The Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, ensures that schools, education providers, Social Workers, carers and other professionals understand statutory responsibilities and are aware of best practice.
We ensure that communication about our children is regular and constructive and that we are all working together successfully to help them thrive.
A toolkit for effective planning for a looked after child’s or care leaver’s education.
A Personal Education Plan is a plan which supports children and young people in public care to do well at school. The plan provides essential information for schools and carers and encourages dialogue between Social Workers, carers and schools. The PEP is a statutory requirement for all school age children in public care. The plan will identify areas of strength and other areas where extra support may be necessary. It is a working document that is regularly reviewed. An effective PEP will:
All looked after children from pre school to age 18 whether educated within Bracknell Forest or outside the borough. Children with disabilities and those who are out of school for any reason also require PEPs.
For pre-school children, the focus should be on good quality play opportunities, early learning and access to appropriate nursery or other provision rather than formal educational goals
The PEP should cover the following four areas:
in relation to the development of skills, knowledge or subject areas and experiences. This should cover: on-going catch-up support for children or young people who have fallen behind with school work, transition support needs when children begin to attend a new school; proposed action and timescales for the child’s reintegration into the full National Curriculum where it has been considered appropriate to dis-apply aspects of the National Curriculum and out of school hours learning/study support and leisure interests;
The Social Worker is responsible for starting the process, booking the formal meeting and ensuring that all relevant sections of the PEP are completed. However, in Bracknell Forest the Virtual School takes a lead on making relevant arrangements once a notification has been received from the Social Worker and chair the meeting.
The Social Worker should complete their section and remind schools, in good time, to complete the “schools section”. In Bracknell Forest, the Virtual School ensures this process has happened. The young person’s views, and the process of their involvement, will be central to the effectiveness of the PEP. The young person should be given the opportunity and support to complete their section of the PEP before the meeting.
Providing the initial paperwork and discussions have been completed then the formal meeting will be relatively short – perhaps 30 – 40 minutes.
A member of the Virtual School would normally co – chair the meeting with the child’s Social Worker. This ensures that relevant discussions are had that cover all aspects of the young person’s education by a professional that understands the provisions within the National Curriculum.
The first PEP should be arranged within 20 school days of a young person entering care or joining a new school. The PEP should then be reviewed each term and at other times if necessary (e.g. change of school, care placement or long exclusion). A current PEP should always be available for review as part of the Care Plan. It is not normally appropriate to review the PEP concurrently with the statutory review although for children with disabilities this sometimes might be appropriate.
The Designated Teacher must ensure that PEPs are in place for all LAC in their school. They should liaise with school staff to ensure that all aspects of the plan are in place.
The PEP should be completed in partnership with the young person, designated teacher, carers, Social Worker, Virtual School and other relevant parties (e.g. educational psychologist). However, the Social Worker is the best placed professional to determine who should and should not attend the meeting. It may not always be appropriate or necessary to invite all parties to the formal meeting. However, their views should be sought where appropriate. The young person’s views must be ascertained either at the meeting itself or through discussions outside the meeting.
PEPs are equally important for the above groups. Those young people who have a Education and Health Care Plan will already have targets in their Individual Education Plans which might be appropriate to incorporate into the PEP. For young people out of school, the PEP should focus attention on what is needed and can impose timescales for action.
The PEP is intended as the overarching education plan, which is in turn an integral part of the young person’s Care Plan. An effective PEP will make connections with but not duplicate other plans which could include:
Welcome and introductions
The Virtual Schools Education Support Officer and the child’s Social Worker will co-chair and take notes. Complete an attendance sheet with contact details if necessary.
Educational achievements and aspirations
Start with the pupil voice and carer voice – What is going well? What are the challenges? What are the needs and aspirations of the pupil and carers and/or parents?
School view – what is going well? Where is support offered and/or needed?
Outcomes and actions
Agree outcomes based on the previous conversation. Outcomes should be specific to the pupil. They should support high aspirations and set high expectations and build on what is working well and address what is not working well. Make outcomes SMART with a clear purpose. Identify actions that will support the achievement of the outcomes (interventions, provision etc.)
Next meeting – set the date and time
Think about the best time for the meeting – don’t take pupils out of lessons unless absolutely necessary and talk to them about how best to secure their input. Attendance at the meeting is a decision that should be made by those people who best know them and their wishes.
Pupil Premium Questions and Answers
What is the Pupil Premium?
Pupil Premium is additional funding given to schools in England to tackle disadvantage and close the attainment gap between eligible pupils and their peers.
Financial year 2017 to 2018
In the 2017 to 2018 financial year, schools will receive the following funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years:
£1,320 for pupils in reception year to year 6
£935 for pupils in year 7 to year 11
Schools will also receive £1,900 for each pupil identified in the spring school census as having left local-authority care because of 1 of the following:
If a pupil has been registered as eligible for free school meals and has also left local-authority care for any of the reasons above, they will attract the £1,900 rate.
Children who have been in local-authority care for 1 day or more also attract £1,900 of pupil premium funding. Funding for these pupils is managed by the virtual school head (VSH) in the local authority that looks after the child.
Funding for pupils that are adopted is paid directly to schools for schools to use. Parents and guardians need to self-declare their child’s status to the school where their child is on roll.
What are the eligibility criteria?
Children must have been adopted from care in England and Wales or left care in England and Wales under a SGO or CAO and living in England to be eligible.
From April 2015, eligible children in alternative provision (for example, attending an independent school or educated at home) have also been able to attract the pupil premium where the local authority funds the cost of the place or provision.
What do parents need to do?
Schools will not necessarily be aware that they have adopted / SGO / CAO children on roll. If your child meets the eligibility criteria and you would like your school to claim the pupil premium, you should inform the school of your child’s status, confirm your child was in local authority care in England or Wales, and provide evidence, for example, a copy of the adoption order. In order for schools to receive funding children need to be recorded as eligible on the school census.
The school census for recording pupil premium is in January.
Parents and guardians will need to self-declare again if their child moves school. If the child does not change schools they will continue to attract Pupil Premium funding.
Parents and guardians will need to ensure that they self-declare to their child’s new school by the January school census date prior to their child’s move. This will ensure schools are able to access funding from the child’s start date.
How is Pupil Premium paid?
Schools will receive funding for pupils who are recorded on the January School Census in the following financial year. For example, eligible pupils recorded on the January 2017 School Census will qualify for premium funding from April 2016 to March 2017 (i.e.2016-17 financial year).
Do pupils adopted from care in post-16 education get the Pupil Premium?
No. The pupil premium is additional funding for schools and they attract it for eligible pupils between Reception and Year 11.
Is the funding ring-fenced for each child?
No. Funding is not ring-fenced and schools can pool Pupil Premium money for numerous children to pay for collective support to gain maximum impact from the funding.
The Pupil Premium is additional money for schools to improve the educational and personal outcomes of disadvantaged pupils including those who have been adopted from care. It is not intended that the additional funding should be used to back-fill the general school budget nor that the funding should be used to support other groups of pupils.
Schools are inspected by Ofsted on their effective use of Pupil Premium funding. There is also a legal requirement for schools to publish information online about their pupil premium funding allocation, how it has been used and the impact it has had on disadvantaged pupils.
Information for school governing bodies and designated teachers.
Supporting young people in developing learning and work-based skills.
Who can ask for help and support?
Former Relevant Care Leavers (21+) who are eligible to access courses and student finance as Settled Home Students up until the age of 25 years.
What is meant by ‘education or training’?
The law says that the definition of ‘education or training’ must be interpreted broadly and could include a range of opportunities e.g.:
How can I apply for support?
Complete the form inside this brochure and return it to the leaving care service that you were supported by previously.
We will contact you to determine what level of support we can offer.
Examples of what we can offer include:
Useful websites for young people
For advice and information on local events and opportunities http://bracknellforest.elevateme.org.uk/
The Helena Kennedy Foundation
provides financial, and other, support to a particular group of people who are not eligible for student loans in the usual way. http://www.hkf.org.uk/index.php
for all forms and guidance for registration and application for funding.
guide to HE specifically for care leavers.
National Careers Service
qualified careers advisers for Information Advice and Guidance, https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/about us/contact us/Pages/default.aspx
I’m thinking of returning to Education or Training and I am a Care Leaver between 21and 25 years old . . .
Can I ask for help?
Promoting a long-term commitment to young people through care, 0 to 25 years
Post 16 team supporting young people
About the team
The team works directly with Bracknell Forest Looked After Children and Care Leavers as well as with colleges, schools, training providers, Social Care, Foster Carers, supported housing providers and employers to support young people’s aspirations, skills and achievements.
We advise, support and challenge education providers and support services to achieve the best possible young person centred and appropriate Education, Employment and Training (EET) outcomes for our young people.
We ensure that support and plans are in place for Bracknell Forest Looked After Children & Care Leavers through Participation Plans.
All young people leaving Year 11 and 12 have an entitlement to a suitable offer of learning for the following September. They do not have to take up this offer, but they have to be offered a suitable place and this offer is recorded by the Youth, Engagement, and Opportunities Team.
Raising the Participation Age (RPA)
Raising the Participation Age legislation came into effect in 2015. The Virtual School has put together a factsheet for staff working with young people and families so that they are clear about its content and have some answers to the questions they may get asked by young people about this requirement to stay in learning until they are 18.
Post 16 Participation Plans
The Participation Plan is an evolving record of what needs to happen for Looked After children and young people to enable them to make at least expected progress in line with their peers and to fulfil their potential. The plan should reflect the importance of a personalised approach to learning that meets the identified educational needs of the student, raises aspirations and builds life chances.
The plan is the joint responsibility of the relevant local authority and the education provider. Social Workers, carers, VSHs, designated teachers and other relevant professionals will need to work together. All those involved in the PEP process at all stages should involve the student (according to understanding and ability) and, wherever appropriate, relevant family members.
Re-engagement in EET aged 21-25 years
Bracknell Forest Care Leavers aged 21-25 to whom services have been closed but now wishing to re-engage with education or training can apply for support to help with their courses and training.
Useful links and resources
For HE activities, information and resources http://nnecl.org
Advice, information and support for Looked After Children & Care Leavers www.coramvoice.org.uk
Support and information for Care Leavers, by Care Leavers www.careleavers.com
The law has changedAll young people must now stay in learning longer
Young people now need to stay in learning until their 18th birthday
Since 2015 all people under 18 should be in education or training. They can be in work, but they should also be doing training or learning that will lead to a real, valuable qualification. You might hear this called “raising the participation age” (RPA).
What does this mean for me?
Under the terms of RPA, Bracknell Forest Council is responsible for checking that young people are participating, and if not, making an offer of support to help that young person access a suitable learning or training opportunity. This is a particular priority if the young person is Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET). But the offer must also be made to young people who are working or volunteering, but not in learning (NIL). Most young people in Bracknell Forest chose to stay in learning until they are 18. But those that drop out include some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged. For these young people there are lots of other options besides school or college.
If you are supporting a family where there is a young person under 18 . . .
Special cases under RPA
Teen Parents should start considering a suitable learning destination 3-6 months from baby being born.
Young Carers should be participating in learning, but this can be part time, depending on the needs of the young person.
Young people who are unwell should be supported to participate in learning, but this can be part time or suspended for as long as necessary, depending on the young person’s fitness.
Raising the Participation Age Young people must stay in learning longer
Young people and parents might be concerned about their responsibilities under RPA. But there are lots of options and everyone can find a place – guaranteed. Here are answers to some questions we have been asked about RPA.
What if . . .
I did badly (or am predicted low grades) in my GCSEs?
If you’re struggling to find a post-16 place because of your grades, there is specialist help available. Visit http://bracknellforest.elevateme.org.uk/ register for support.
I want to apply for an apprenticeship while I’m still at school?
You cannot start an apprenticeship until you are 16. Some apprenticeship providers will not let you apply until you are over 16 or have left school, but others, like your local college, will be happy to take expressions of interest earlier. When you get your apprenticeship, the National Apprenticeship Service will contact the local authority to say you are in training.
I get to the end of the summer and I’m still looking for training or work?
Local further education colleges will take applicants right up to the beginning of term, offer a broad variety of qualifications and also work with employers to deliver apprenticeships. This flexible set of options suits many people. If college is not right for you, there are other opportunities, including flexible and part-time learning. I’m in work without training?
Young people under 18 can usually access fully funded training and your employer should take advantage of this opportunity. They can contact the National Apprentice Service at www.apprenticeships.org.uk to find out about the flexible options available.
I am in learning but I am not sure that it counts under RPA?
Any full time education or training that is working towards a nationally accredited award counts under RPA. Apprenticeships and Traineeships also count. You can also work or volunteer alongside accredited part time study but it should be substantial (280 hours per year minimum). Your post-16 study programme must continue to include work towards your Maths and English GCSEs if you have not yet attained grade 4 or higher.
I know I want to leave school but don’t know what I do want to do?
We know it takes some young people longer to find the right option for them. But we also know that it becomes harder to get funding for learning or training the older you get, and that young people who drop out of learning do worse and earn less money on average in their lifetime than young people who stayed in learning longer. So we work hard to encourage young people to continue in learning, and to make sure all young people have a suitable offer of post-16 education. You may hear this called the September Guarantee.
Will I get into trouble or my parents get into trouble if I am NEET?
If you are not in employment, education or training (NEET) Bracknell Forest Virtual School will contact you regularly to let you know about options, and put you in touch with local jobs, apprenticeships, opportunities, and training for young people. There are no fines or penalties. Our only concern is helping you get the best start in your working life.
What if I turn 18 after the end of term, or I want to take a gap year straight after the end of term?
As long as you complete your academic year, this is not a problem. Please tell your school if you are planning to take a gap year.
Request for support to engage in education or training aged 21 to 25 years
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Guidance for Making a Pupil Feel Welcome
Resources and guidance for practitioners