How carers can support the education of children in care

If a child or young person in your care needs extra support at school, you can contact The HOPE, Bristol’s Virtual School for Children in Care.

Get support or extra teaching

If you want to discuss any issues to do with a child’s education, speak to someone from The HOPE, the team who support Bristol’s children in care. They may even be able to arrange extra teaching for a child in care.

Contact the HOPE on 0117 377 3056 between 9am and 4.30pm in term-time and ask to speak to the person who deals with the relevant year group or key stage.

If you’re a foster carer you can get training from The HOPE to help children do better at school. Contact your social worker to find out more.

The HOPE also has guidelines on how residential homes can support education.

Find out more about The HOPE in our resources for professionals section.

Stay in touch with the child’s school

Schools get pupil premium funding to give children in care extra help. This is usually organised by the school’s designated teacher for children in care, and you can contact this teacher to discuss what support the child will get. It’s important to talk about how the young person’s pupil premium will be spent in Personal Education Plan meetings.

Let the school know about any issues that could affect the child’s behaviour.

Make sure you stay aware of how the child is progressing at school. Attend parents’/carers’ evenings, read school reports and talk to the child about how they’re doing at school.

If need be, ask the school for support in how to help the child. Try speaking to the designated teacher, the class teacher or the head of year.

Personal Education Plan

Every child in care has a Personal Education Plan , which is initiated by the child’s social worker and implemented by the designated teacher. Your input and support is essential and you should go to Personal Education Plan meetings.

Good attendance matters

When young people skip school it can have a big impact on how well they do, and put them at greater risk of harm. If a child in care misses 19 school days or more a year they will be classed as a persistent absentee.

If you think there could be problems with attendance, talk to the young person’s social worker.

Remember that holidays in term-time should only happen in exceptional circumstances.

Exclusions

Bristol schools should never permanently exclude a child in care and will work closely with our Behaviour Improvement Service (BIS) to find an alternative. Fixed term exclusions do occasionally occur. The school will work the BIS to try to avoid them or to minimise how long a child is excluded.

There is a standard process for dealing with exclusions in Bristol schools, which you can download from this page.

Get more detailed guidance

You can find more detailed guidance at The HOPE’s resources for professionals pages .

Downloadable files

Checklist for carers to improve educational outcomes

Process for reduced Fixed Term Exclusion of Children in Care