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5.1.4 Education


This guidance applies to every Looked After Child.

Note: Under section 22 (3A) of the Children Act 1989, local authorities have a duty to promote the educational achievement of Looked After children. Section 99 of the Children and Families Act 2014 imposes a requirement for an officer to be appointed to discharge this duty - sometimes referred to as a 'Virtual School Head'.

It should be read in conjunction with Education of Looked After Children/Personal Education Plans (PEPs) Procedure.


Elective Home Education Protocol


This chapter was updated in June 2014 to reflect the requirement for a Local Authority to appoint an officer whose responsibility is to promote the educational achievement of Looked After Children.


  1. Responsibilities of Social Workers Concerning the Promotion of Education 
  2. Responsibilities of Carers Concerning the Promotion of Education 

1. Responsibilities of Social Workers Concerning the Promotion of Education

The social worker for the child must:

  1. Have overall responsibility to ensure that the child’s educational needs are met. They have the prime responsibility to either deliver, or commission and co-ordinate services;
  2. Inform appropriate colleagues in the education authority and school, particularly the Designated Teacher, of the legal status of Looked After children in all correspondence. (This will assist colleagues to prioritise Looked After children). The Looked After Children Education Services Team (LACES) should be aware of educational issues in relation to every Child in Care;
  3. Keep the Designated Teacher informed of any significant events, for example, court cases, contact sessions etc;
  4. Ensure that whenever possible, a child’s educational needs are addressed when considering any change of looked after placement;
  5. Ensure all Care Plans, Looked After Children Review and other planning processes for each child address his or her education. All targets must be linked to the individual potential of the child;
  6. Ensure schools receive copies of relevant plans including the Placement Plan/Placement Information Records and that the day-to-day arrangements relating to school transport, clothes and dinner money are addressed. Plans must include where appropriate, details of who will read to the child and supervise homework;
  7. Ensure that tasks contained within the child’s Personal Education Plan (PEP) are implemented by named persons/agencies;
  8. Ensure that a new PEP is agreed as soon as possible and at least within 20 school days of a child becoming looked after or joining a new school, i.e. for the first Looked After Review post placement. Where a child is without a school place, the LACES Team should be asked to provide an officer to liaise with the Social Worker in relation to the PEP;
  9. Contribute actively to the assessment process leading to a Education, Health and Care Plan and the annual review of the Plan.

2. Responsibilities of Carers Concerning the Promotion of Education

  1. Contact the school immediately a child is placed and give relevant information;
  2. Go to the school and introduce themselves to the class teacher and Designated Teacher;
  3. Ensure that the child attends school every day;
  4. Accompany the child to and from school, according to the child’s age and ability;
  5. Seek support from the child’s social worker if problems occur;
  6. Maintain regular contact with the school and try to attend parents’ evening and school functions e.g. school plays, sports day;
  7. Ensure that the child has somewhere quiet to study and do homework;
  8. Encourage the child to do their homework and offer help where appropriate;
  9. Encourage all children to develop their own talents, interests and hobbies;
  10. Encourage children to enjoy music and play musical instruments;
  11. Ensure that all children join a library;
  12. Build a supply of children’s books (these should include books that are anti-racist and anti-sexist and also books particularly relating to the experiences of being looked after);
  13. Read to or with the child as appropriate to age;
  14. Encourage children to watch educational television programmes and videos/DVD’s and go on outings to places of interest. Use everyday situations to promote learning;
  15. Encourage children to participate in school and after-school activities;
  16. Keep information on the child’s educational circumstances and attainments with the child;
  17. Check with the child how things are at school; discuss education on a routine/regular basis;
  18. Encourage children to do well educationally, consider an appropriate career and go into further or higher education;
  19. Act as an advocate on behalf of the child and intervene immediately if there is a problem with education;
  20. Liaise with social workers (and other relevant people) in relation to educational issues;
  21. Notify the school as early as possible during the first school day of absence;
  22. Supply the school with evidence of the child’s illness;
  23. Celebrate success and reward the child when they do well;
  24. Contribute to Personal Education Plans;
  25. Encourage children to participate in Home Tuition to support targets set at the ePEP meeting.
Residential staff/foster carers can be the positive advocates for Looked After children. They deal with the educational issues, problems and successes, on a day-to-day basis. They are the link to teachers, parents and other professionals.

The foster carer’s social worker should help foster carers with all these responsibilities and offer support and training for carers to help them improve their role and the educational outcomes of the children they care for.

All staff can get advice and support from the LACES Team.

Educational issues should be thoroughly discussed at foster carer’s reviews.

See Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers Procedure.