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Previously looked after

Page last updated: 27/06/2018

Supporting previously looked after children in school - Essex

The information applies to children who leave care through Adoption, Special Guardianship Orders (SGO) or Child Arrangement Orders (CAO)

For children in care the aim is for them to achieve permanence in their lives. For some younger children in care this will be through adoption or other legal processes.

For children already of school age there is a protocol​ between the adoption service and the Virtual School. It is recognised that children to be placed for adoption may require a high level of support to assist them through the adoption process, hence transition to their new school needs to be managed and carefully planned for.  The Virtual School and the Adoption Service have together developed processes which enable a structured and supportive approach to this. 
Schools that have children who are previously looked after, and subject to adoption, special guardianship order or child arrangement order (known as 'previously looked after') are eligible to claim the pupil premium. In order to do this the head teacher should invite parents to self-declare that they have a previously looked after child. Once this has happened the head teacher should request sight of the legal paperwork, such as a court order or certificate. This needs to be indicated on the schools management information system before the January census in order for the school census to be accurate. The funding is sent directly to the school along with the FSM pupil premium. Please note, however, parents are not obliged to declare this information. Please see page 88 of the DfE document School Census 2017-18​ for further information. Schools can also contact the data collection helpline (0333 013 9856 or email​​

For those children attending Early Years settings the arrangements are different. Details of how to claim for the Early Years Pupil Premium for adopted children is on the dedicated Early Years website​.

The Children and Social Work Act received royal assent in 2017 and the commencement order relating to legislation for children previously looked after is now in place.  On Monday, 26th February, 2018 the DfE published statutory guidance documents for schools and local authorities​. This comes into effect September 2018.

In addition to new responsibilities for Designated Teachers and Virtual School Heads relating to children who have been adopted from care, who have Special Guardianship Orders and those under a Child Arrangement Order, the documents have been substantially changed to ensure that local authorities and school governing bodies have clear guidance on how to meet statutory duties. 

Children and young people previously looked after - EHCP
If you are a parent or carer for a previously looked after child and the young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) we recommend contact is made with Essex SEND IASS. This is an impartial, free and confidential service and operate at arm’s-length from the Local Authority. To read more about impartiality, please see the website further information page.

Helpline: 0333 013 8913 or complete the SENDIASS Parent/Carers Contact Form
(Please note: the helpline is manned term-time only, 9am-4pm)
Text: 07860 003010​