The Role of the School Governor

The Role of the School Governor

Background to current guidance

The 2003 Social Exclusion Unit report 'A Better Education for Children in Care' states: “the Government believes that school governing bodies can play a greater role in ensuring that the needs of children in care are met in their schools. To facilitate this, the Government will provide guidance on the questions governors could raise with schools about the education of children in care”

The publication 'Supporting Looked After Learners – a Practical Guide for School Governors, 2006'  is designed to help school governing bodies ensure that school policies and practices are fully inclusive of the needs of children in care.

Since 1 September 2009 the governing bodies of all state funded schools have been required under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008, to ensure the appointment of a Designated Teacher to promote the educational achievement of looked after children who are on the school roll.

The governing body should ensure that:

  • The designated teacher for CiC has the opportunity to undertake appropriate training, including attendance at training offered by the local authority for designated teachers
  • There is a clear policy on professional development for all staff in contact with CiC and other vulnerable children, which should include Departmental advice on mental health and behaviour in schools
  • The School has a Policy for Children in Care, which has been developed in conjunction with other existing policies, for example the Admissions Policy to ensure over-subscription criteria meet statutory requirements, ie. that CiC are at the top of the over-subscription criteria
  • As a minimum governors must consider an annual report from the designated teacher.
  • Both they, and the school leadership team consider the report and act on any issues it raises so as to support the designated teacher and maximise the impact of the role.

Reports to governing bodies should provide information on pupil progress remembering that Ofsted have stated 'One looked after child in a school is regarded as a significant group!'  Governors should be satisfied that;

  • Resources are allocated to match priorities for CiC, including the use of Pupil Premium
  • They know how CiC are performing compared with their peers
  • They know the numbers of children in the school who are in care
  • The school has considered including raising the attainment of CiC in the school improvement plan
  • Procedures are in place to ensure all children in care have up-to-date Personal Education Plans

Information you should know, or your school should be able to provide to you quickly;

  • The name of the designated teacher for CiC
  • What safeguards the school has in place for sharing sensitive information about individual looked after children with relevant staff members
  • What the procedure is for liaising with carers, residential children’s homes and social services to ensure the school has relevant information about a child’s care history
  • How the child’s achievements are effectively communicated to the carer
  • The number of looked after children with up to date PEPs
  • Who reviews and keeps the child’s Personal Education Plan up-to-date
  • Who updates school records with current addresses of carers, birth parents, social worker etc
  • The procedure for preparing information for transfer if a Child in Care leaves school