Virtual School

Previously looked-after children (post LAC) in the Virtual School

Who meets the criteria for previously looked-after children?

Previously looked-after children are those who:

  • are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales (as defined by the Children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and Well- being (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship (SGO) or child arrangements order (CAO) or
  • were adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales. ‘State care’ is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society

The Virtual School's role

The Virtual School will:

  • respond to parental requests for advice and information. Where appropriate, the Virtual School head will signpost parents to other services that can offer advice and support
  • 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
  • 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 will include promoting good practice on identifying and meeting their needs, and guidance on effective use of the Pupil Premium Plus)
  • not monitor the educational progress of individual children or be held to account for their educational attainment; any intervention in the education of a previously looked-after child must be with the agreement of the person(s) who have parental responsibility for the child (they, like all parents, are responsible for overseeing their child’s progress in education)

Questions and answers

Is my child eligible for Pupil Premium Plus? 

The pupil premium will include pupils recorded in the January school census and alternative provision census, who were looked after by an English or Welsh local council immediately before being adopted, or who left local council care on a special guardianship order or child arrangements order. These are collectively referred to as post-LAC in the conditions of grant. Pupil Premium is allocated to post-LAC pupils in general maintained schools and alternative provision (including non-maintained special schools) not maintained by the local council but where the local council pays full tuition fees.

The grant is currently £2,300 per year and is for students from Reception class up to Year 11. 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 January census. Parents and guardians must provide evidence, for example, a copy of the legal order, or a confirmation letter from the local council which placed their child. Parents should not need to declare their child’s status again until the child changes school. Parents are not obliged to declare this information.

How is Pupil Premium Plus managed?

Pupil Premium money for previously looked after children comes directly from the local council to the school and is not ring-fenced for the individual child. It is good practice for schools to include parents in discussions around the most effective use of Pupil Premium Plus and it is important that interventions supported by pupil premium should be evidence based and in the best interests of the child. The Virtual School is not responsible for overseeing Premium Plus expenditure but can advise schools/parents on effective ways to use the money.

What training is available?

For parents

A wide range of training courses are available to parents of children who attend school in Central Bedfordshire. This can be accessed via the fostering and adoption team on 0300 300 8090.

For schools

Attachment Aware Schools training is available from the Virtual School. The Virtual School also facilitate a designated teacher network meeting twice a year. A proforma for the education review for previously looked after children can be found below. This is not a statutory requirement but could be used as evidence of progress.

Download education review proforma

I am looking for information, advice and support in finding my child a school. Who can help? 

The Virtual School is unable to recommend schools. However, when looking for a school we do advise parents to take the following steps;

If my child is having difficulties in school what support can be put in place?

There is a wide range of interventions schools can put in place in order to support your child’s needs. Schools can also support with referrals to external agencies for further support.

We suggest parents to arrange a meeting with the designated teacher to initially discuss the difficulties your child may be experiencing. However, please feel free to contact our education adviser regarding any queries you may have prior or after the meeting has taken place.

Please contact our education adviser by sending an email to virtualschooladmin@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

My child used to have personal education plans (PEPs) when they were looked after. Can my child still have a PEP?

Personal Education Plan meetings for previously looked-after children is not a statutory requirement. However, we have devised a similar document (education review) for schools to use (please see above). Should school or parent wish for a meeting to take place to support the child, this can be arranged directly with the school.

Unlike personal education plan meetings, the Virtual School is not responsible for these and is not required to attend or chair these meetings. However, there may be occasions where a representative from the Virtual School will attend to assist the school in chairing the meeting and completing paperwork, for training purposes. This is a resource for school to use if they wish, and it’s not compulsory for schools to do.