These are the most important facts everybody involved with the education of children in care needs to know:
1. Every school and academy must have a designated teacher for children in care.
2. Every child in care from Reception to Year 11 must have a Personal Education Plan (PEP) agreed at a meeting which must be initiated by the social worker within 20 days of a child coming into care.
3. PEP meetings should be attended by the child, the designated teacher for children in care, the social worker, the foster carer and – where appropriate - the child’s parent. Other people who might attend include the foster carer’s social worker, a Connexions PA, the school’s SENCO, or a CAMHS psychologist.
4. The electronic PEP (ePEP) is to be used for all PEP meetings. The Virtual School will provide training for schools and social workers on how to use this.
5. It is the responsibility of the social worker to initiate the PEP and to keep the school informed about changes in care arrangements. It is the responsibility of the designated teacher to chair the PEP meetings, complete the ePEP form and return it securely to the Virtual School.
6. The PEP must be reviewed every long term (i.e. autumn, spring, summer). Two of these reviews will be through meetings no less than six months apart. The Virtual School will carry out a desktop review in the long term where there is no PEP meeting. We strongly recommend that PEPs are reviewed more frequently in complex cases.
7. Schools receive a Pupil Premium Plus allocation for each child from Reception to Year 11. It is up to school to decide though the PEP meeting how this is spent but schools are accountable for ensuring that it is used to raise standards of achievement of children in care.
8. The Virtual School can also provide some extra support that can be requested via a PEP meeting to support children in care.
9. Children in care aged 3 to 5 who are in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) settings also should have an EYFS Personal Education Plan. The Virtual School can advise on this.
10. It is good practice for young people aged 16-18 who are in care or who are care leavers in full time education to have a post 16 PEP. The Virtual School can advise on this. These young people are entitled to a bursary of £1200 per annum to cover costs of participating in education such as transport, books and equipment.