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Previously Looked After Children

Barnet Virtual School has a duty to provide information, advice and guidance for parents/carers and schools regarding education provision for a previously looked after child/young person.

Information about previously looked after children

Barnet Virtual School has a duty to provide information, advice and guidance for parents/carers and schools regarding education provision for a previously looked after child/young person. Please do email us if you have any questions.

The role of the Virtual School in relation to previously looked-after children is to promote their educational achievement through the provision of information and advice to their parents, educators etc.

This is from the point at which the child becomes eligible for free early education, which is currently the start of the term following a child’s second birthday, and conclude when s/he has completed the compulsory years of education. The duty relates to previously looked-after children who are in education in the area served by the VSH irrespective of where the child lives.

How does the Virtual School support

The Virtual School will:

  • respond to parental requests for advice and information – e.g. advice on school admissions in their area. Where appropriate, the VSH should signpost parents to other services that can offer advice and support;

  • respond to requests for advice and information from providers of early education, designated teachers in maintained schools and academies, and providers of alternative provision in their area in respect of individual children supported by the local authority. 

  • make general advice and information available to early years settings and schools to improve awareness of the vulnerability and needs of previously looked-after children.

Specifically the Virtual School will:​

  • Provide advice and information to frequently asked questions online.

  • Provide advice to individual parents/ carers and schools where they have a query.

  • Advise schools on how they can support previously looked after children to improve behaviour to help avoid exclusion becoming necessary.

  • Advise schools on how to best use Pupil Premium to support previously looked-after children.

Barnet Virtual school will work with other professionals in supporting the education of previously looked-after children including:

  • encouraging and supporting early education settings and schools to have high expectations in helping previously looked-after children to achieve their full potential in education;

  • building relationships with health, education and social care partners and other partners, such as voluntary sector organisations in their area, so that we understand the support available to previously looked-after children (e.g. mental health services), and are able to effectively liaise with service providers and signpost parents to those services;

  • encouraging education settings and professionals to share expertise on what works in supporting previously looked-after children’s education

Training for Those Involved in the Education of Previously Looked-After Children

Training for Designated Teachers is open to all schools in Barnet, regardless of whether they have a looked after child. Barnet Virtual School provides training to a variety of colleagues every term and previously looked-after children are referred to in this training. 

Key Points

  • Previously looked-after children do not need to have a Personal Education Plan [PEP] –

  • VSHs are not expected to monitor the educational progress of individual children or be held to account for their educational attainment.

  • Any intervention in the education of a previously looked-after child must be with the agreement of the person(s) who have parental responsibility for the child. 

Top Tips from children as to how D.T.s can support them

1. Be available, take the time to get to know me

2. Notice if I am upset or angry and listen to me when I need help

3. Understand that even though I’ve had a different past than most people, it doesn’t mean I need to be treated differently

4. Understand my experience of being looked-after

5. Understand that my past will affect my present and my future behaviour even if I don’t notice

Pupil Premium Plus Funding Grant for Previously Looked-After Children

Schools that have children who are:

  • Previously looked after

  • Subject to adoption

  • Special guardianship order or child arrangement order (known as 'previously looked after')

are eligible to claim Pupil Premium Plus funding.

The funding will include pupils recorded in the October 2022 school census for 2023-24 or  January 2023 for  alternative provisions, who were looked after by a local authority immediately before being adopted, or who left local council care on a special guardianship order or child arrangements order. These are collectively referred to as post-LAC in these conditions of grant.

 The grant is  for students from Reception class up to Year 11.

In order for schools to access the funding, parents and guardians must declare their child's adoptive, SGO or CAO status directly to the school before the school completes the October census. Parents and guardians must provide evidence, for example, a copy of the legal order, or a confirmation letter from the local council which placed their child. Parents should not need to declare their child’s status again until the child changes school. Parents are not obliged to declare this information.

Unlike the Pupil Premium that was accessed through the Virtual School when the child was still legally in care, Pupil Premium money for previously looked after children comes directly from the government to the school and is not ring-fenced for the individual child. It is good practice for schools to include parents in discussions around the most effective use of Pupil Premium Plus and it is important that interventions supported by pupil premium should be evidence based and in the best interests of the child.

PAC UK has develop a useful guide for school staff on meeting the needs of adopted children as well as lots of other resources.

Click here to read Barnet Virtual School's Policy on previously looked after children

Adoption UK has lots of downloadable resources including guides for welcoming children into nursery, primary and secondary school plus case studies with strategies for schools

This site has FREE handouts for a teacher or trusted adult  to help  understand what survival states look like in the school/college environment and what they can do to help ground young people and subsequently improve their learning

Coram offer adoption support for adoptive families. Services offered include Help with parenting, help with education, and help accessing additional support (which includes therapeutic support). It is useful for families who have adopted internationally and offers groups and therapeutic support, as well as online resources

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