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Previously looked after children

Children who have been adopted or placed in a child arrangement order or special guardianship order have positives futures in front of them. However, it is important to remember that this exciting new phase in their life does not eliminate their past experiences which can have a lasting impact.

Further information

Advice for education provisions

Teachers and schools play a pivotal role in supporting the academic, social and emotional needs of a care experienced child.

In 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) published the following statutory guidance for maintained schools and academies: The designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children

This guidance defines a previously looked after child as someone “who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because s/he is the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person… … or has been adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales if s/he is in the care of or accommodated by a public authority, a religious organisation or any other organisation the sole or main purpose of which is to benefit society.”

The aim of the guidance is to give specific support for anyone supporting care experienced children (in addition to CLA) because of the likelihood of Adverse Childhood Experiences impacting on their learning.

Advice for parents

How can the Virtual School help you?

The role of the Virtual School is to promote the educational achievement through the provision of information and advice to their parents, educators and others where necessary.

We will:

  • Offer advice and information to carers and signpost them to other services for advice and support if necessary.
  • Offer advice and information to providers of early education, designated teachers in schools and providers of alternative provision in respect of individual care experienced children.
  • 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 includes promoting good practice on identifying and meeting children’s needs and guidance on effective use of the Pupil Premium Plus funds

Pupil Premium Plus for Care Experience Children

Additional financial support for Previously Looked After Children is available for schools through the Pupil Premium Grant which goes directly to schools if the eligible child is identified on the October census - and the school is responsible for evidencing an effective spend with good impact.

This additional funding is to be used to improve the attainment of Care Experienced Children and close the attainment gap between this group and their peers, reflecting the significant additional barriers faced by these children.

Designated teachers have a statutory responsibility to play a key part in decisions on how the PP+ is used for care experienced children. They should encourage carers involvement in deciding how the PP+ is used to support their child and be the main contact for queries about its use.

The designated teacher has an important role in ensuring the specific needs of Children Looked After and Children Previously Looked After are understood by the school’s staff and reflected in how the school uses PP+ to support these children.

For further information, please refer to the:

The updated Department of Education Guidance on PP+ Funding and Accountability for Schools, which details how much pupil premium funding schools and non-mainstream schools receive, how they should spend it, and how the Department of Education hold them to account. It also includes a Pupil Premium Frequently Asked Question document.

The Education Endowment Foundation has published a pupil premium guide that explains what schools have found works best when spending the pupil premium to improve results.

Is my child eligible for Pupil Premium Plus funding?

In 2013 the DfE introduced Pupil Premium Plus for Children Looked After and Previously Looked After Children. In doing this, the DfE acknowledged the enduring impact of trauma and loss in children’s lives and the key role of schools in supporting children who have had a difficult start in life.

Pupil Premium funding is available to pupils from reception age to Year 11 in state-funded education in England.

Schools will receive £2,300 for any pupil:

  • identified in the October 2020 school census or the alternative provision census as having left local authority care as a result of: a) adoption b) a special guardianship order c) a child arrangements order (previously known as a residence order)
  • who has been in local authority care for 1 day or more
  • recorded as both eligible for FSM in the last 6 years and as being looked after (or as having left local authority care)

Early Years Pupil Premium funding for Previously Looked After Children

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) gives providers additional funding to support children who are three or four years old and receive the universal 15 hours entitlement who were previously looked after by an English or Welsh local authority immediately before being adopted, or who have left local authority care on a special guardianship or child arrangements order (previously known as a residence order).

Once the child enters reception, they will no longer be eligible for EYPP, but may become eligible for Pupil Premium Plus funding.

For more information please refer to the DfE Guidance: Early Years Entitlements: local authority funding of providers: operational guide 2019 to 2020.

Frequently asked questions

How can I make sure my child’s school is receiving Pupil Premium Plus funding?

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. Carers must provide evidence, for example, a copy of the legal order, or a confirmation letter from the local authority which placed their child. Carers should not need to declare their child’s status again until their child changes school.

How can I make sure that my child is receiving the Pupil Premium Plus funding?

This money is not ring fenced for your child, instead allowing the school flexibility to ensure maximum impact for this cohort of children. Although the school can make the final decision, it should be made following parental consultation and show direct evidence that it is benefiting their cohort of children and according to children’s needs.

How do I know what the school is using the Pupil Premium Plus funding for?

Designated teachers should encourage carers involvement in deciding how the PP+ is used to support their child and the main contact for queries about its use. This might be done at an information sharing meeting with all parents, or on an individual basis.

Information on what the school uses all of its Pupil Premium Plus funding for, should be available on their website or ask the school’s designated teacher for further information in the first instance.

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