Children in Care Policy

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1 Background

Schools have a major part to play in ensuring that children in care are able to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy, achieve and make a positive contribution to society. Nationally, children in care significantly underachieve and are at greater risk of exclusion compared with their peers. At Harton Academy we have an excellent record of meeting these objectives for all children and take great pride in doing so.

2 Our Objective

To promote the educational achievement and welfare of children in care at Harton Academy.

3 Responsibilities within this Policy

The Governing Body

The Governing Body will nominate a Designated Governor for Children in Care, to take the lead role in matters relating to children in care and, through the Executive Head Teacher, ensure that a lead designated member of staff is in place in accordance with Designated Teacher Regulations 2009.

The governing body, in partnership with the head teacher, should ensure that the designated staff will, through their training and development, have the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills, knowledge and training to understand and respond to the specific teaching and learning needs of the child in care.

Designated Staff in School

All teaching staff who are in contact with the child or young person are made aware that he/she is in the care of the Local Authority. The responsibility for the transfer of this information lies with the Executive Head Teacher via the Child Protection designated teachers. Other staff are made aware when the designated staff feel it is appropriate to do so.

Because of the size of the school and the number of students in each year group there are ten designated teachers involved in matters of child protection. They are :

  • Mr C Chesborough – Deputy Head Teacher and overview of Safeguarding
  • Mr G Varley – Assistant Head Teacher Student Welfare
  • Mr A Williams – Director of Progression and Community Education
  • Mr K Haswell – SENCO
  • Mr I Cooper – Head of Year 7
  • Mr L Smart – Head of Year 8
  • Mr D Gibson – Head of Year 9
  • Mr D Royal – Head of Year 10
  • Mrs H Astrop – Head of Year 11
  • Mrs K Brown – Deputy Head of Sixth Form

Responsibilities of the designated teaching staff

  • To ensure that the educational achievement of each child in care on roll is monitored, tracked and promoted
  • To ensure that Pupil Premium and finance staff are aware of the number of children in care on roll
  • To promote the assimilation of children in care into ‘normal’ school life as far as possible
  • To act as an advocate for children and young people in care
  • To liaise with carers and colleagues in CS and birth parents where appropriate
  • To ensure all relevant education and care information is kept up to date and used on a ‘need to know’ basis to help the student overcome obstacles to learning and progress
  • To intervene if there is evidence of individual underachievement and promote the use of the Pupil Premium funding to accelerate progress
  • To intervene if there is evidence of absence from school or internal truancy
  • Where relevant, to inform post 16 planning and transition
  • To ensure that the educational targets within the PEP are implemented fully, reviewed regularly and that all relevant school staff are aware of them
  • To report to the Governing Body on a termly basis
  • To cascade information to school staff as appropriate
  • To develop knowledge of procedures by attending training events organised by CS, the Virtual School or local Designated teachers cluster groups
  • To keep informed of any updated guidance from DfE or other research or policy

Deputy Head Teacher – Pastoral

The Deputy Head Teacher will ensure that termly feedback to the governing body takes place via the termly governors’ report, by providing the following information :

  • The number of looked-after pupils on the school’s roll (if any);
  • Their attendance, as a discreet group, compared to other pupils.
  • The number of fixed term and permanent exclusions (if any);
  • Whether any have special educational needs (SEN) and whether those needs are being met through statements;
  • Any relevant assessment information
  • The destinations of pupils in care who leave the school.

Responsibilities of all school staff

  • To ensure that any children in care are supported sensitively and that confidentiality is maintained
  • Be familiar with the school policy and respond appropriately to requests for information to support PEPs and review meetings;
  • Keep appropriate records, confidentially as necessary, and make these available to other professionals/parents/carers/pupil as appropriate.

4 Admission Arrangements

On admission, records will be requested from the pupil’s previous school and a meeting will be held with carer/parent/Social Worker as appropriate. This will provide information to inform the Personal Education Plan (PEP). An appropriate school induction will take place.

5 Involving the Young Person

The school will ensure that the young person is aware that information regarding their personal circumstances is being shared between professionals and their carer. How this is shared with them will clearly depend on their age and understanding.

The young person will be supported to complete the ‘pupil voice’ section of the PEP. This will inform the PEP and Care Plan review meetings. Staff will always take into account the child’s view of their coming into care/being in care, what they want others to know and if possible, endeavour to ensure that the child is comfortable with decisions being made.

6 Communication with other Agencies

A copy of reports (e.g. end of year reports) will be provided on request.

School staff will endeavour to co-ordinate review meetings with social work colleagues within Children’s Services (CS), e.g. to have an Annual or a Statement Review and a PEP meeting or review.

School staff will endeavour to exchange information between formal reviews if there are significant changes in the young person’s circumstances, e.g. if school is considering a change of course, there is a change of care placement or there are significant issues that will affect educational provision e.g. behaviour or attendance.

7 Assessment, Monitoring and Review Procedures

Each pupil in care will have a Care Plan, to include the PEP, which will be developed jointly by the Social Worker and designated teachers of the school. This will identify specific areas of focus and include targets and associated action to improve the student performance or educational achievement. Areas for consideration may include information about:

  • Attainment and progress data (academic or otherwise);
  • Development needs (short and long term development of skills, knowledge or subject areas and experiences);
  • Long term plans and aspirations (targets including progress, career plans and aspirations);
  • Extended learning opportunities;
  • Involvement in Out of School Hours Activities;
  • Special educational needs (if any);
  • Attendance; and Behaviour.

The PEP will be updated and reviewed termly, or at the point of any major change, and will contribute to the Statutory Reviewing process carried out by the Independent Reviewing Officer. The designated teachers are accountable for the implementation and review of the educational action to meet the targets within the Plan.

8 Related School Policy Documents:

  • Behaviour & Discipline Policy
  • Anti-bullying Policy
  • Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education Policy
  • Learning Support/SEN Policy

Relevant Statutory Guidance:

  • DfE (2014) Children and Families Act
  • DfE (2014) Promoting the education of looked-after children
  • DfE (2009) The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after children: Statutory guidance for school governing bodies