Alternative and Independent Education Provision


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 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)


The Virtual School Procedure

The Personal Education Plan (PEP)

1. Alternative Education

Where it is decided that a child will benefit from a course of vocational study or a programme delivered by a provider outside of school, the school will identify an appropriate alternative. As part of this process a risk assessment should be carried out by school and the qualifications available to the child confirmed.

Any alternative programme should have the agreement of the social worker and the carer. The child will remain on roll at their school and the school will be responsible for continuously monitoring the placement.

If the child will be following a full time offsite programme this should consist of 25 hours provision and the child must be working towards recognised qualifications including maths and English. Communication between social worker, carer and school is essential to ensure any issues with the alternative provision can be addressed immediately.

2. Independent Education Provision

When planning for a child to be educated in independent education provision the social worker must give due consideration to the reasons why this form of specialist education is being considered. The social worker must demonstrate why the child's educational needs cannot be met by local authority mainstream or specialist provision and ensure the funding arrangements have been agreed before pursuing this type of placement.

Independent education can include 52 week residential with education placements and term time day placements.

An education representative from the Virtual School and Knowsley's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service (if appropriate) should be invited to all care planning meetings, to seek advice and support throughout the decision making process.

If the child has an Education, Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs the school the child is on roll at should ensure records are kept up to date and any concerns are reported to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service the child resides within. This may take the form of Annual Reviews, Interim Reviews or less formal day to day communication.

It is important to note, although the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service the child resides within take responsibility for the Education, Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs, Knowsley's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service retain financial responsibility. Ultimately this means when decisions are being made which may have a significant financial implication, the social worker must be reassured they are aware and in agreement with the plan.

Where independent education is being considered for a child without an Education, Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs the social worker must provide clear evidence as to why specialist education is being sought for a child without an identified special educational need. Agreement on how this provision will be funded will also have to be reached.

Where a child is placed in an emergency and independent education is part of the package, agreement on how the placement will be funded must be confirmed.