Looked After Children Policy

Date created – 06/10/2020
Date reviewed by governors – 29th September 2021
Next review date – September 2021

Definition of a looked after child 

A child who has been in the care of their local authority for more than 24 hours is known as a looked after child. Looked after children are also often referred to as children in care, a term which many children and young people prefer.

Each UK nation has a slightly different definition of a looked after child and follows its own legislation, policy and guidance. But in general, looked after children are:

  • living with foster parents
  • living in a residential children’s home or
  • living in residential settings like schools or secure units.

Policy statement and aims

Co-op Academy Grange is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

  1. As governors and teachers of Co-op Academy Grange, we aim to:
  • Make a difference in helping to provide the best possible education for looked after children as much as any other;
  • seek to give our young people in care professional help, encouragement and support, so they find our Academy a welcoming and friendly place;
  • be fully inclusive and we will challenge negative views and stereotypes;
  • offer support to and work with their carers on how to assist the young person’s learning and enhance educational opportunities.
  1. We will support the government’s agenda for giving all looked after children the same life chances as any other child, in that we want them to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution to society and achieve economic wellbeing. 
  2. The Children Act 2004 and the statutory guidance Promoting the Educational Achievement of Looked after Children 2015, place duty on us to work together to promote the educational achievement of looked after children.  We recognise that schools and teachers are at the very heart of this process so that we can provide a good education in order to unlock a bright future and so increase life chances of this vulnerable group.  We are highly ambitious for these young people, knowing that securing the best possible progress for them will greatly enhance their life chances.
  3. We recognise our responsibilities as governors and teachers and we actively want to support the local authority in undertaking its statutory responsibility, under section 52 of the Children Act 2004.  This is to help this vulnerable group to succeed in education, champion their needs, raise awareness and challenge negative assumptions at all levels.
  4. As Academy governors, we are aware we can make a significant difference.  We recognise that we have a key role and major influence to ensure that the needs of looked after children are considered at the improvement planning and policy level, through to monitoring and evaluation of the outcomes.
  5. As a governing body, we will monitor the progress that looked after children are making in our Academy and identify if there are barriers to their next steps of learning and progress.  The dedicated governor will have an overview of this.
  6. As a governing body, we will require our Designated Teacher to carry out the specific duties below in relation to the looked after children attending this Academy.
  7. We will require our appointed Designated Teacher to undertake the recommendations set down in the statutory guidance entitled ‘The Designated Teacher for looked after and previously looked after children.  Statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities February 2018’.

In this context, the Designated Teacher will:

  • become the central point of contact at this Academy for all professionals and agencies working with and supporting the individual looked after children we have on roll;
  • take the lead role in the professional assessment and oversight of the preparation of the educational targets and subsequent reviews to be recorded into the relevant sections of the child’s Personal Education Plan (PEP).  The PEP should be established within twenty school working days for any looked after child starting on roll.  This to include the gradual additional and updating of further information over time eg attendance, attainment and progress results;
  • attend relevant update training and cascade information for staff development and updating regarding looked after children;
  • ensure that personal information is handled carefully and sensitively and that the child’s wishes and preferences are taken into account;
  • establish good working relationships and communications with carers, ensuring information is received and early notification is provided for them to attend meetings and reviews;
  • ensure that the looked after child feels safe, know who to trust and who to go to if they feel the need for support;
  • ensure the transfer of records if a looked after child moves school;
  • provide written information to assist planning, reviews and reporting as required;
  • seek and prioritise meetings with, and referrals to, appropriate external agencies in situations that require external support.
  • Maintain oversight of a LAC at risk of exclusion, working closely with all relevant parties in conjunction with the Headteacher to support their decision making process. 
  1.  In addition, we will require our Academy teaching and support staff to assist in the implementation and support of this policy for looked after children by requiring all staff to:
  • ensure the appropriate sensitivities and confidentialities are maintained;
  • be familiar with, and respond appropriately to requests for progress and/or attainment information in order to compile the PEP and other documentation necessary for reviews;
  • respond positively to any request by a child to be the person they want to talk with
  • ensure that no child in care becomes the victim of stigmatisation at any time and that any such attitudes are swiftly reported and eradicated;
  • positively promote the self-esteem of looked after children;
  • convey high aspirations for their educational and personal achievement.
  1. As a governing body, we will endeavour to raise expectations for achievement of looked after children and encourage them to do well by combining high expectation and standards with inclusion.
  2. The governors, though the designated governor, will monitor and evaluate the impact of our Academy provision, teaching and learning and support for looked after children.  The designated governor will be made aware of:
  • the number of looked after children on roll;
  • attendance statistics for any authorised and unauthorised absence;
  • the frequency, circumstance and reasons for any recorded exclusion;
  • how they are performing in core subjects, their progress and any value added measure when compared against initial baseline assessment;
  • the frequency of them taking part in extra-curricular activities;
  • the attainment relative to the targets set in core and foundation subjects;
  • the provision arrangements for additional support identified to include 1:1 tuition at our Academy and any externally added booster work provided in the care home;
  • the quality and updating of the educational targets recorded in the PEP.
  1. We are aware that the new OFSTED inspection framework will consider the provisions that we, as a whole Academy, have put in place to support looked after children.  We understand that a judgement will be made within the OFSTED framework in terms of how far this Academy is able to support looked after young people.  The formal report will include comments and support provided to these vulnerable young people.
  2. At Co-op Academy Grange, a named member of the safeguarding team is also the lead teacher for looked after children.  This group is extremely vulnerable, the most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse and/or neglect and our Academy is aware of the need to monitor the welfare and ensure the support of children in this category.
  3. The designated safeguarding lead, safeguarding team and looked after children lead have details of the legal status of each individual looked after child’s care arrangements and what the contact arrangements are with birth parents or those with parental responsibility.  They will also know the levels of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after him/her.
  4. The designated teacher will work with the virtual school head  and the child’s social worker to discuss how funding can be best used to support the progress of looked after children in our Academy and meet the needs identified in the child’s personal education plan and to ensure their safety and security.
  5. In cases where a looked after child has special educational needs and/or disabilities, our SENDCo will be closely involved with the provision for this child.

Designated Governor and Designated Lead Teacher for Looked After Children

Co-op Academy Grange appointed Designated Governor for Looked After Children is:

Sally Birkbeck

Co-op Academy Grange’s Designated Looked After Children lead teacher is:

Glenn Senior, Assistant Headteacher