How schools can support young people in care

Schools have extra responsibilities to help young people in care do well.

Many young people in care do well in their education. But as a group, children in care don't achieve as well at school as their peers, so schools need to give them more support and pay extra attention to their needs. Schools can get extra funding and support to help them do this.

What the school needs to do

Schools need to pay special attention to children in care:

Each school needs a designated teacher who makes sure each child in care is:

  • getting the support they need
  • having their Personal Education Plans regularly reviewed,
  • has a point of contact for outside agencies

Each young person’s progress, attainment and attendance needs to be monitored, and this information sent to The HOPE

Subject leaders in core subjects need to focus on making sure each young person’s needs are being met (as long as the young person are has agreed that their care status can be disclosed)

A named governor for children in care should make sure the school is supporting children in care and monitoring their outcomes, and work with the designated teacher to produce an annual report which goes to The HOPE’s head teacher.

Personal Education Plan

Each child in care has their own Personal Education Plan, initiated by their social worker and put into practice by each school’s designated teacher for children in care.

The plan is discussed at meetings between the child’s social worker, designated teacher and carer. Depending on the situation, the young person may attend the meeting, but either way must be involved in their Personal Education Plan.

How The HOPE supports schools

The HOPE’s team monitor how well individual young people in care are doing at school, and advise the school as needed. They will intervene on behalf of children in care if necessary.

The HOPE also provides training for designated teachers and named governors, and work to support the interests of children in care across Bristol’s schools.  

Extra funding for schools

The government provides pupil premium funding to give extra support for children and young people in care. In the 2015 to 2016 school year this was £1,900 per pupil.  

The funding is distributed by The HOPE’s headteacher, and how the money is used needs to be discussed during each child’s Personal Education Plan meeting.

Attendance matters

Children in care as a group are more likely to have poor attendance at school, but it’s important to make every effort to improve their attendance in order to increase their chances of achieving well in their education.

A part-time timetable is sometimes used for a limited period of time, as part of a Pastoral Support Programme. The HOPE should be told if a child in care is receiving part-time education, so that the young person gets the support to get them back attending school full-time.

Avoiding exclusions

Excluding a pupil should be a very last resort. Schools should work with the young person’s carer and social worker to find ways to avoid an exclusion.

If it becomes absolutely necessary to exclude a pupil, the school should talk to The HOPE so there’s somewhere else for the young person to go from the first day of the exclusion.

Support from the Behaviour Improvement Service

The Behaviour Improvement Service gives guidance to schools to reduce exclusions, improve behaviour and attendance, and raise attainment.

Contact the team on inclusion.advice@bristol.gov.uk.

Get more detailed guidance

Schools can find more detailed guidance at The HOPE’s resources for schools.