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Questions About Care


What is the role foster carers in education?

Foster carers are generally expected to play the day-to-day role parents would play including ensuring the child’s attendance at school and coming to parents’ evenings and other events in order to support the child. Foster carers are expected to be ambitious for children in their care, help with homework and to play a full part in drawing up and acting on the PEP. If the child is in short term care and/or by voluntary agreement (referred to as Section 20 of the Children Act 1989) the parents may also play a significant continuing role in the child’s education alongside the foster carer. This should be made clear in the child’s PEP.


Who gives permission for school trips, both locally and abroad?

Foster carers are usually empowered to give permission for local school trips although if a child is in care short term and/or by voluntary agreement (s.20) the carer may need to consult the social worker and/or parents first. The social worker will advise. For trips abroad the foster carer will always need to consult the social worker. Parents will also usually need to be consulted. The social care Service Manager can consent to a trip abroad for a child on a care order, the court will need to agree if the child is still subject to care proceedings, and parents’ consent must be sought if the child is in care by voluntary agreement (s.20).


If a child is living with relatives such as their grandparents, does this mean they are ‘looked after’?

They are not necessarily ‘looked after’. The child is only in care or ‘looked after’ either if there is an order to this effect – usually a care order or interim care order – or if they are in care by voluntary agreement under Section 20. A child in care may be placed with relatives, who will be assessed and approved as foster carers. Foster carers including relatives are paid fostering allowances and provided with support through the fostering service. If the child is in care and placed with relatives acting as foster carers, the school has all the responsibilities it has to any other child in care. The school should be informed by the child’s social worker when a child comes into care and is placed with relatives. The child’s social worker will advise on the child’s care status and care arrangements in order to avoid any misunderstandings.


If a child is living with family friends, does this mean they are ‘looked after’?

Again, they are not necessarily ‘looked after’. The same as a child living with relatives (see above) the child may be in care and placed with family friends as foster carers – in which case the school should be informed by the child’s social worker and has the same responsibilities as for any other child in care.

Families may make their own arrangements for children to be cared for by family friends. Parents may pay the family friends, or they may claim the child benefit and tax credits in their own right. If this is for 28 days or more in a year, then it is defined as private fostering. Parents, private foster carers and other agencies including schools have a duty to notify Children’s Service of private fostering arrangements. Social workers have a duty to assess private fostering arrangements to ensure children are safe and their needs are met. This assessment will also ensure that any support needs are identified.

What is the school’s responsibility if a parent of a child known to be in care turns up at the school and wants to see the child?

If in doubt about the plan for a child’s contact with the parent, the school should always check with the social worker before allowing the parent to have contact with the child. If contact with the child involves a parent collecting a child at the end of the school day and is part of the contact plan, this should have been discussed and agreed with the school. Contact information should be made available by the social worker and carers at PEP meetings. The social worker should inform the school of any changes to the contact arrangements, preferably in writing or recorded on PEPs. Contact should not happen in school time.


What if the foster placement changes?

The social worker will keep the school informed and arrange a PEP Review if needed. The social worker should inform the school of all essential information e.g., contact details etc. The new foster carer should contact the school to agree day-to-day contact arrangements and attend the next PEP Review.


How can a school find out who has parental responsibility (PR) for a child?

If a child is in care the social worker can advise who has PR. If the child is in care on an order the Local Authority has PR as well as the parents and anyone else who had PR before the child came into care.


Questions about PEPs and the Pupil Premium Plus

Please click above to find FAQ related to PEPS and PP+

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