When a Child first becomes Looked After
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
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 Looked After who acquire the 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.
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)
AMENDMENTIn June 2020, this chapter was reviewed locally and revised where required.
See also: The Personal Education Plan (PEP).
As soon as a child becomes looked after (if not before), the child's social worker must notify the Designated Teacher within the school the child is on roll at 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.
Where the child has no school place the Virtual Head must be informed at the earliest opportunity, in order for them to link into the relevant member of the team to offer support and advice. 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 to monitor the child's progress, wellbeing and exchange any relevant information.
The First Personal Education Plan
When a child or young person becomes a Child Looked After 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 working 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, Virtual School carers, child and parents (if appropriate).
The first PEP should:
- Identify the educational, social and emotional factors that have caused a detrimental effect on the child's educational achievement and progress or may cause in the future;
- 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);
- Summarise any SEND support plans or other school based plans and interventions;
- 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 and ensure this is reflected in the PEP.
The completed PEP should be accessible to the distributed to the child, school, carers and all others invited to the meeting. Where arrangements for the distribution of the PEP need to be made, this should be agreed at the meeting. A copy of the finalised PEP must be saved on the child's file (ICS).