Previously Looked After Children - Education Support

Previously Looked After Children - Education Support

In February 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) updated their statutory guidance on promoting the education of looked after and previously looked after children. Within this update, Virtual School Headteachers (VSH) across the country were given additional responsibilities to support previously looked after children. This legislation comes into effect from September 2018 and requires VSHs as a minimum to:

  • 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. In particular, the VSH should develop/build on existing good working relationships with designated teachers for previously looked-after children in their area; and

  • 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. This should include promoting good practice on identifying and meeting their needs, and guidance on effective use of the Pupil Premium Plus.

In line with the changes to statutory guidance, Surrey Virtual School are able to provide advice and information to any parent or carer of a post-order child who attends a Surrey School, irrespective of where the child lives. This support is also irrespective of the area in which the child was adopted/left care and is able to be provided from the first day a child attends a Surrey school. Surrey Virtual School also have responsibility to promote the educational achievement of children who have were adopted from ‘state care’ outside of England and Wales. ‘State care’ is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation or any other organisation whose sole of main purpose is to benefit society; including orphanages or similar institutions.

Under the 2018 statutory guidance, Virtual Schools have also been given the power to undertake any activity or intervention they consider appropriate, where that activity will promote the educational achievement of post-order children in their area. Any direct intervention must be carried out with the agreement of the person(s) who have parental responsibility for the child. Virtual Schools are no longer a corporate parent for previously looked after children and therefore do not have any direct control over the spend of Pupil Premium Plus (PPP), nor hold any academic information on children who have left care.