Children Looked After and Previously Looked After Policy 2023/2024
Children Looked After and Previously Looked After Policy
- Date created - September 2022
- Date reviewed - September 2023
- Date approved - September 2023
- Next review date - September 2024
- Policy owner - Emma Wingfield
- Safeguarding statement
- Responsibility of the Headteacher
- Responsibility of the Governing Body
- The role of the Designated Teacher
- The responsibility of all staff
- Record keeping and information sharing
- Staff development and training
- Home-school liaison
- Admissions arrangements
- Links with other agencies
Designated Teacher - Jessica Field
Designated Safeguarding Lead - Emma Wingfield
Governor with responsibility for Children Looked After - Sarah Keane
Co-op Academy Leeds is committed to safeguarding every student. We acknowledge that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and ensure all of our staff are trained to be vigilant and aware of the signs and indicators of abuse and understand and follow safe working practices.
The viewpoints and voice of children is of paramount importance to our academy and we will always listen to their wishes, thoughts and feelings, as well as identifying and supporting their needs. We will have due regard to the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Duty in order to ensure that the needs of our pupils are met. We will work alongside students to develop trusting, consistent and professional relationships and show we care by advocating the early help process where possible. We will identify any difficulties or concerns early in order to act preventatively. We will always provide support and advice for families and parents/carers, whilst acting in the best interests of the child at all times and doing what matters most. Safeguarding also includes ensuring we work in an open and honest way, enabling our children to feel safe by providing a secure learning environment, where they are equally protected regardless of any barriers they may face and are able to grow and develop in the same way as their peers.
Co-op Academy Leeds safeguards children by:
Recognising that some children have an increased risk of abuse, and additional barriers can exist for some children with respect to recognising or disclosing it. We are committed to anti-discriminatory practice and recognise children’s diverse circumstances. We ensure that all children have the same protection, regardless of any barriers they may face
- Maintaining a secure site and ensuring that all visitors to the academy are recorded, monitored and clear about how to raise a safeguarding concern should one arise.
- Ensuring that safer recruitment practices are followed to prevent those who pose a risk to children gaining access to them.
- Ensuring that all staff employed by the academy have received all necessary pre-employment checks, which are recorded in the single central record (SCR).
- Filtering and monitoring all internet traffic into the academy to ensure that children cannot be exposed to harmful material and communication.
- Providing regular training and briefings for all staff, and volunteers, in child protection and ensuring that all staff, volunteers and visitors know who our designated safeguarding officers and designated senior lead are.
- Ensuring that admission and attendance procedures are robust to protect children, ensure that they are safe and prevent children from going missing from education.
- Empowering young people to identify risks both within the academy and in their community; ensuring that they have the skills and confidence to help and protect themselves and others.
- Making sure that all children understand the importance of reporting concerns about themselves and their peers and giving them the confidence to discuss sensitive issues.
- Providing pastoral and inclusion support to ensure that all children have access to guidance and advice, and when needed referrals for additional agency support to meet their needs.
- Sharing information when appropriate with other agencies and services to ensure that children and their families have support to meet their needs and prevent students from harm or further harm
- Taking immediate action and contacting the appropriate agencies when we believe that a child is in danger or is at risk of harm.
- Endeavour wherever possible to obtain at least two emergency contacts for every child in the school in case of an emergency, and in case there are welfare concerns at the home.
- This policy is implemented in accordance with our compliance with the statutory guidance from the Department for Education, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ 2023 (KCSIE) which requires individual schools and colleges to have an effective child protection policy and the Department for Education, ‘Safeguarding and protection people for charities and trustees’ Oct 19.
- The procedures contained in this policy apply to all staff, (including Trustees, temporary or third-party staff and volunteers) and are consistent with those outlined within KCSIE 2023
Under the Children Act 1989, a child is looked after by a local authority if he or she is in their care or provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by the authority. ‘Children Looked After’ is a term that refers to children for whom the Local Authority is sharing parental responsibility. This can happen either with parental agreement or when a Court makes a Care Order. The child may be living with foster carers, in a residential unit, with family members or sometimes with their parents. These children are therefore subject to corporate parenting.
They fall into four main groups:
- children who are accommodated under a voluntary agreement with their parents (section 20)
- children who are the subjects of a care order (section 31) or interim care order (section 38)
- children who are the subjects of emergency orders for their protection (sections 44 and 46)
- children who are compulsorily accommodated – this includes children remanded to the local authority or subject to a criminal justice supervision order with a residence requirement (section 21).
Child Looked After reviews, involving the school, will take place up until an adoption order has been granted. However, Pupil Premium Plus funding will continue for Children Looked After until they are 16 years old.
This policy includes requirements set out in Promoting the education of looked-after children and previously looked after children and associated guidance on the education of Looked After Children.
Responsibility of the Headteacher
- Nominate a designated teacher for CLA, that must be a qualified teacher or a member of staff who is likely to gain QTS by September 2014, whose role is set out below. It is a priority that another appropriate person is identified quickly should the designated teacher leave the academy or in their absence.
- Ensure appropriate training is available for the designated teacher and that staff in the academy receive relevant training and are aware of their responsibilities under this policy and related guidance.
- Ensure that procedures are in place to monitor the admission, progress, attendance and any exclusion of CLA and take action where progress, conduct or attendance is below expectations.
- Ensure all CLA have a Personal Education Plan (PEP) drawn up between the school, the child, and the child’s social worker, which will identify the child’s individual needs and the support they require.
Responsibility of the Governing Body
- The academy's governor will ensure that the needs of LAC in the academy are taken into account at an academy management level and to support the designated teacher.
- Ensure that the school has a Designated Teacher, and that the Designated Teacher is enabled to carry out his or her responsibilities as below.
- Support the designated teacher in carrying out their role by making time available and ensuring that they attend training on LAC.
- Ensure that all Governors are fully aware of the legal requirements and guidance on the education of Looked After Children.
- Ensure that the school has an overview of the needs and progress of Looked After Children.
- Allocate resources to meet the needs of Looked After Children.
- Ensure the academy’s other policies and procedures support their needs.
- Support the Head teacher, the Designated Teacher and other staff in ensuring that the needs of Looked After Children are recognised and met.
The Governing Body will receive a termly report setting out:
- The number of looked-after pupils on the school’s roll (if any).
- Their attendance, as a discrete group, compared to other pupils.
- Their Teacher Assessment, as a discrete group, compared to other pupils.
- The number of fixed term and permanent exclusions (if any).
- The destinations of pupils who leave the school.
- The information for this report should be collected and reported in ways that preserve anonymity and respect the confidentiality of the pupils concerned.
The role of the Designated Teacher
Co-op Academy Leeds have appointed a Designated Teacher, Jess Field. The role became statutory in September 2009 under the Children and Young Persons’ Act 2008 (the 2008 Act) and the designated teacher for Children Looked After will act as their advocate and co-ordinate support for them.
The Designated Teacher will:
- Ensure that a Personal Education Plan is completed with the child, the social worker, the foster carer and any other relevant people, at least two weeks before the Care Plan reviews.
- Maintain an up-to-date record of the CLA in school, including those in the care of other authorities and ensuring all necessary information is passed to other staff as required.
- Ensure that each CLA has an identified member of staff that they can talk to. This need not be the Designated Teacher, but should be based on the child’s own wishes.
- Track academic progress and target support appropriately.
- Liaise with teaching and non-teaching staff in school, including the Designated Safeguarding Lead as well as pastoral and subject staff, to ensure they are aware of the difficulties and educational disadvantage Children Looked After may face.
- Establish and maintain regular contact with home, statutory and voluntary agencies.
- Ensure confidentiality for individual pupils, sharing personal information on a need to know basis.
- Promote inclusion in all areas of school life and encourage CLA to join in extracurricular activities and out of school learning.
- Act as an advisor to staff and Governors, raising their awareness of the needs of CLA.
- Set up meetings with relevant parties where the pupil is experiencing difficulties in school or is at risk of exclusion.
- Ensure the rapid transfer of information between individuals, agencies and if the pupil changes school – to a new school.
- Be proactive in supporting transition and planning when moving to a new phase in education.
- Ensure that attendance is monitored.
- Attend training as required to keep fully informed of latest developments and policies regarding Children Looked After
- Have high expectations for the child and ensure equal access to a balanced and broadly based education, achieving stability and continuity.
- Promote inclusion by challenging and changing attitudes through the Co-op values alongside the Co-op ways of being.
- Ensure a welcome and smooth induction for the child and their carer, using the Personal Education Plan to plan for that transition in consultation with the child’s social worker. This may include providing basic equipment and resources if necessary and providing appropriate support in meeting uniform requirements if needed.
The responsibility of all staff
- Have high aspirations for the educational and personal achievement of CLA, as for all pupils.
- Maintain the confidentiality of CLA and ensure they are supported sensitively.
- Respond promptly to the Designated Teacher’s requests for information.
- Work to enable CLA to achieve stability and success within school.
- Promote the self-esteem of all CLA.
- Understand the key issues that affect the learning of CLA.
Information on CLA will be shared with academy staff on a ‘need to know’ basis.
The Designated Teacher will discuss what information is shared with which school staff at the PEP meeting. Once this has been agreed with the social worker, carer, young person, and other parties, complete confidentiality is to be maintained.
Record keeping and information sharing
The Designated Teacher will keep an up-to-date record of CLA and CPLA, and will ensure that relevant information is made known to appropriate staff.
A Personal Education Plan will be initiated within 20 school days of the CLA starting at the school, or being taken into care, and will be reviewed regularly and as necessary and appropriate to meet the needs of the CLA. The PEP will provide a regular opportunity to review progress, note any concerns and ensure that all relevant parties are informed accordingly.
Copies of reports and appropriate documentation will be sent to authorised carers and agencies involved with the child as well as any receiving school at point of transition.
It is vital that the CLA is aware of information being recorded, in what circumstances and who will have access to it. How this is shared with them will depend on their age and level of understanding.
Co-op Academy Leeds recognises that CLA are particularly vulnerable to suspensions.
Where a CLA is at risk of suspension, the academy will try every practicable means to maintain the child in school. A multi-professional meeting will be arranged, bringing together all those involved with the young person to discuss strategies to minimise the risk of suspension.
The child or young person’s Personal Education Plan will reflect strategies to support the child and, where relevant, those employed in the Pastoral Support Plan. All relevant measures and resources will be considered to provide support and provide alternative educational packages to prevent an exclusion from happening.
Please refer to Co-op Academy Leeds Positive Behaviour Policy and Co-op Academies Trust Exclusions Policy for further information.
Staff development and training
Arrangements will be made to ensure that the Designated Teacher is kept up to date with developments relating to the education and attainment of CLA.
Other staff will receive relevant training and support to enable them to work sympathetically and productively with CLA, including those who are underachieving or at risk of underachieving or who have additional needs. These may include EAL, being Gifted and Talented or having learning or physical needs.
Teachers with responsibility for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision, and for children who are Gifted and Talented, will be informed of those CLA who have particular gifts, talents or learning needs and will work with them appropriately.
The Governing body will ensure that the academy allocates resources, including professional time and expertise, to support appropriate provision for CLA, meeting the objectives set out in this policy.
The academy recognises the value of a close working relationship between home and academy and will work towards developing a strong partnership with parents/carers and care workers to enable CLA to achieve their potential. Personal Education Plan meetings and CLA review meetings provide opportunities to continue to develop this partnership working.
We recognise that, due to care arrangements, CLA may enter school mid term and that it is important that they are given a positive welcome and, where appropriate, additional support and pre-entry visits to help them transition into the academy.
The academy recognises that CLA are an ‘excepted group’ and will prioritise CLA in the school’s oversubscription criteria following the DfE Admissions Code (Admissions of Children Looked After (England) Regulations 2006).
Links with other agencies
The academy recognises the value of working together with other agencies and organisations, and will work closely with colleagues from services involved with the CLA, including Social Care teams; Educational Psychologist; Health Services, CAMHS; Youth Justice Service.