Education of looked-after children: Statutory guidance

Statutory guidance sets out what local authorities must do to comply with the law. They should follow the guidance unless they have a very good reason not to. This page applies to England.

 

Statutory guidance: Promoting the education of looked-after and previously looked-after children


Statutory guidance for local authorities to support looked-after and previously looked-after children's aspirations to achieve in further and higher education. 

This is for: (i) local authorities (ii) virtual school heads (VSHs) (iii) directors of children’s services (iv) social workers (v) independent reviewing officers and (vi) officers who are responsible for the education of looked-after children. It details the duty local authorities and VSHs have to promote the educational achievement of the children they look after.

This guidance sets the framework through which local authorities discharge their statutory duty under 22(3A) of the Children Act 1989 to promote the educational achievement of looked-after children. That includes those children placed out of authority. The Children and Families Act 2014 amended section 22 of the Children Act 1989 to require every local authority in England to appoint an officer employed by the authority, or another authority, to make sure that its duty to promote the educational achievement of its looked-after children is properly discharged. This guidance also sets the framework through which local authorities discharge their statutory duty under 23ZZA of the Children Act 1989 (added by section 4 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017) to promote the educational achievement of previously lookedafter children. Local authorities are required to appoint an officer employed by the authority, or another authority, to make sure that its duty to promote their educational achievement is properly discharged. Virtual school heads (VSHs) are in charge of promoting the educational achievement of all the children looked after by their local authority [England] they work for.

Looked-after and previously looked-after children start with the disadvantage of their pre-care experiences and, often, have special educational needs. VSHs have a key role to ensure these children have the maximum opportunity to reach their full educational potential - an important part of why this role was made statutory.


• For looked-after children, as part of a local authority’s corporate parent role, the VSH needs to be the educational advocate that parents are for others.
• For previously looked-after children, the VSH will be a source of advice and information to help their parents to advocate for them as effectively as possible. VSHs are not acting as part of the corporate parent role in these circumstances, but are there to promote the educational achievement of these children through the provision of advice and information to relevant parties relevant to previously lookedafter children. See also Guidance (non-statutory) Pupil premium: virtual school heads’ responsibilities. How virtual school heads should manage the school-age pupil premium and the early years pupil premium for looked-after children.

 

Statutory guidance: Designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children


Statutory guidance for local-authority-maintained schools carrying out duties for looked-after and previously looked-after children. This statutory guidance is for: (i) governors (ii) headteachers (iii) teachers (iv) local authorities - It applies to maintained schools.  It relates to the duty of governing bodies of all maintained schools to appoint a designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children on the school roll. [Following amendments by the Children and Social Work Act 2017, Section 2E of the Academies Act 2010 places the similar duties on Academy proprietors in England.]

 

Designated Teacher (Looked-After Pupils etc.) (England) Regulations 2009. No. 1538

These Regulations are the first to be made under section 20(3) of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”) and apply in relation to maintained schools in England. Under section 20 of the 2008 Act, governing bodies of maintained schools must designate a member of the staff at the school as having responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of registered pupils at the school who are being looked after by a local authority; or who are care leavers (that is, relevant children or former relevant children within the meaning of sections 23A or 23C of the Children Act 1989); and those who have equivalent status under the law of Scotland or Northern Ireland (“looked after pupils”).

The Regulations provide that governing bodies must ensure that person (referred to as “the designated teacher”) has the prescribed qualifications and/or experience. The designated teacher must be - (i) a qualified teacher who has completed the appropriate induction period (if required) and is working as a teacher at the school (regulation 3(2)); (ii) the headteacher or the acting headteacher of the school (regulation 3(3)); or (iii) a person who has been doing the job of the designated teacher for six months immediately before the regulations came into force and who is training to be a teacher and likely to qualify before 1st September 2012.

 

Statutory guidance: Promoting the health and wellbeing of looked-after children


Statutory guidance on the planning, commissioning and delivery of health services for looked-after children. This guidance is for: (i) local authorities (ii) commissioners of health services for children (iii) NHS England (iv) designated and named professionals for looked-after children (v) GPs, optometrists, dentists and pharmacists (vi) managers and staff of services for care leavers, and personal advisers (vii) teachers (viii) health visitors, school nurses and any other professional who is involved in the delivery of services and care to looked-after children. It aims to ensure looked-after children have access to any physical or mental health care they may need. This is joint statutory guidance from the Department for Education and the Department of Health. It applies to England only.

 

 

Reference:  Author. (date). Title. Place of publication: publisher 

 

commentary

 

 

Under the Children Act 1989, a child is looked after by a local authority if s/he is in their care or is provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by the authority. They include the following: (i) children who are accommodated by the local authority under a voluntary agreement with their parents (section 20); (ii) children who are the subject of a care order (section 31(1)) or interim care order (section 38); and (iii) children who are the subject of emergency orders for the protection of the child (section 44).  A ‘maintained school’ means a community school, foundation school, voluntary aided school, voluntary controlled school, community special school, foundation special school or maintained nursery school.

 

Statutory guidance and regulations are updated as the Acts of parliament upon which they are based are amended (revised). The pdfs we reproduce here may not be the latest versions (they are included only to integrate the material into the site as a whole). The hyperlinks are the latest versions;

 

 

 

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Crown copyright material is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence for public sector information.

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