to the child's placement that would disrupt the arrangements made for education and training, the social worker must ensure that an alternative education setting is in place before the child is moved. The Virtual School should be informed as soon as reasonably practicable and invited to care planning meetings, to ensure any alternative education setting is able to meet the child's needs, are consistent with the PEP and comply with statutory guidance.

The Headteacher of Knowsley Virtual School must approve any change of school/education setting affecting a child in Key Stage 4, with the exception of a care placement being terminated in an emergency and necessitating a school change. In those circumstances the Virtual School must be invited to the care planning meeting following the change of placement.

Care planning meetings should ensure:

  • The child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • The wishes and feelings of the parent(s) have been ascertained where the child is accommodated (where possible) and where appropriate where the child is subject to a Care Order;
  • The educational provision will promote educational achievement and is consistent with the PEP;
  • The Independent Reviewing Officer has been consulted;
  • The Designated Teachers from each education setting are consulted;
  • A personalised transition plan is agreed which also considers the social and emotional impact of the disruption.

If a child has an Education Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Education Needs a representative from the Special Education Needs and Disabilities Service from the local authority the child resides within must be kept informed of any changes and invited to care planning meetings. The Virtual School is available to support and advise on this matter.

2. When a Child Moves to a New Local Authority

KMBC has made a commitment to promote the educational outcomes of all Children Looked After regardless of where they live. Whenever concerns about the education of a child are identified the Virtual School must be informed.

If a child is placed in a different local authority but continues to attend the same school the Personal Education Plan should be reviewed to ensure it takes into account the impact of the placement change and provides sufficient support. Transport arrangements should be confirmed before the child moves placement and sources of funding (if required) established.

If the child is to be placed in the area of a different local authority and will need a new education setting, efforts to obtain a place should (unless it is an emergency placement) begin well before a child moves to a new placement. The relevant Education Officer within the receiving authority's School Admissions Team or Special Education Needs and Disabilities Service (if the child has an Education Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Education Needs) should be provided with the relevant information to assist in the search for a school place.

For pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans or Statements of Special Educational Needs the 'old' authority must transfer the paperwork to the 'new' authority. The requirement for the child/ young person to attend the educational institution specified in the Plan or Statement continues after the transfer. Although, funding for the transport needs to be agreed between Social Care and Education. Where attendance would be impractical, the new authority must place the child/ young person temporarily at an appropriate educational institution until the Plan is formally amended.

When a child moves between local authorities while they are being assessed for an Education, Health and Care Plan, the new authority should decide whether it needs to carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment using the information already gathered.