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Atkinson School policy: Education of children looked-after and previously looked-after children


The policy is informed by the following Department for Education (DfE) document:

The designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children – statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities.

The governing body of Atkinson School is committed to providing high-quality education for all its pupils, based on equality of opportunity, access and outcomes. The governing body recognises the need to champion performance, for children looked after (CLA) and previously looked after children (PLAC) and is committed to improving outcomes for them.

The governing body is committed to ensuring that CLA and PLAC are supported as fully as possible and will ensure that the following are in place, and are working effectively:

  1. A Designated Governor for CLA and PLAC
  2. A Designated Teacher for CLA and PLAC
  3. Personal Education Plans (PEPs) for all CLA
  4. The Designated Teacher, as a minimum, will have two days a year for training opportunities specific to factors that impact on the attainment of CLA and PLAC.
  5. All staff in school will have a clear understanding of the issues that affect CLA and PLAC; their learning needs; how to support them in school and issues relating to confidentiality.
  6. Policies, procedures and strategies to promote the achievement and wellbeing of this vulnerable group.

The role of the designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children

  • The designated teacher is the central point of initial contact within Atkinson School. They ensure that the school plays its role to the full in making sure arrangements are joined up and minimise any disruption to a child’s learning.
  • The designated teacher has a leadership role in promoting the educational achievement of every CLA and PLAC on the school’s roll. This involves, working with the Virtual School Head to promote the education of CLA and PLAC and promoting a whole school culture where the personalised learning needs of these children matter and their personal, emotional and academic needs are prioritised.
  • The designated teacher takes lead responsibility for ensuring school staff understand the things which can affect how CLA and PLAC learn and achieve and how the whole school supports the educational achievement of these pupils.
  • The designated teacher promotes the educational achievement of CLA and PLAC by contributing to the development and review of whole school policies.
  • The designated teacher promotes a culture in which CLA and PLAC:
    • are able to discuss their progress and be involved in setting their own targets, have their views taken seriously, and are supported to take responsibility for their own learning
    • are prioritised in any selection of pupils who would benefit from one-to-one tuition, and that they have access to academic focused study support
    • are encouraged to participate in school activities and in decision making within the school and the care system
    • believe they can succeed and aspire to further and higher education or highly skilled jobs; and can discuss difficult issues (such as SEN, bullying, attendance) in a frank manner with a sympathetic and empathetic adult
  • The designated teacher is a source of advice for teachers about: differentiated teaching strategies appropriate for individual pupils who are CLA or PLAC; and the use of Assessment for Learning (AfL) approaches to improve the short and medium term progress of CLA and PLAC, and help them and their teachers understand where they are in their learning (including any knowledge gaps), where they need to go, and how to get there.
  • The designated teacher works directly with CLA and PLAC and their carers, parents or guardians to: promote good home-school links; support progress by paying particular attention to effective communication; ensure they understand the potential value of one-to-one tuition and are equipped to engage with it at home; ensure they are aware of how the school teaches key skills such as reading and numeracy; and encourages high aspirations and working with the child to plan for their future success and fulfilment.
  • The designated teacher has lead responsibility for the development and implementation of PEPs for CLA within school in partnership with others as necessary;
  • The designated teacher is responsible for ensuring that the PEPs are completed within statutory timescales and a copy is returned to the Virtual School Head as outlined in the PEP guidance.
  • The designated teacher works closely with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead to ensure that any safeguarding concerns regarding CLA and PLAC are quickly and effectively responded to.
  • The designated teacher is aware that the Virtual School Head provides information and advice to parents and designated teachers on meeting the needs of PLAC. The designated teacher should fully involve parents and guardians in decisions affecting their child’s education, including any requests to the Virtual School Head for advice on meeting their individual needs.

Roles and responsibilities for all staff

All staff in this school will:

  1. Have high expectations of CLA and PLAC’s learning and set targets to accelerate educational progress.
  2. Be aware of the emotional, psychological and social effects of loss and separation (attachment awareness) from birth families and that some children may find it difficult to build relationships of trust with adults because of their experiences, and how this might affect the child’s behaviour.
  3. Understand how important it is to see CLA and PLAC as individuals rather than as a homogeneous group, not publicly treat them differently from their peers, and show sensitivity about who else knows about their looked-after or previously looked-after status.
  4. Appreciate the central importance of the PEP in helping to create a shared understanding between teachers, carers, social workers and, most importantly, the child’s own understanding of how they are being supported.
  5. Have the level of understanding they need of the role of social workers, Virtual School Heads and carers, and how the function of the PEP fits into the wider care planning duties of the authority which looks after the child.
  6. For PLAC, understand the importance of involving the child’s parents or guardians in decisions affecting their child’s education, and be a contact for parents or guardians who want advice or have concerns about their child’s progress at school.

Role and responsibility of the governing body

The governing body of this school will:

  1. Ensure all governors are fully aware of the legal requirements and guidance for CLA and PLAC.
  2. Ensure that there is a named designated teacher for CLA and PLAC.
  3. Through the designated teacher, hold the school to account on how it supports its CLA and PLAC (including how the Pupil Premium Plus is used) and their level of progress.
  4. Be aware of whether the school has CLA and PLAC and how many (no names).
  5. Liaise with the Head Teacher to ensure that the designated teacher is enabled to carry out her/his responsibilities in relation to CLA and PLAC.
  6. Ensure the designated teacher is able to access training needed to fulfil the role of designated teacher. Most Virtual School Heads agree that, as minimum, designated teachers should have two days a year for training opportunities specific to factors that impact on the attainment of CLA and PLAC.
  7. Support the Head Teacher, Designated Teacher and other staff in ensuring the needs of CLA and PLAC are met.
  8. Review the effective implementation of this policy, preferably annually and at least every three years.

This policy was established, and approved for implementation by the full governing body.

Signed by the Chair of Governors: Maria Wallis.
Date: 23 January 2024
The name of our appointed Designed Governor is Maria Wallis.
The name of our school’s Designated Teacher is Marc Herbert.
This policy is to be next reviewed in February 2025.


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Supported by Devon County Council