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10.1 Education of Looked After Children

RELATED GUIDANCE

This policy must be read in conjunction with the Isle of Man Government Departments of Education, and Social Care joint Policy and Procedural/Practice Guidance on the Education of Looked After Children.

If the child is placed with either Fostering First or St Christopher’s, please see their relevant documentation, as well.


Contents

  1. The Personal Education Plan (PEP)
  2. When a Child First Becomes Looked After 
  3. When a Child Moves to a New School 
  4. When a Child Has no School Place 
  5. Celebrating a Child's Achievements
  6. Reviewing and Updating PEP's
  7. When a Child is Absent from School 
  8. School Exclusions 
  9. When a Young Woman Becomes Pregnant
  10. School Transport


1. The Personal Education Plan (PEP)

1.1 The Personal Education Plan (PEP) allows the social worker, residential staff/carer and Designated Teacher at the child's school or, where the child has no school place, the education service, in conjunction with the child, to set out what needs to happen to meet the educational needs of the child.
1.2 All Looked After children of compulsory school age must have a PEP, whether or not currently in education. 
1.3

The PEP should set clear objectives and targets for the child, covering four main areas:

  • An achievement record (academic or otherwise);
  • Developmental or educational needs;
  • Short term targets;
  • Long term plans and aspirations.
1.4 The PEP provides essential information to ensure that appropriate support is in place to enable the child to achieve the targets set. It is also a record of the child's interests and achievement.


2. When a Child First Becomes Looked After

2.1 Notification

2.1.1 As soon as a child becomes Looked After (if not before), the child's social worker must notify the education service where the child is placed.
2.1.2 The child’s social worker must also inform the Designated Teacher at the child's school within 48 hours of the child becoming Looked After and a Personal Education Plan meeting arranged. Regular liaison should then be maintained.

2.2 The First Personal Education Plan (or PEP)

2.2.1 The first PEP should be in place within the first 20 days of a child becoming Looked After.
2.2.2 The child's social worker should arrange a meeting to draw up the first PEP which should include the Designated Teacher at the school (where the child has a school place), the residential staff/carer and any other relevant professionals; and should involve the child and parents as far as is appropriate and possible. 
2.2.3 Where the child is excluded from school, the Head Teacher should be invited.
2.2.4 Where the child has no school place, the relevant education officer should be invited and asked to assist in the search for a school place. The SENCO should also be asked to assist as appropriate. 
2.2.5

The first PEP should:

  • Identify the educational and social factors that may have caused or may cause in the future a detrimental effect on the child’s educational achievement;
  • Identify the support required to reduce the impact of these factors;
  • Identify the child’s immediate and priority needs and targets, (e.g. to maintain the current school place, make transport arrangements, find a new school, obtain short-term interim education);
  • Incorporate any Individual Education Plan or other school-based plan;
  • Identify a named person for the day to day management of the PEP and establish lines of communication between the staff/carer, school/education staff and social worker - the basis of a working partnership;
  • Establish boundaries of confidentiality;
  • Agree a date for the next PEP review meeting and how and when the next (full) PEP is going to be drawn up.
2.2.6 The completed PEP should be distributed to the child, parents, staff/carers and all others invited to the meeting. A copy should also be sent to the child's Independent Reviewing Officer.
2.2.7 NB: The provision of education for pupils special needs can only be changed if the child’s arrangements are changed at an annual review or by other agreement through the Department of Education and Children.


3. When a Child Moves to a New School

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 If a child is placed in the area of a different school, the procedure outlined in Section 2.2, The First Personal Education Plan (or PEP) applies.
3.1.2 If the child is to be placed in the area of a different local authority (i.e. Off Island) and will need a new school, efforts to obtain a school place should (unless it is an emergency placement) begin well before s/he moves to a new placement. The relevant Education Officer and, if appropriate, the SENCO, should be provided with a full educational history and asked to assist in the search for a school place. 
3.1.3 Whenever possible a child should not be moved to a new placement until s/he also has a school place or clear agreed arrangements to maintain the current school placement.
3.1.4 Where the child does not have a school place - see Section 4, When a Child Has no School Place.

3.2 Pupils with Special Needs placed in the UK where they might otherwise have Statements of Special Educational Needs

3.2.1 The local education service where the child lives (unless in residential accommodation) is responsible for the placement and provision of education to a pupil who has a statement of special educational needs. The education service for the area to which the child is moving should therefore be requested to adopt the needs, although there will be no statement. A negotiation will be essential in order to clarify the basis upon which any Educational provision is made.
3.2.2 This needs to be planned as early as possible as it can cause long delays.

3.3 When a Child Needs or Joins a New School

3.3.1 Choosing and applying to a school place is primarily the child’s social worker's responsibility but in exceptional circumstances may be delegated to or shared with others. Changes of school should be minimised to avoid disruption to the child's education and should not take place in the middle of a school year or in years 10 and 11, unless this is unavoidable.
3.3.2 School details must be kept up to date on ICS.
3.3.3 Changes in school as a result of moves of placement should be avoided wherever possible unless there are insurmountable transport issues. Moves should only be agreed once long term or permanent care arrangements are in place.

3.4 Notification

3.4.1 At least one member of staff in the school - the Designated Teacher or the Head Teacher - must be informed by the social worker within 48 hours that the child is Looked After and be provided with a copy of the child's current PEP. Other members of staff who need to know should be identified at the PEP meeting, taking into account the child’s wishes concerning confidentiality.

3.5 The First PEP in a New School

3.5.1 A meeting should be held at the new school as soon as practicable.
3.5.2 A new or updated PEP should be in place within the first 20 days of a child joining a new school. Subsequent PEP’s should correspond with the Looked After Review cycle.
3.5.3

The first PEP in a new school should:

  • Identify the child’s immediate and priority needs (e.g. English as an additional language, literacy support, behaviour management);
  • Establish contact between residential staff/carer, school staff and social worker - the basis of a working partnership;
  • Identify a named person for the day to day management of the PEP and agree who contacts whom about what;
  • Establish boundaries of confidentiality;
  • Share important information - perhaps including the Placement Plan;
  • Ensure records are forwarded from the previous school and/or carer;
  • Agree a date for the next PEP review meeting and how and when the next full PEP is going to be drawn up (this needs to take account of the CLA Review cycle because the PEP has to be ready before or at the Review; but also term dates, parents’ evenings, school target setting days, Individual Education Plan reviews etc.)
3.5.4 The completed PEP should be distributed to those invited to the meeting and the child's Independent Reviewing Officer.


4. When a Child has no School Place

4.1 Introduction

4.1.1 Finding a school place is primarily the social worker's responsibility but may be delegated to or shared with others. The decision on the provision of the school place will rest initially with the Head teacher and subsequently with the Department of Education and Children where there are disputes. Placements should be made using DEC criteria regarding catchment areas - subject to the proviso above that changes should not be made based upon temporary or short term periods of residence.

4.2 PEP's

4.2.1 Children without a school place should still have an up-to-date PEP. It should address the child's immediate educational needs and longer-term planning.
4.2.2 Where the child does not have a school place because one cannot be found, or because mainstream school are not appropriate to his or her needs, the child’s social worker should notify and seek assistance from the education service (and the SENCO, in appropriate cases). The education service should identify a school place within 20 working days at the latest; and should be asked to provide alternative education if a school place cannot be found immediately or is not appropriate.


5. Celebrating a Child's Achievements

5.1 Introduction

5.1.1 Children’s educational (and other) achievements should be acknowledged at one or more of the following times: at CLA Review; in the PEP, at school-based meetings; in school reports; and after exams.

5.2 Recording a Child’s Achievements

5.2.1 A Looked After Child’s educational attainments at Key Stages 1-3, GCSE, A Level and GNVQ should be recorded, including on ICS and in the PEP.


6. Reviewing and Updating PEP's

6.1 Introduction

6.1.1 The child’s social worker must ensure PEP review meeting take place on time.
6.1.2 Second and subsequent PEP’s should correspond with the CLA Review cycle and PEP decisions and recommendations must be available to the child's Independent Reviewing Officer at the Looked After Review.

6.2 PEP Decisions

6.2.1 The participants should agree what action they will each undertake to achieve the improvements in the child’s education that they have identified through the consultation/preparation process.

6.3 PEP Recommendations

6.3.1 Proposals that would lead to significant changes in arrangements (e.g. a change of school) and/or to increases in expenditure (private tuition, a jointly-funded placement) should be made in the form of recommendations to the CLA Review.


7. When a Child is Absent from School

7.1 Introduction

7.1.1 The residential staff/carer must notify the school and the child’s social worker immediately if the child does not attend school for any reason.
7.1.2

In any case where the child has been absent from school for more than 10 days, the social worker should liaise with the school, the child, residential staff/carers and any other relevant person to address:

  • The reasons for the absence;
  • How to ensure the child returns to education as soon as possible;
  • Whether and how the child can be helped to catch up on what s/he has missed.
Where necessary, the Joint Protocol - Missing from Care 2010 - to follow must be followed - see also the Safeguarding Children Board (SCB) Inter Agency Child Protection Procedures 2010.


8. School Exclusions

8.1 Fixed Term Exclusions

8.1.1 Exclusions from school should be a last resort for children who are Looked After, therefore it is important to work with the school and Carers to intervene as soon as a child's behaviour becomes a cause for concern.
8.1.2 Where a child is excluded from school for a fixed period, the school will provide work for the child for the first five days of the exclusion. The social worker must liaise with the residential staff/carers about suitable arrangements for supervising the child doing the schoolwork during the day and ensuring the child does not go out during school hours. With effect from the sixth day the school should provide a place for the child to be educated.
8.1.3 The school will communicate the reasons for the exclusion to the residential staff/carer and the social worker. Whoever is the most appropriate one to do so will discuss this with the child. The social worker should inform the parents, if appropriate.
8.1.4 The social worker, in consultation with the child and parents, must seek advice as to whether to appeal against the decision to exclude the child.
8.1.5 If the child is in primary school and receives a fixed term exclusion or is in secondary school and is suspended for more than five days, the social worker should ensure a reintegration meeting is held within the five days to discuss his/her return and how best this can be supported.

8.2 Permanent Exclusions

8.2.1 When a child is permanently excluded but is remaining in the same foster or residential placement, the social worker will liaise urgently with the education service to find an alternative school placement. Again, for the first five days of the exclusion the school will provide work and the child must not be out in public during school hours. From the sixth day the Department of Education and Children will arrange for a place for the child to be educated.
8.2.2 In the case of permanent exclusion a meeting of a committee of governors will be held within fifteen days to review the decision. If the committee decides to uphold the decision to permanently exclude, an appeal can be made within fifteen school days. The appeals form can be completed by a foster carer or anyone who has Parental Responsibility for the child.


9. When a Young Woman Becomes Pregnant

9.1.1 Becoming pregnant is not in itself a reason to stop attending school, nor to cease education.
9.1.2 Where a young woman becomes pregnant, the social worker must ensure that the young woman remains in education if at all possible and arrange for her to receive support from the school she attends. 


10. School Transport

10.1.1 In order to maintain continuity of school, those with responsibility for school transport should be approached to provide assistance with transport. A decision will be made taking into account the child’s age and the distance from the child’s address to the nearest suitable school.

End