Admissions to Educational Establishments
AMENDMENTThis guidance was reviewed locally in December 2015 and updated as required.
The choice of school for a Child Looked After requires skilled working between relevant people. In Calderdale, the Virtual School lead on school preference, to ensure that the most appropriate school is chosen to meet the child's needs. School preference is determined through a discussion between the Virtual School lead professional, the child's social worker, their carers and, if appropriate, birth parents and subsequent visits to schools. The child's wishes and feelings are taken into account as part of the consultation. Children Looked After should be given the highest priority within school admission arrangements. VSHs, working with education settings, should implement pupil premium arrangements for looked after children.
Schools judged by Ofsted to be 'good' or 'outstanding' are prioritised by the Virtual School for Children Looked After in need of a new school. Unless there are exceptional evidence-based reasons, Children Looked After are not placed in a school judged by Ofsted to be 'inadequate'.
Changes of school should be minimised to avoid disruption to the child's education and should not take place in the middle of a school year or in years 10 and 11, unless this is unavoidable and approved by the Virtual School Head and the Service Manager – Locality Teams.
2. The Role of the Social Worker
The Nominated Officer must approve any change of placement affecting a child in Key Stage 4, except in an emergency/ where the placement is terminated because of an immediate risk of serious harm to the child or to protect others from serious injury.
Ensure that appropriate educational provision is considered and planned prior to the young person's admission into care.
Ensure that decisions about school preferences are made in close consultation with the young person, their parents and carers with the Virtual School taking the lead.
Recognise the importance of mainstream education for young people and give this issue due priority within the planning process.
Promptly liaise with the Virtual School re all new admissions/transfers in order that the Council's policy of placing all Children Looked After in education within 20 school days of the commencement of the care episode is adhered to.
Attend a Personal Education Plan Meeting convened by the Virtual School (See Personal Education Plans Procedure) with all relevant parties for the young person as part of the care planning process which clarifies all practical arrangements in relation to educational issues.
Liaise with the Virtual School at all stages of this process in order to ensure that social workers are given the support and advice necessary to achieve good educational outcomes for all Children Looked After.
3. The Role of the Admissions Officer
Ensure that Children Looked After are given top priority for admission to all mainstream Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools wherever places exist.
Ensure that Children Looked After are recommended for admission to Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools where places exist.Liaise with the Virtual School to make the service aware of all Children Looked After applying for admission/transfer.
4. The Role of the Virtual School
Lead on school preference and liaise with the Admissions Officer to ensure that the Behaviour and Attendance Panels and other forums are aware of their duties to CLA- in light of the most recent legislation (s52 Children Act 2004).
Offer consultation, advice and support to all parties in the admissions process to ensure that robust plans are made on the young person's behalf in respect of their education and that the admission process runs smoothly.
Facilitate planning meetings on request to co-ordinate plans and troubleshoot problems relating to admissions/transfers.
Offer direct support to young people in preparing for and commencing a new school placement through a referral to the Virtual School by the Social Worker (emergency support may be given on occasion in lieu of a PEP meeting at the Virtual School Co-ordinator's discretion).
5. The Role of Designated Teachers/Headteachers
Designated Teachers / Headteachers will be:
Will be aware of the Council's policy on the education of Children Looked After and prioritise the need for the young person's prompt and successful integration into school life.
Will ensure that a Personal Education Plan is agreed between parties, which covers the practical and educational arrangements necessary for the young person to thrive in their new learning environment.