St Mary Redcliffe Church of England Primary School

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Children in Care Policy

Overall aims

 

We at St Mary Redcliffe Church of England Primary School (SMRP) will do for children in care what we do for all children only more so. We aim to ensure that children in care excel, as we aim for all children to excel.  We aim to overcome their barriers to learning and enable them to leave us happy and secure in themselves, understanding that they do have control over their destiny and that education does matter.  We will listen to what children in care tell us about what they want from their education and try to address any concerns or issues raised through various means including The HOPE (Bristol’s Virtual School for children in care) Student Council and surveys.

 

St  Mary Redcliffe Church of England Primary School strives to ensure that the culture and ethos of the school are such that, whatever the heritage and origins of members of the school, pupils should be provided with the opportunity to experience, understand and celebrate diversity.

 

Objectives

 

St  Mary Redcliffe Church of England Primary School will support children in care by:

  • Ensuring an effective induction when joining the school or when coming into care whilst already on the school roll;
  • Balancing high levels of support with real challenge;
  • Ensuring that each child has a high quality Personal Education Plan;
  • Linking each child to a key person they relate well to;
  • Making it a priority to know the children well and to build strong relationships;
  • Developing strong relationships with carers, local authorities including the Virtual School Head and specialist agencies;
  • Encouraging and supporting children in care to take responsibility for their learning;
  • Engaging children in care in learning outside the classroom and after-school activities;
  • Intervening promptly if a problem emerges such as with behaviour or attendance;
  • Giving integrated but low profile support in school for each child in care so that they are not made to feel different from other children;
  • Planning for future transitions e.g. to secondary school.

 

Roles and responsibilities – see annex 2 for full detail

 

The Governor with special responsibility for children in care in this school is: Angela Hogg

 

The designated teacher in this school is: Head Teacher Emma Payne

 

 

 

Personal Education Plans (PEPs)

 

All children in care must have a care plan which is drawn up and reviewed by the local authority which looks after them.  The care plan must include a Personal Education plan (PEP), which forms part of the child’s official school record.  The school and the Local Authority have a shared responsibility for making sure that the PEP is a useful document and for helping children in care to achieve and enjoy. Discussion about how together they can make that happen through the content, implementation and review of the PEP should be done through a meeting involving the young person, carers, the social worker, a teacher and  others such as, where appropriate,

staff from the Education of Children Looked After Service (ECLAS). If the young person has a Statement of Special Educational Needs this should be reviewed annually and should, where possible, tie in with the PEP. Full guidance on PEP meetings and how to use the PEP is provided on the CiC education web pages.

 

One to one tuition

 

All children in care are entitled to one to one tuition in English and/or maths as part of the government scheme even if they appear to be reaching expected levels.  This school is committed to prioritising all children in care for this tuition.

 

Additional funding

 

Children in long term care are entitled to additional funding to help improve their outcomes and narrow the gap between their outcomes and those of their peers. Which young people are eligible and the amount of such funding available will be determined as a result of government policy.

 

The school is committed to ensuring effective use of this dedicated funding where available for all eligible children in care on roll to provide additional, personalised support to ensure accelerated progress in order to improve outcomes.

 

The appropriate use of allocated funding is to be assessed through the Personal Education Plan.

 

Admission/Induction Arrangements

 

Children in care are a priority for admission and, as such, we will follow the Local Authority’s published admission criteria. On admission to the school or to care, carers will be given an introductory booklet about the school’s expectations and processes and the child will meet with the designated teacher for children in care. The designated teacher will identify any relevant issues, academic or pastoral, and ensure the child is made to feel supported in our school.  Consideration will be given to giving the child a peer mentor.  On admission, records will be requested from the child’s previous school.   As soon as practicable after the records are received, a meeting will be held with the carer/parent, social worker, other relevant professionals and the child, as appropriate, to put together a new Personal Education Plan, This early meeting will ensure that communication systems are established early.  If records are not received promptly we will undertake our own assessment to make sure that the teaching and support received are appropriate.  We will endeavour to meet the statutory time scales for PEPs as outlined in guidance.

 

When children already on school roll enter care the school will ensure that the student meets with the designated teacher as soon as possible and is fully informed of the school procedures and additional support arrangements available. A meeting with other parties will be arranged and PEP prepared as soon as possible in the same way as for those children already in care admitted to school.

 

At the first PEP meeting, we will seek clarification from the social worker as to who requires school reports and who may give permission for school trips or other such activities. At this meeting any means of communication to aid the exchange of information between statutory meetings will be discussed and agreed (such as a home/school book to detail any sudden significant changes in a child’s circumstances).

 

Many children in care do not want school staff to be aware of their care status because it makes them feel “different”. Therefore, we will negotiate with the child to identify who should be aware of their care status. However we recognise that in some cases, such as if the child has a severe learning difficulty, this many not be possible.

 

School Trips and Special Activities

 

We aim to ensure that children in care enjoy as many extra curricular opportunities as possible by reserving placements for them on trips or enrichment activities which they are eligible for and allowing sufficient time to gain the necessary consent. The responsibility for giving permission for school trips and enrichment opportunities is that of the social worker, although they often delegate this to foster carers. The person who may give permission will be clarified at the first PEP meeting.  If in doubt we will always send consent forms to the social worker.

 

Given the delays that children in care experience in getting parental consent for school trips and activities, we will aim to ensure that children in care enjoy the same extra curricular opportunities as other children by reserving placements for them on trips or on activities.

 

Leaving Arrangements

 

When a child in care leaves the school we will find ways to say goodbye.  We will also ensure the swift transfer of information to the next school.

 

This policy is dated: April 2014

To be reviewed: As new situations arise/ routinely every 2 years

 

 Annex 1 – Definitions and complaints procedure

 

Children in care

The terms Looked After Child (LAC) and child in care (CiC) are interchangeable. For the purposes of this policy we are using the term CiC. Under the Children Act 1989, a child is looked after by a local authority if he or she is in their care or is provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by the authority.  They include the following:

 

  1. children who are accommodated by the local authority under a voluntary agreement with their parents;
  2. children who are the subject of a care order or interim care order;
  3. children who are the subject of emergency orders for the protection of the child;
  4. children who are compulsorily accommodated. This includes remanded to the local authority or subject to a criminal justice supervision order with a residence requirement.

 

A looked after child may be in residential care, a foster placement or could be living with their parents.  If living with their parents, this could be on a part time basis or possibly before returning home permanently after a care placement. 

 

Legal Framework

From 1 September 2009 the governing bodies of all maintained schools are required under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (the 2008 Act) to appoint a designated teacher (DT) to promote the educational achievement of children in care who are on the school roll. This policy follows the statutory guidance for school governing bodies outlined in “The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after children” 2009.

 

Complaints

If a young person, parent/carer or social worker wishes to complain about the provision or policy, they should in the first instance raise it with the designated teacher, who will try to resolve the situation alongside the carer and the social worker.

 

If the issue cannot be resolved within 10 days, the young person, carer or social worker can submit a formal complaint in writing to the Head teacher. The Head teacher will investigate the complaint and respond within 10 working days, unless the formal complaint is about the conduct of the Head teacher, in which case the complaint will go straight to the chair of governors.

 

Any issues that remain unresolved at this stage should be addressed through a meeting in order to assess the impact of any such complaint upon the young person’s education. This meeting may include the named Governor and any other outside agency that both parties deem necessary to attend. This meeting should normally be held within 10 working days of the Head teacher’s response.

 

Pupils who wish to make a formal complaint against the school or about their care will be advised of the support available for children in care through Reconstruct and encouraged to look at the page on Bristol’s children in care R Voice website.

 

 

 

Annex 2 - Roles and Responsibilities

 

The Role of the Governing Body:

 

  • The governing body will ensure that the designated teacher and the named governor undertake appropriate training;
  • Ensure that the designated teacher is a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Governors will consider an annual report from the designated teacher covering attainment, attendance, progress, Personal Education Plans, CiC with Special Educational Needs or who are gifted and talented, impact on school development plans and how the school supports the work of The HOPE (Bristol’s virtual school for children in care). A suggested template is available here;
  • The governing body, Head teacher and school leadership team will act on any issues raised in the report and will ensure that:
    • The school has a clear overview of the educational needs and progress of CiC on roll;
    • The school’s policies are effective in reflecting the needs of CiC;

Resources are allocated to support the designated teacher to carry out this role effectively for the benefit of CiC;

 

The role of the Head teacher:

 

  • to ensure that, in partnership with the Governing body, the designated teacher has the opportunity to acquire and keep up to date the necessary skills, knowledge and training to understand and respond to the specific teaching and learning needs of children in care;
  • to make sure that the designated teacher role contributes to the deeper understanding of everyone in the school who is likely to be involved in supporting children in care to achieve;
  • in partnership with the Governing body, monitor the effectiveness of the role of the designated teacher;
  • oversee the development of the policy on children in care;
  • evaluate the standards and achievement of CiC and report these termly to the governing body and discuss them at Core SIO/HOPE meetings;
  • ensure that all staff are given the opportunity to attend training courses etc that help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to support children in care.

 

The role of the designated teacher within the school:

 

The designated teacher has lead responsibility for helping school staff understand the things which affect how CiC learn and achieve. The DT will:

  • promote a culture of high expectations and aspirations for how CiC learn;
  • promote the educational achievement of every child in care on the school’s roll;
  • contribute to the development and review of whole school policies to ensure that they do not unintentionally put children in care at a disadvantage;
  • make sure, in partnership with other staff, that there are effective and well understood school procedures in place to support children in care’s learning;
  • make sure the young person has a voice in setting learning targets;
  • be a source of advice for staff about differentiated teaching strategies appropriate for individual children and in making full use of Assessment for Learning (AfL);
  • make sure that CiC are prioritised in one-to-one tuition arrangements and that carers understand the importance of supporting learning at home;
  • have lead responsibility for the development and implementation of the child’s personal education plan (PEP) within the school;
  • set up systems to monitor and record the progress of all children in care and establish a system for contacting and forwarding educational records to new schools to facilitate a smooth and speedy transfer;
  • act as the named contact for colleagues in social care and health and ensure effective communication between all relevant parties;
  • have lead responsibility for helping school staff to understand the things which can affect how children in care learn and achieve;
  • ensure that the school file for CiC holds all the essential information a template for which can be found on the CiC education web pages;
  • arrange for a mentor or peer mentor for each child in care on the roll of the school.

 

The role of all those involved in supporting children in care:

 

  • ensure that all children in care are made to feel welcome and included;
  • have high expectations of children in care’s involvement in learning and educational progress;
  • be aware of the emotional, psychological and social effects of loss and separation from birth families;
  • understand the reasons which may be behind a child in care’s behaviour, and why they may need more support than other children;
  • understand how important it is to see children in care as individuals and not to publicly treat them differently from their peers;
  • appreciate the central importance of showing sensitivity about who else knows about a child in care’s status;
  • understand what a PEP is and its importance in helping to create a shared understanding between teachers, carers, social workers and, depending on age and understanding, the child him or herself of what everyone needs to do to help them achieve their potential.
 

Annex 3 - Sources of guidance and support:

 

National policy/statutory guidance

 

 

Bristol policies and guidance

 

School’s own policies

 

  • Behaviour policy
  • Anti-bullying policy
  • PSHE
  • Single Equality Scheme
  • Child Protection
  • Safeguarding Children Policy

 

 

 

 

 

Website links in policy document:

 

PEP guidance:         http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/personal-education-plans

(see Related documents section)

 

The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after children:

https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DCSF-01046-2009

           

Complaints guidance for children in care:         

http://www.rvoice.co.uk/pages/home/know-your-rights/right-to-an-advocate

 

Template for report to full governing body on the progress of children in care:

https://www.bristol.gov.uk/node/11158

 

Model school file for children in care:     

http://www.bristol.gov.uk/node/9206

 

 

Annex 4 – Helping to build a child’s portfolio of memorabilia

 

Children in Care may experience many moves; they may become dislocated from their pasts. School may be one of the few places where they may safely gather up and record things they have done, have made, have become.

 

SMRP will ensure that all their children in care make a comprehensive portfolio of memorabilia recording stages in their lives at school for them to keep – photographs of themselves and their friends in teams, at play, in class (if appropriate), special pieces of work (paintings, poems, models).

 

 

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