When a Child has No School / Education Setting
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 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.
AMENDMENTThis chapter has been updated in June 2020 and comprehensively revised and updated and reflects current regulation, legislation and Knowsley policy and procedures.
Finding a school place is primarily the social worker's responsibility but may be delegated to or shared with others e.g. Virtual School or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service. The Virtual School Headteacher is responsible for supporting Social Workers to ensure timely provision of a suitable education placement for Children Looked After.
Children without a school place should still have an up-to-date PEP. It should address the child's immediate educational needs and the longer-term planning. The arrangements for identifying suitable education provision should also be included in the PEP.
When a child is placed within Knowsley and does not have a school place because one cannot be found, or because mainstream school is not appropriate to his or her needs, the child's social worker should notify and seek assistance from the Virtual School (and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service, in appropriate cases). A school place or placement within another education setting should be identified within 20 school days at the latest. Interim arrangements should be organised until suitable education is put in place to minimise the disruption to education.
Schools judged by Ofsted to be 'good' or 'outstanding' should be prioritised when seeking a place for a Child Looked After in need of a new school and they should not be placed in a school judged as 'inadequate' unless there are exceptional evidence based reasons to do so.
When a child is placed within another local authority and does not have a school place because one cannot be found, or the child has been placed at very short notice, the child's social worker should work in partnership with the Virtual School to notify the relevant education departments in the area where the child is placed and request that a school be identified for the child as soon as possible. On receipt of the relevant paperwork, the local authority should identify a school place within 20 working days at the latest. Interim arrangements should be organised until suitable education is put in place to minimise the disruption to education.
Applications for school places for pupils with an Education Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs should be made through the Special Education Needs and Disabilities section of the local authority the child resides within. This needs to be planned for as early as possible as it can cause long delays, especially if the paperwork needs to transfer from another authority due to a placement change. There is a 15 day consultation process that schools need to adhere to, although at the end of this schools may feel they are unable to meet a child's needs and further settings will need to be approached.