How schools and education settings can support children in care

How schools and education settings can support children in care

Information for designated teachers, headteachers, governors, specialist coordinators and anyone working in a school with children who are in care.

What schools need to do

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.

All school staff who work with young people in care should read this guide for education settings on children in care (pdf, 112KB) (opens new window) . It has information about:

  • when a young person becomes a child in care
  • if a child at your school goes into care
  • if a child in care joins your school
  • if you have a child in care at your school

Designated teacher for children in care

Statutory guidance from the Department for Education says that all maintained schools and academies must have a designated teacher (DT) for children in care (CiC).

Designated teachers:

  • support the education of CiC
  • ensure that all CiC get coordinated support at school
  • regularly review Personal Education Plans
  • are the main contact for outside agencies
  • work with the named governor for CiC on an annual report for the governing body

List of designated teachers

We keep a list of DTs in each setting where a Bristol child in care or care leaver is educated.

We rely on education settings to let us know who your DT is.

If your DT leaves or changes, call The HOPE on 0117 903 6282. Tell us:

  • the name of your setting
  • your new DT’s name and email address

Training for designated teachers

Find out about training courses for DTs on our training page.

Cluster meetings for Designated Teachers

These will be online sessions via Microsoft Teams, 8.30am to 10am: 

  • Monday 15 November, North and East Central Primary and SEN DT meeting
  • Thursday 18 November, South Primary and SEN DT meeting
  • Monday 22 November, South Secondary and SEN DT meeting
  • Thursday 25 November, North and East Central Secondary and SEN DT meeting

These will be an opportunity to share updates around Children in Care, receive support to meet Pupil Premium compliance criteria, ask questions and meet other Designated Teachers. 

If you would like to attend one of these sessions, email 

Indicate clearly in your email which session you want to attend.

Named governor for children in care

All maintained schools and academies should have a named governor for children in care.

The named governor should liaise with the designated teacher (DT) on an annual report for the governing body. The named governor or DT must email this report to The HOPE on

A template of the report is in the Children in Care Annual Report.

Our audit template will help you check the content and quality of your annual report.

Post 16 annual report

We also have a Post 16 annual report template.

Schools who are already doing an annual report for pre 16 students can choose whether to include the post 16 students within this or to complete a separate post 16 annual report.

The named governor or DT must email this report to The HOPE on

Training for named governors for children in care

Training courses for named governors.

Children in care with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

If a child in care at your school has SEND you should talk to your SENDCo for advice and support.

You should also refer to Bristol City Council’s information for education professionals working with children with SEND.

There’s government guidance about SEND code of practice for children and young people in care up to the age of 25.

Pupils who display challenging behaviour because of trauma

Children and young people in care often have attachment issues. The document explains how they can affect a child at school and has strategies schools can use.

Also see this attachment disorder presentation.


Children and young people in care can be very vulnerable and may need extra support to keep them safe. Each child is individual and will have different strengths and difficulties. Education settings must follow Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020), statutory guidance issued by the Department for Education, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Schools also need to follow the requirements set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and the Teachers' Standards.

If you have a child in care at your school you must talk to your colleagues about:

The HOPE’s Designated Safeguarding Lead is Leanne Bishop. Contact her on:

More able and talented children and young people

It's important to consider children in care (CiC) when thinking about your more able and talented cohort. Every setting should consider having a named More Able and Talented Coordinator.

You should:

  • make sure you give the more able and talented CiC the opportunities that match their abilities
  • include CiC achieving national average results on the more able and talented register, if your setting keeps one
  • look out for children in care with particular talents and uneven cognitive profiles, such as high numerical ability with low literacy levels
  • liaise with the school’s designated teacher for CiC to include all more able and talented actions on the child’s PEP
  • ensure more able and talented CiC are able to attend events, making any necessary travel arrangements

See The National Association for Able Children in Education.

Ofsted and children in care

Ofsted inspections look at children in care as part of their focus on vulnerable groups. See their advice about children in care.

Sharing practice for schools

Examples of good practice around children in care and education: