Change of School Placement
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTERThis procedure must be followed for all children who are Looked After, who may require a move to a new school placement.
Calderdale Council as a Corporate Parent is committed to ensuring that all Children Looked After have access to the education to which they are entitled and that they are encouraged and supported to achieve their learning potential. In exercising this role, the council is committed to do "all that a good parent would" to enhance the life chances of Children Looked After.
Education is an integral part of the care planning arrangements for a child, and the local authority must consider the educational implications of any decision taken about the child's care placement. The dynamic relationship between home and school life makes providing and maintaining stability in school a crucial element of Calderdale's strategy for Children Looked After.
In order to ensure stability, on becoming Looked After, children are supported to remain in their current school unless:
- It is physically too far to travel dependent on age and distance;
- There are safeguarding concerns which would necessitate an immediate move.
Transport will be provided by Calderdale Council, if required, to support continuation of the school placement, due to a placement move.
It is established practice in Calderdale, that only when a long term placement is matched at foster panel, that consideration will be given to the feasibility of changing schools if appropriate.
If a social worker identifies a need for a change of school placement, in the first instance, they need to liaise with the Virtual School Team Manager. If a change of school is deemed appropriate by all parties, including the Independent Reviewing Officer, then Virtual School staff will take the lead on advising on the most appropriate school (including Children Looked After in pre-adoptive placements).
The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2012 and Statutory Guidance reinforces that authorities must avoid any disruption to the education of Children Looked After in Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11), without approval from a nominated senior officer. In Calderdale this approval needs to be sought by the social worker emailing both the Service Manager - Locality Teams and the Virtual School Head. The Service Manager - Locality Teams will liaise with the Virtual School Head to make a decision.