Parents and Carers

Parents and Carers

How can I support the school placement?

Carer helping with homeworkIt is well documented and evidenced that the educational performance and attainment of children in care is well below that of all children nationally. Some of the significant disadvantage is a result of changes in placement and often changes in schools. This lack of consistency is a major factor impacting on poor educational attainment and although some do well, some children in care have inconsistent experiences of education. Data shows expected levels of achievement for children in care overall remains significantly lower than for all children nationally.

Carers can provide much needed stability and encouragement by working in partnership with schools and other children’s services to improve education attainment for children placed with them. Carers should be involved in all aspects of the child’s education. Carers should attend parents’ evenings, sports days and other school events to show their commitment and support.

Carers should be responsible for:

  • keeping schools informed of changes and emerging problems
  • helping the young person to talk about any worries and speaking on their behalf when appropriate
  • helping the young person to voice their hopes for their future and ensuring these are communicated to school
  • encouraging the young person to develop their talents and recognise their achievements no matter how small
  • responding quickly to requests from school for meetings.

Carers should provide an appropriate learning environment with:

  • a peaceful comfortable place for study/homework time for study/homework books, pens, paper and other resources to support learning
  • provide learning opportunities outside the home e.g. visits to libraries, museums etc  (ensure the child’s ethnicity and background are considered and supported when making plans). 

Carers should take a positive interest in the young person’s education:

  • attending parents’ evenings and encouraging birth family’s involvement where appropriate
  • supporting school policies (discipline, dress etc.)
  • taking an interest in the activities of the school
  • completing communication books such as homework diaries, reading records etc.
  • supporting homework by reading with a child, offering advice and making sure set tasks are completed
  • supporting school events
  • ensuring awareness of the school’s calendar
  • making sure you know the timetables and arrangements for exams and course work completion.

The role of schools in supporting children in care

Clearly, there is a need for all schools to prioritise and support children in care.  Schools across the country are required to nominate a Designated teacher for children in care, who will act as a champion for these children on roll in their schools. The Virtual School is responsible for promoting the working relationship with designated teachers and ensuring they receive appropriate training, guidance and support.  Designated teachers are responsible for monitoring the progress of children in care and identifying any issues that may affect their positive engagement in school and learning.

Attendance at planning meetings and reviews should be a priority for schools and there is an expectation that schools will release staff to attend meetings for these vulnerable young people. The designated teacher in each school should maintain close links with carers and social workers and should seek the advice of the Virtual School if they are experiencing difficulties.

Schools have a responsibility to enhance the understanding of their staff about children in care, and promote involvement in extracurricular activities and clubs.  Young people should have the opportunity to take part in educational activities that will enrich their educational attainment. 

Schools should keep foster carers informed by:

  • making regular contact
  • having a clear plan for introduction and integration of a young person into school
  • having a proactive approach to problems
  • sharing concerns at an early stage
  • jointly managing and writing a young person’s personal education plan.

Foster carer education training

Surrey Virtual School staff have been working with the Surrey fostering training team to provide regular opportunities to attend information sessions and workshops on a variety of educational topics.  Keep an eye on Fostering News and for information on forthcoming events in your payslips.