Previously looked after children

Information from the Virtual School in relation to previously looked after children.

In this section you will find information on:

  • The role of the Virtual School
  • School admissions for previously looked after children
  • The role of the designated teacher and the pupil’s school
  • Pupil Premium Grant for previously looked after children

There is recognition that the effect of being in care and the reasons for it do not disappear once a child gains permanency. In 2018 the government extended the duties of all Virtual Schools and designated teachers (DTs) to include previously looked after children. The DfE guidance places a statutory responsibility on schools to monitor the outcomes and progress of children who have previously been in care but have gained permanency via adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement order.

The guidance defines a previously looked after child as: [a child or young person] who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because s/he is the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales.

The Suffolk Virtual School cannot help to identify these children as it may be that the child was in the care of a different local authority. Therefore, schools will want to be sensitive about how they raise the awareness of parents and carers in an effort to discover whether there are any children on the school roll who would be eligible if a parent/carer declared their status.  Schools should verify to their satisfaction that the parent/carer declaration is accurate perhaps by being shown the relevant legal order.

The role of the Suffolk Virtual School

The Suffolk Virtual School will offer advice and information to parents and schools regarding the education of children living in Suffolk who were previously in care. The Virtual School Head is no longer acting as part of the pupil’s corporate parent, and therefore the Virtual School is not entitled to monitor these pupils and our duties do not extend to taking on case work or actions.  However, we aim to empower all our parents and schools with the advice, information and expertise that we have gathered whilst supporting our children in care to ensure that all the children in our remit can fulfil their potential in school. 

School Admissions

Previously looked after children are given the same priority in school admissions as children in care. 

The role of the designated teacher and the pupil’s school

Schools should monitor the attainment of previously looked after pupils as part of their tracking of vulnerable groups. Appropriate support and interventions should be put in place to meet each pupil’s needs, using Pupil Premium funding where necessary. DTs may seek the advice of the Virtual School about meeting the needs of individual children with the agreement of the child’s parents or guardians. General advice can be given with anonymity. Schools are not required to complete PEPs and there is no equivalent review cycle to the six monthly CiC Review.

Pupil Premium Grant for previously looked after children

Schools receive pupil premium funding for each previously looked after child on roll. The purpose of the funding is to break down any barriers to learning that may exist owing to the child’s past experiences. To be eligible for this funding a pupil must be recorded in the January school census and alternative provision census and have been looked after by an English or Welsh local authority immediately before being adopted, or moving from local authority care onto a special guardianship order or child arrangements order (previously known as a residence order).  These pupils are collectively referred to as post-LAC in the conditions of grant. View the Pupil Premium Conditions of Grant 2024 to 2025.

The rate for 2024 to 2025 is £2,570 per each post-LAC pupil in year groups reception to year 11. Please note that these funds come directly to the school and are not administered by the Virtual School.