At Capstone we take the educational achievement of our young people seriously. We know that a happy and stable school experience can impact on the stability of care placements and we also know that educational achievement leads to wider opportunities in adult life and that poor educational outcomes limit future life choices.
For Looked After Children (LAC), the average educational outcomes are much lower than their non LAC peers. At the end of Key Stage 2, when children leave primary school, the achievement gap between LAC and the general school population is 31%. The gap continues to grow as they move through the education system and only 12% of 16 year olds achieve the expected grades (5 x A*-C including English and Maths) compared to 52% of all children. As well as poorer academic outcomes, LAC are twice as likely to be permanently excluded and 5 times more likely to have a fixed term exclusion. With the introduction of the Personal Educational Allowance followed by the Pupil Premium Plus, successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to raising the educational outcomes for LAC.
The aim of this handbook is to help you, as carers, to feel confident in the field of education, allowing you to advocate, support and be fully involved in your young person’s progress through their educational journey.
02: EYFS Guidance For Parents & Carers – Choosing A Placement
What is EYFS?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is from birth to five years, as described by the Government and Early Years Professionals and is an important stage which helps your child prepare for school and future life learning. From birth up until the age of five their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure, and should support their development, care and learning needs. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
Nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The framework was developed with a number of Early Years experts and parents, and exists to support all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child.
- The legal welfare requires that all child care providers must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare
- The seven areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge
- Assessments that will tell you about your child’s progress through the EYFS
- Expected levels that your child should reach at age five, usually the end of the reception year. These expectations are called the ‘Early Learning Goals (ELGs)’
The EYFS Framework
The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will learn to support their development. Your child will learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through seven areas of learning and development. There is an excellent brochure available to download here.This gives a clear overview of each stage and ideas to encourage your child to enjoy learning.
The Seven Areas of Learning and Development
The seven areas, which run through all the ages from birth to 50 months, see your child through reception and into KS1. The seven areas are as follows:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
These seven areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. A good childcare provider will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. Like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, this framework is suitable for very young children and is designed to be flexible for your child’s changing needs and interests.
Your choice of nursery placement is often made because a day nursery offers an extended day and is available all year round. As with a child minder ‘gut instinct’ plays an important role when deciding which nursery to opt for. Before narrowing the field down here are some things to consider:
- Do they provide nappies?
- Are they flexible about sessions?
- Are they registered for Nursery Education Grant Funding?
- Do they have an outdoor area which the children access daily?
One of the best indicators of quality within a day nursery is the management and leadership.
- Do you feel comfortable with the manager; is she/he approachable?
- Are there systems in place for staff to have continuing professional development?
- Are policies and procedures accessible and understandable?
- Is there a recognisable ethos and philosophy about the nursery?
- Is the setting well maintained?
IMPORTANT: Do not be influenced by establishments which initially appear to do everything and seem very impressive on the surface – sometimes the setting which appears basic is the one offering the highest quality care and education.
When you have established a list of your preferences, start to look for a day nursery using your local Children’s Information Service website, which will provide you with a list of nurseries in your preferred location. When you have established a list which meets your criteria, make some appointments to visit. On these visits it is useful to have a list of things to look for and questions to ask.
Above all of these considerations, you will need to be sure that the nursery complies with statutory regulations, especially with regard to safe-guarding and health and hygiene practices. Always ask to see the latest Ofsted report or access these for yourself from the Ofsted web site before you make an appointment to visit. (www.ofsted.gov.uk). In addition, you should be aware of the government’s statutory requirements for any nursery or childminder when looking after the welfare and development of your child. These are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage document.
When your child is two
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
This check will highlight areas where your child is progressing well and anywhere they might need extra help or support. Please remember that not all children are the same and some will excel in one or more areas but fall short in others. The Foundation for Early Years website provides both brief guides and the complete EYFS Guideline. Please follow these links
When your child is five
At the end of the EYFS – in the summer term of the reception year in school – teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is carried out by the reception teacher and is based on what they, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period of time.
Another important part of the EYFS Profile is your knowledge about your child’s learning and development, so do let your child’s class teacher know about what your child does with you: such as how confident your child is in writing their name, reading and talking about a favourite book, speaking to unfamiliar people or their understanding of numbers.
All of the information collected is used to judge how your child is doing in the 7 areas of learning and development. Finding out at this stage how your child is doing will mean that the teacher your child has in their next school year, year 1, will know what your child really enjoys doing and does well, as well as helping them decide if your child needs a bit of extra support. The school will give you a report of your child’s progress, including information from their EYFS Profile.
How can I find out how my child is getting on?
It is important that you and the professionals caring for your child work together. You need to feel comfortable about exchanging information and discussing things that will benefit your child. These conversations will either need to be with your childminder or, in a larger setting like a nursery, with your child’s “key person”. This is the person who:
- Is your main point of contact within the setting
- Helps your child to become settled, happy and safe
- Is responsible for your child’s care, development and learning
- Takes a careful note of your child’s progress, sharing this with you and giving ideas as to how to help your child at home
You should be able to get information about your child’s development at any time and there are two stages (at age 2, and again at age 5) when the professionals caring for your child must give you written information about how he or she is doing.
How can I help with my child’s learning?
All the fun activities that you do with your child at home are important in supporting their learning and development, and have a really long lasting effect on your child’s learning as they progress through school.
Even when your child is very young and is not yet able to talk, talking to them helps them to learn and understand new words and ideas. If you make the time every day to do some of the following things with your child it will make a real difference to your child’s confidence as a young learner.
Taken from: The Foundation Years Parents Guide
03: Childcare And Education Funding
All three to four-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year. Some two-year-olds are also eligible. You may be able to get help from the government to pay for childcare like childminders and nurseries. You must use ‘approved childcare’ to qualify for help.
The free early education and childcare can be at:
- all types of nurseries and nursery classes
- playgroups and pre-school
- Sure Start Children’s Centres
You can’t continue to claim free childcare once your child starts reception class in a state school.
Three to Four-year-olds
You can start claiming free childcare after your child turns 3. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.
|Child’s birthday||When you can claim|
|1 January to 31 March||the beginning of term on or after 1 April|
|1 April to 31 August||the beginning of term on or after 1 September|
|1 September to 31 December||the beginning of term on or after 1 January|
Example Your child was born on 15 February 2012. They can get free early education and childcare from the start of term following 1 April 2015.
Contact your local council to check if your child is eligible.
Two-year-olds in England can receive free early education and childcare if:
- they’re looked after by a local council
- they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
- they get Disability Living Allowance
- they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
If your child is eligible, you can start claiming after they turn two. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.
|Child’s birthday||When you can claim|
|1 January to 31 March||the beginning of term on or after 1 April|
|1 April to 31 August||the beginning of term on or after 1 September|
|1 September to 31 December||the beginning of term on or after 1 January|
Contact your local council to check if your child is eligible.
Inspections of early education providers
Early education providers are regulated and inspected by Ofsted. You can find out more about their inspections and read their inspection reports at:
This web site allows you to search providers by name or location and then read the report that Ofsted has made and also when it was inspected – the more recent the more relevant.
Overview of Funding
You may be able to get help from the government to pay for childcare like childminders and nurseries. You must use ‘approved childcare’ to qualify for help.
To find an approved childcare provider search:
- Ofsted approved childcare providers if you’re in England
- Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) if you’re in Wales
- Scottish Care Inspectorate if you’re in Scotland
- local early years team register if you’re in Northern Ireland
Approved childcare can also include:
- care provided by an independent school registered with the Department for Education
- home careworkers working to a registered home care agency
You could get extra tax credits to help pay for some of your childcare costs while you’re working.
You can get up to £122.50 extra per week for 1 child, or £210 extra for 2 or more children – depending on how much you earn.
It won’t cover all of your childcare costs – use the tax credits childcare calculator to work out what childcare costs you can claim.
You could get help with your childcare costs with Universal Credit instead of tax credits. You can’t get Universal Credit and tax credits at the same time.
You can’t claim for caring for your own foster child.
There are special rules for foster carers in Wales and Northern Ireland – this link (https://www.gov.uk/tax-credits-calculator) will give you more information to see if you qualify.
04: Choosing A School
There are many different factors to consider when trying to select the right school for a young person. Some things you may need to think about are:
- Good pastoral care
- Extra help for special needs
- Class sizes / Teaching Assistant (TA) support
- Friends going to the same school
- Length of journey
- Academic results and OFSTED reports
- Facilities for subjects like art, music and sport
- Range of after school activities
- How the school involves and informs parents/carers
As carers you need to consider the needs of your young person. If they have educational and behavioural needs consider a school with a good pastoral care department as well as looking at academic attainment.
Local authorities (LAs) publish a guide to all the schools in their area each September. You can obtain a copy from their website or one of the local offices. The guide will tell you details of all the schools in your area, giving details such as whether the school is selective or what type of school it is (community, academy, foundation etc).
You can also find out more about schools in the UK from the government’s http://schoolsfinder.direct.gov.uk/ website. It contains school profiles which give key information and links to recent OFSTED reports.
Most schools now have their own websites which will give you a range of information on the school. Typically they will provide details in areas like: policies, the curriculum, holiday dates, school ethos, uniforms and other information specific to the school.
Admission to school
Local authorities have different procedures for admitting pupils. This information will be available on their website along with contact details for the local school admissions team. Alternatively you should be able to obtain a copy from a local office.
Either you or the young person’s Social Worker should make contact with the LACES team and ask for advice as they will be able to support you through the process. Government guidance states that LAC should access a school place within 20 school days of any placement (from ‘Promoting the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children – Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities’ DCSF 2010).
The admission authority is the official body which decides the rules on how children will get a place at the school and who is offered a place. For community and voluntary controlled schools, the LA is the admission authority. In the case of academies, voluntary aided and foundation / trust schools, the governors are the admission authority. It is worth noting that the headteacher is not part of the admission authority and should play no part in deciding admissions to the school.
All schools must have published rules to decide which children get places. These rules are called ‘oversubscription criteria’. When schools have more applications than available places, these criteria come into effect. For schools which have the LA as the admission authority, offering a place to LAC will be the first priority. For other schools it will vary. For example, faith schools are permitted to give priority to members of a particular church or faith.
In the unlikely event that your application is unsuccessful, you are allowed to appeal. The admission authority will inform you of the process. The admissions appeal panel will hear evidence from the school and the carers or Social Worker.
05: The National Curriculum
The National Curriculum was introduced in England and Wales in 1988. It ensures that all schools under Local Authority control follow the same curriculum. Independent schools may set their own whilst Academy schools have some freedom in deviating from it.
The National Curriculum sets out:
- The subjects taught
- Attainment targets, detailing the knowledge, skills and understanding required in each subject
- Level descriptions in each subject that can be used to ascertain a pupil’s progress
Subjects taught will vary according to a child’s age but the core subjects (Maths, English and Science) are taught throughout a pupil’s time in school.
National Curriculum levels indicate a child’s performance in relation to what would be the typical attainment for their age. The expected range of attainment is:
- at the end of Key Stage 1 from Levels 1 -3 with most reaching level 2
- at the end of Key Stage 2 from Levels 2 -5 with most reaching level 4
- at the end of Key Stage 3 from 3 -7 which most reaching level 5.
Changes were made to the primary school curriculum in September 2014 and for Key Stage 4 in September 2015. Additionally the National Curriculum levels have been dismantled and schools are now able to measure attainment and progress using any system they prefer – though many schools are currently using the old levels. There is guidance for these new descriptors but schools may have adjusted these to suit, i.e. if the school is a high achieving school the work needed to achieve “on target” may be higher than another school with an average intake.
Pupils currently undergo national tests and teacher assessments at ages 7 and 11. The end of KS3 tests at age 14 are no longer administered. The school then sends a report to parents/carers telling them the progress their child has reached in both tests and assessments. The school may discuss your child’s level of progress and, crucially, whether they’re on target.
These are the different periods in each pupil’s education:
- Early Years Foundation Stage from birth to age 5
- Key Stage 1 is from the start of school to age 7 (Reception, Year 1, Year 2),
- Key Stage 2 is from age 7 to age 11 (Year 3, Year 4, Year 5, Year 6),
- Key Stage 3 is from age 11 to age 14 (Year 7, Year 8, Year 9) and
- Key Stage 4 is from age 14 to age 16 (Years 10 and 11)
- Key Stage 5 is from age 16 to 18 (post 16)
06: The Role Of The Designated Teacher
The identification of a Designated Teacher for Looked After Children (often known as ‘the Designated LACT’ or ‘Des LACT’) is a statutory requirement for every school or educational setting. The Designated LACT will be responsible for promoting educational achievement and co-ordinating additional support for the LAC in their school.
It is a role with several key responsibilities:
- to provide strategic leadership across the school ensuring that all staff understand and respond positively and with sensitivity to the individual needs of Looked After Children.
- to ensure that children have opportunities to contribute to their PEP, and are responsible for supporting key partners to ensure the PEP is kept up to date, in order to inform the Looked After Child Review.
- The Designated Teacher will keep current information and records on every LAC in the school in a form that is easily understood.
The Department for Education guidance ‘The Role and Responsibilities of the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children –Statutory Guidance for School Governing Bodies’ (2009) states that the Designated Teacher should either be:
- a qualified teacher;
- a Headteacher or acting Headteacher;
- or a person who has been carrying out the role of promoting the educational achievements for Looked After Children for at least 6 months prior to the regulations coming into force. Such a person must take steps to become a qualified teacher by 1 September 2012, if not already qualified.
07: Virtual Schools And Looked After Children Education Service (LACES)
Virtual Schools and LACES have been set up as a result of the National Strategy:
“The National Strategy aims to improve outcomes for Children in Care and includes key recommendations to help LAC and these are:”
Every Local Authority should have a Virtual School Headteacher (VSH) to champion the education of Children in Care and promote their educational achievement, (including those placed out of authority), as if they were in a single school. The VSH has the same responsibility for the pupils in their care as the Headteacher of any other school.
Local Authorities retain statutory obligations to promote the educational achievement of Children in Care, regardless of where they are placed and educated, as laid out in the Children Act 1989 and it is essential that they continue to focus on these priority areas using their targets.
What does the Virtual School for Looked After Children do?
Under the direction of its Headteacher the Virtual School exists to ensure the highest level of support and challenge to all those involved in the education of Looked After Children (LAC). Its goal is to ensure a joined up and integrated approach to improving outcomes for LAC. It does not replace the school or educational provision for LAC.
The focus for the Virtual School is:
- improving school attendance;
- raising attainment and accelerating learning;
- promoting participation in activities in and out of school, and;
- encouraging young people post 16+ to continue in employment, education and training.
Additionally, the Virtual School co-ordinates data and information about each LAC to support the LA’s LAC Strategy.
VSH are experienced teachers in charge of overseeing the educational progress of all children in the care of the local authority that appoints them.
A single school may have had only a small number of LAC, or even no prior experience of working with children in care, and will therefore be unfamiliar with the issues. The VSH will have the specialist knowledge to support those head teachers in meeting any extra needs of LAC attending their school.
VSHs also work with the children’s services department of the Local Authority and with all schools in the area on initiatives to promote the education of children in care.
How do I find the Virtual School Head for my child?
You need to know the Education Authority responsible for your child which may not be the LA they are living in. Most LA web sites will have the information you need. The Essex LA web site contains a list of all VSHs and this can be found at:
NB: This list was correct in May 2014 but care should be taken as it may not be updated: it should be seen as a useful starting point.
Looked After Children’s Educational Support Team (LACES)
LACES teams have a statutory duty under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 to promote the education of Looked After Children. They provide help, advice, training, educational support and information to LAC, schools and carers. They support schools specifically around statutory guidance for school governors regarding the role of the designated teacher. The manager of the service is the VSH and your child’s social worker should be able to help you to contact the relevant team.
Who are they?
LACES stands for the Looked After Children Education Service – though they sometimes have different names depending on the Local Authority. They are a dedicated group of staff available to support LAC in their education.
What do they do?
The LACES team’s task is to help every Looked After Child make the most of their talents and enable them to maximise their learning opportunities and progress. The LACES team:
- Provides or commissions advice and training for social workers, designated teachers etc.
- Works in partnership with schools to ensure the best educational outcomes for LAC.
- Provides foster carers and children’s homes with advice about the education of LAC.
- Offers advice on the completion of PEPs, sometimes they may attend PEP meetings.
- Helps set up inter-agency meetings and initiatives.
- Where appropriate attends planning meetings and statutory reviews.
- Helps to organise out of school learning activities for LAC and encourages them to attend.
- Contributes to information required for school audits, the Designated Teacher list and monitoring of PEPs.
The Service will give priority to children who are:
- without an educational placement.
- at risk of exclusion.
- in need of support in order to return to or start a new school.
- transferring between Year 6 and Year 7.
- approaching the end of the primary or secondary phase and require support to raise their attainment in Key Stage 2 National Tests or Key Stage 4 GCSE exams.
- in need of individual support in any year to accelerate progress and raise attainment
08: The Personal Education Plan (PEP)
‘Every child and young person in public care needs a Personal Education Plan which ensures access to services and support; contributes to stability, minimises disruption and broken schooling; signals particular and special needs; establishes clear goals and acts as a record of progress and achievement.’ The Education of Young People in Public Care – Chapter 5 (Dept. of Health and DfEE, 2000)
Every Looked After Child of school age must have a PEP. The PEP is a critical document that sits within the Child Plan (Care Plan). Where a three or four year old LAC is in educational nursery provision, they too should have a PEP.
The purpose of the PEP is to join up and aid access to services and support, contributing to stability and achievement, and reducing educational disruption. The individual needs of the child/young person are identified as well as goals set and achievements recorded.
Plans must set clear objectives and targets with the young person which relate to academic achievement, and if appropriate, emotional and behavioural needs. It is important that it captures the young person’s voice and that this contributes to shaping the Plan. The PEP must include details of who will own each element of the Plan with timescales for action and review. Part of the Plan records the young person’s educational background including progress and educational achievements over time. It is essential that it identifies developmental and educational needs, monitors progress against short-term targets and longer term plans including career plans and aspirations.
Historically it has been the duty of the social worker to arrange the initial and subsequent PEP meetings, to coordinate attendance, to ensure that the PEP is completed and to ensure that finalised copies distributed to all those requesting a copy. In some Local Authorities the LACES teams are responsible for these duties.
The initial PEP meeting should be held within 20 school days of the young person becoming looked after and the PEP proforma completed in order to inform the initial LAC Review. Thereafter there must be a review of the PEP every six months to inform subsequent LAC Reviews or more frequently i.e. in the event of any significant change affecting the young person. Some PEPs are now moving to termly reviews rather than every 6 months.
Attendees at the PEP meeting should include the carer, social worker, designated teacher, relevant specialist staff e.g. educational psychologist, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and, if appropriate, the young person and parent(s) or other close family members.
The PEP has four sections:
1. Essential Information
- Child’s personal details
- Key contacts
- Care record
- Medical information
- School attendance record
- Travel arrangements to and from educational placement(s)
- PEP History
2. Pupil Voice
- A chance for the pupil to add their thoughts on their school experience, their strengths and weaknesses and future plans.
3. Educational Background
- Special educational needs
- Progress and attainment record
4. Personal Education Plan
- People in attendance at the PEP meeting
- Review of communication network
- Review of the previous PEP and its impact
- Attitudes to learning
- Current educational needs/priorities
- New PEP targets/objective and actions – short and long term
You should be able to locate blank PEP templates online quite easily. If you are unable to, please contact one of Capstone’s education team who will be able to help.
It is the responsibility of all those who attend the initial and subsequent PEP meetings to ensure the plan is implemented, supported and followed. The written PEP needs to be a ‘living document’ driving and supporting the education of the LAC. The PEP also needs to be available for statutory reviews.
09: Pupil Premium (Plus)
The Personal Education Allowance (PEA) was established in Sept 2011 when £430 per annum was made available for vulnerable and underprivileged groups including LAC. It changed its name to Pupil Premium, rose to £623 in 2012 and to £900 for Sept 2013. In April 2014 it was rechristened the Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) and doubled to £1900.
How it is spent
The PPP should be allocated and agreed at the PEP meeting. Its main focus is closing the attainment gap between vulnerable pupils and their peers. Historically there hadn’t been much scrutiny of how the PPP was spent but this is beginning to change, largely due to the larger sums now involved. Initially the money was paid directly into schools’ budgets and it was sometimes difficult to discover exactly how it had been spent; even when it was clear where the money had been used, it wasn’t always spent in the best interests of the young person in question. There are examples of it being pooled without any direct benefit for the intended children. For the PPP to be used effectively, the school need to target the money on the pupils’ areas of weakness and provide a bespoke support programme. The VSH has a key role in the decision-making process as the funding goes directly to them rather than schools. They manage the money and should consider school’s requests diligently. It is worth noting that different LAs are free to manage the grant in their own way so there are sometimes discrepancies between what they will allow the PPP to be spent on. For example some LAs allow PPP to be spent on school trips as it encourages social interaction whilst other LAs would see the funding of such trips as part of the carers’ responsibilities.
Ideas for spending the PPP
The Sutton Trust has researched the effectiveness of various types of support in schools. Based on its findings, it has produced a toolkit to assist schools in choosing which type of intervention might be of most benefit. (Bear in mind however that each child is an individual, and knowledge of individual strengths and needs is also important, as is the recognition that not all schools can provide all types of support).
In February 2013, OFSTED published a report called ‘The Pupil Premium: how schools are spending the funding successfully to maximise achievement’. It details ways that schools have effectively used the money to benefit the targeted pupils.
There is a reading scheme for LAC called ‘Letterbox’ which delivers parcels of age-appropriate books, stationery and educational games monthly between May and September. The parcels are something that the young people will actually own, rather than library books to be returned. For more information contact Gavin Hogg at Capstone or visit http://www.letterboxclub.org.uk/about-us/letterbox-parcels/
10: Pastoral Support Plan (PSP)
Who are they for?
PSPs are for any young person at risk of permanent exclusion from school.
What is a PSP?
A Pastoral Support Programme (PSP) is a school-based intervention to help individual pupils manage their behaviour. They were originally designed as a way of intervening before a young person’s behaviour led to a permanent exclusion, and would normally run for approximately 16 weeks. A PSP should be set up if the young person has had several fixed period exclusions and if an exclusion has been 10 days or more then the PSP should be used as part of the integration process. A PSP should also be considered if a pupil is in danger of being permanently excluded from school. A PSP may be set up in addition to an Individual Education Plan and/or PEP and they should be integrated.
The Headteacher (or another member of the Senior Management Team) should invite carers and an LA representative (usually a member of the Behaviour Support or education Welfare Team) to a meeting to discuss the causes of concern and what is reasonably required to avoid exclusion. The aim of the meeting is to formulate a programme which supports the young person in managing his/her behaviour satisfactorily in order to successfully complete his/her education. For a looked after child, it would be expected that the social worker is also invited to the meeting.
What is the purpose of a PSP?
A Pastoral Support Programme should:
- review any learning difficulties, particularly literacy which may affect the YP’s behaviour
- provide a focused programme, which must be put in place immediately and which may include lunchtime or after school homework clubs
- provide other forms of study support
- consider / re-consider dis-applying the National Curriculum to allow time for specific learning activities
- consider changing the young person’s teaching set, class and / or seating arrangements
- have short term achievable targets
- identify a “buddy” or adult mentor
- probably involve the Behaviour Support Service for in-school support for the pupil and staff
- consider the possibility of ‘time out’ at a PRU as an additional behaviour management strategy
- consider a “managed move” to another school.
- give a time scale. Progress should be reviewed at least fortnightly, with the total length being normally 16 weeks – a final review then takes place.
- it is important that the young person is involved at an age appropriate level and is aware of what has been agreed.
Consideration needs to be given to what will happen if the PSP is not successful; this is why the regular fortnightly reviews are important. If the plan is not working it should be modified early to give the greatest chance of success.
PSPs are controversial as they can be a precursor to the child being moved on if the targets aren’t met within the 16 week period. However, in instances where the PSP does work, it is a means of focusing a “team around the child” on the young person’s needs and helping them through a difficult period.
11: Special Educational Needs (SEN)
What is SEN?
SEN doesn’t mean only those children with serious difficulties in school. The term applies to about one in five pupils who require some kind of extra support to make the kind of progress expected of an average pupil.
The draft legislation of 2014 defines this as progress which:
is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers
widens the attainment gap”
Slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily mean that a child has SEN but can be seen as a possible indicator of learning difficulties or disabilities.
The Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC)
From September 2014, a new system of supporting young people with SEN was introduced. The purpose of the EHC is to “make special educational provision meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure improved outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood.” In other words, it won’t focus only on educational needs but will also aim to encompass the young person’s health and social care needs too.
The new broad areas of SEN defined in the EHC are:
- Communication and interaction – “difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication.” (e.g young people on the Autistic Spectrum or with Asperger’s Syndrome).
- Cognition and Learning – “support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.”
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties – “children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.”
- Sensory and/or physical needs – “some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning.”
 (all passages in quotation marks in this chapter are taken from ‘Draft special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years’ from April 2014. It is available to view online here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/304534/Code_of_Practice_Draft.pdf)
Looked After Children and SEN
In 2012, 71.5% of the 29000 young people who had been looked after for at least a year were identified as having SEN, compared to around 20% of all pupils. Additionally, looked after children were over ten times more likely to have a statement of SEN than the general school population.
The reasons behind these statistics are complex but potential causes are frequent school moves, poor pre-care experiences, attachment issues, low expectations, placement breakdowns and delays in receiving the right type of support.
You or your child’s teacher may be worried because:
- your child may be making little progress compared to the majority of their peers
- there are clear difficulties with reading, writing and/or mathematics
- emotional or behavioural problems appear to be hampering any learning
- physical problems may be preventing reasonable progress despite specialist equipment being used
At this point a discussion should take place between carers and the relevant school staff. This meeting should include the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) who is a member of the school staff with the responsibility for ensuring the best outcomes for pupils with SEN. It may also include the class teacher, the Designated LACT and the Head. The first step in responding to possible SEN is high quality teaching which is differentiated for individual pupils. If it is decided that the young person does extra support, then the school should begin what is called ‘The Graduated Approach’. “Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place. This SEN support should take the form of a four-part cycle through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the pupil’s needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes. It draws on more detailed approaches, more frequent review and more specialist expertise in successive cycles in order to match interventions to the SEN of children and young people.”
This approach is in four steps:
- Assess – a thorough analysis of the pupil’s needs including the views of the carer, pupil and external support services. The school should also study previous levels of progress.
- Plan – “The teacher and the SENCo should agree in consultation with the parent/carer and the pupil the adjustments, interventions and support to be put in place, as well as the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour, along with a clear date for review.” If the young person is being taken out of the classroom and away from their teacher, the school have to provide a clear reason.
- Do – the class teacher will implement the planning. “Where the interventions involve group or one-to-one teaching away from the main class or subject teacher, they should still retain responsibility for the pupil.
- Review – the effectiveness of the intervention should be reviewed at the agreed date. “The class or subject teacher, working with the SENCo, should revise the support in light of the pupil’s progress and development, deciding on any changes to the support and outcomes in consultation with the parent and pupil.”
If no progress has been made over a period of time and concerns are continuing to grow, the school should look to outside agencies for additional support. This should be discussed at a review meeting. The legislation states that, “The pupil’s parents/carers should always be involved in any decision to involve specialists. The involvement of specialists and what was discussed or agreed should be recorded and shared with the parents and teaching staff supporting the child in the same way as other SEN support.”
Examples of the external support that schools may be able to draw upon are services like Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Educational Psychologists (EPs), therapists (including speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists) and specialist teachers, for example those with a mandatory qualification for children with hearing and vision impairment.
After this point, if “despite the school having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the SEN of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress, the school or parents/carers should consider requesting an (EHC) assessment. To inform its decision the Local Authority will expect to see evidence of the action taken by the school as part of SEN support.”
Once an EHC assessment has been requested, the LA must inform the child’s carers within 6 weeks. The LA will “consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress.” If the LA decide not to go ahead with the EHC assessment, they must inform the carers of their reasons.
If the LA proceed with an assessment, they “must consult the child and the child’s parent or the young person throughout the process of assessment and production of an EHC Plan. The needs of the individual child and young person should sit at the heart of the assessment and planning process.”
If an EHC plan is agreed then a multi-agency meeting will be held to agree what type of support will best meet the needs of the pupil. Depending on the results of the assessment and the views of the carers and other professionals, the young person may be given a certain amount of extra help in school, typically using a TA. It may, for example, be ten hours per week or even full time support in the classroom. Alternatively it may be decided that attendance at a special school is required; that school will cater for pupils with a particular need in one of the four areas of SEN (communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social, emotional and mental health or sensory and physical needs).
The assessment may not necessarily lead to a plan. During the assessment process the LA will gather information from a range of services and people including the carer and young person. There is recognition in the documentation that “Local Authorities should be particularly aware of the need to avoid any delays for looked after children and carry out the EHC needs assessment in the shortest possible timescale. Addressing a Looked After Child’s special educational needs will be a crucial part of avoiding breakdown in their care placement.”
Help and advice
Don’t forget that you are not alone. Your young person’s social worker, school staff, VSH, LACES team, Capstone social worker and Capstone education team will all be able to assist. There are also independent and impartial charities such as Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA – http://www.ipsea.org.uk/) and SOSSEN (http://www.sossen.org.uk/) offering support and advice on any issues relating to SEN.
12: GCSEs, Further And Higher Education
For pupils between 11 and 16 education will normally take place in secondary schools and academies. Pupils will be in Key Stages; KS3 on entry from year 7 through to year 9 and KS4 for years 10 and 11. KS4 is normally when pupils will begin work on GCSEs or equivalent qualifications such as functional skills and BTECs although it is becoming more common for pupils to begin GCSE courses in year 9.
From September 2015 all GCSEs will be linear, rather than modular. Most subjects will be assessed by exams at the end of Year 11. A limited number of subjects will continue to award marks for coursework or controlled assessments. This will put more emphasis on revising for exams and learning lots of information (for example: equations, quotes, vocabulary and scientific processes) and committing it to memory.
GCSEs are measured by the grades A* (A star) down to G. There is also a U grade which stands for ‘Unclassified’. In many subjects, there are two different ‘Tiers’ of examination offered: Higher, where pupils can achieve grades A*–D(E), or a U and Foundation, where they can achieve grades C–G, or a U. If a candidate fails to obtain a Grade G on the Foundation Tier or a Grade D on the Higher tier they will fail the course and receive a U. Candidates who narrowly miss a Grade D on the Higher Tier, however, are awarded a Grade E.
From September 2017, GCSEs in English and Maths will be measured from 1-9 with 9 being the top grades. A grade 4 is the equivalent of a current grade C and a 1 would equate to an F.
Further Education (FE) is from ages 16 to 18 and it is now compulsory to ensure that young people continue to be educated if they are not in full-time employment or training. Research has shown that extending education and training leads to a better quality of life.
Higher Education (HE) refers to education that follows the completion of further education or training. This can also be referred to as tertiary education and takes place in colleges and universities, generally resulting in the awarding of certificates, diplomas, or academic degrees.
This diagram shows the different routes through schools and colleges from age 11.
Taken from ‘Education England: Raising Expectations‘
What next after GCSEs?
There are two main options: full-time further education, and work-based learning but there remains the option of a full or part-time job with training opportunities.
Full-Time Further Education: The options that fall under full time further education are general qualifications like A’ levels, AS levels and the International Baccalaureate. Depending on where you are in the country sixth forms and colleges (including sixth form colleges) may offer all or some of these. These are for more academically minded students who like to study and are not daunted by coursework and exams.
For those who prefer a more practical option there are diplomas which provide vocational training for students in full time education, such as Information Technology, to Creative and Media etc. These are usually combined with work experience and project work and may be referred to as Work Based Learning.
The options available to those who would prefer a non-traditional approach to their learning are increasing as time goes on. They take the form of BTECs, apprenticeships, NVQ/RQs, HNCs/HNDs, and other courses like the Cambridge Nationals and Technicals. Many employers and companies of varying sizes offer the opportunity to train while you work. FE colleges will offer Functional Skills courses in English and Maths: a level 2 FS qualification is equivalent to a Grade C GCSE.
If there isn’t a suitable work-based learning option, a young person can apply for a full or part-time job in an industry that interests them and that they want to gain experience in, e.g. Retail or Engineering.
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. An apprentice will:
- work alongside experienced staff
- gain job-specific skills
- earn a wage and get holiday pay
- study towards a related qualification (usually one day a week)
Apprenticeships take 1 to 4 years to complete depending on their level.
Levels of apprenticeship
An apprenticeship has an equivalent education level and can be:
- Intermediate – equivalent to 5 GCSE passes
- Advanced – equivalent to 2 A level passes
- Higher – can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree
Who can apply
A young person can apply for an apprenticeship while still at school. To start one, they need to be:
- 16 or over
- living in England
- not in full-time education
Grades may influence the options
If the GCSEs achieved were grades A* to C then the choices include A Levels, International Baccalaureate, BTEC level 3, NVQ/RQ3, specialist diplomas or an Advanced Apprenticeship as the next step. If the GCSE grades are mostly between D and G, options include re-sitting of the original GCSEs, taking some new ones, or going into a more vocational or work based learning environment.
Without 5 GCSEs from A*-C, A levels are not an option. However, diplomas, BTEC level 2, an Intermediate Apprenticeship, or Cambridge Nationals / Technicals Level 2 are all available,. These would bring the qualifications up to the required level for the next stages (A Levels or a vocational path). Whatever the grades at GCSE, the Armed Forces have a rolling recruitment scheme, offering training at all levels of further education.
13: Post 16 Funding: Supporting Education And Training Beyond Compulsory Schooling
Local Authorities have on-going responsibilities to support Children in Care as they make the transition to adulthood. This means supporting them to continue their education and training. The Government has, as you would expect, issued many papers in its quest to provide fair funding for all students starting post 16 education. There was a “16-19 Funding Formula Consultation” to finalise what was needed to support students
What does this actually mean for students?
When a young person has decided on the course and the college they want to attend then they should look at the college home page to become familiar with what they offer, from a financial point of view, and how they should apply for any benefits as all colleges may have slightly different forms and procedures.
There is finance available for several things but some come with an eligibility criteria. Here are four things a student may be eligible for:
- Student Bursary
- Free Meals
- Travel Grant ( usually available to students living 4 miles or more from College)
- 19+ Hardship Fund
The monies for these are given from the Education Funding Agency to support students. This funding is to support eligible students studying further education courses funded by the EFA.
Taken from: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk’
The allocation of funds is linked to the individual needs of the students and the college can use up to 5% of the total allocations (except for the Further Education Free Meals Fund) to meet the costs of administering the funds.
The student is expected to use the funds to support the following, where these are not normally provided by the college:
- A daily meal/drink to the value of £2.41 per day
- Travel costs to/from College, work placements, trips and visits and sporting activities
- Examination Re-sit fees (in accordance with the College’s Re-sit Policy)
- Essential uniforms and specialist clothing
- Specialist course equipment and text books/publications (excluding stationery)
- Specialist training costs provided by external organisations e.g. first aid qualifications
- DBS clearance checks where required for course related work placements
- Specialist tuition provided by external organisations e.g. music instrument teachers
- Costs associated with course related trips/visits e.g. hotel accommodation, venue entry charges (this does not include the cost of meals/drinks unless the student is eligible for Free Meals in which case funding will be provided to the value of £2.41 per day)
Further Education Free Meals Fund : To be eligible for a daily free meal, the student or their parent/guardian/carer must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:
- Income Support or Universal Credit
- Income related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of the State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have annual gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC
- Working Tax Credit run on – paid for 4 weeks after stopping qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Students may be required to complete application forms from the institution where they wish to study. Forms should be available from Student services and they should be filled in and returned to the college. Normally the following documentation will be needed as proof:
- Evidence of the qualifying benefits detailed above e.g. an award notice or letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the HMRC
Method by Which Support Provided
On each day a student is studying in College they will be entitled to food/drinks obtained from the College restaurant, to the value of £2.41. Whilst on College related work placements or trips/visits each student may be provided with luncheon vouchers to obtain food/drinks from participating shops/cafes (check with the chosen college on their protocol). Where the provision of vouchers is not feasible the College will provide an alternative option which will be determined prior to the visit.
16-18 Bursary Fund : The 16-18 Bursary Fund is broken down into 3 priority groups as follows:
Priority Group 1 – Guaranteed Bursary
To be eligible for a Guaranteed Bursary the student must be aged under 19 on the 31 August 2015 and meet one of the criteria below:
- In care or recent care leaver
- In receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit
- In receipt of both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments
Students are required to provide one or more of the following documentation:
- A letter from the Local Authority Children’s’ Services confirming “Looked After” or “leaving Care” status
- Letter from the Benefits Agency confirming receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit
- Letter from the Benefits Agency confirming Employment Support Allowance and Disabled Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments
Each student is guaranteed a bursary of £1,200 per 36 week course (or pro rata for shorter courses or students who start late) Payments are made weekly in arrears by direct transfer to the student’s bank account. Weekly payments of £30 are made with the remainder being paid at the end of the academic year (correct for the year 2015/15).
Priority Group 2 – Discretionary 16-18 Bursary
To be eligible for funding from the 16-18 discretionary bursary, students must meet the following criteria:
- Be under 19 yrs old on the 31st August 2015
- Be in receipt of the benefits described under the Further Education Free Meals Fund or
- Have a combined “Household Income” below £30,000 (Household Income relates to the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student)
Students will be required to complete a Free Meals / Bursary Application Form and submit it along with one or more of the following documentation:
- Evidence of the qualifying benefits detailed above e.g. an award notice or letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the HMRC
- In order to prove combined household income:
- Most recent P60 and two recent payslips for the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student
- For self-employed individuals an SA200 or Self Assessed Tax Return and six months recent bank statements
Method by Which Support Provided:
- A minimum weekly payment between £5 and £10 (depending on household income) paid directly into the nominated bank account
In order to receive the weekly payment the student must meet the attendance requirement of 95%.
All the above funding awards are subject to funding availability.
Students are expected to notify the college if their reasons for eligibility change and they no longer meet the eligibility criteria.
Priority Group 3 – Discretionary 16-18 Bursary Emergency Payments
To be eligible for emergency payments, students must meet the criteria set out in Priority Groups 1 or 2.
Types of Support:
The funds can be used to support the following:
- Severe financial hardship due to a domestic emergency
Students who have not already done so, are required to complete the Student Free Meals / Bursary Application Form and return this to the Student Information Desk together with the evidence detailed under Priority Groups 1 or 2.
Method by Which Support Provided:
Financial assistance will be agreed on an exceptional basis with the Assistant Principal Student Services. Funding is provided on a case by case basis and each case does not set a precedent for other applications.
19+ Hardship Fund:
Students who do not meet the age criteria for the 16-18 Bursary may still be entitled to the same support. Students must complete the Student Free Meals / Bursary Application Form, providing the same evidence and they will be notified of the support they are eligible to receive.
14: Bullying And Cyberbullying
Definition of Bullying
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Those who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behaviour must be aggressive and include:
- An imbalance of power: bullies use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviours happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumours, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying can take place face-to-face or via social media and the internet.
Types of Bullying
There are three types of bullying:
1. Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
2. Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
3. Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
Where and When Bullying Happens
Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighbourhood, or on the Internet.
Definition of Cyberbullying
The way we interact online is changing at a pace that the law is struggling to keep up with and we need to realise that the things our children do (to each other) online can leave a permanent mark.
Cyberbullying is when a person uses technology i.e. mobile phones or the internet (social networking sites, chat rooms, instant messenger), to deliberately upset someone.
It can happen any time of day and occur on a large scale and speed, due to the nature of the technology.
Bullies often feel anonymous and ‘distanced’ from the incident when it takes place online and ‘bystanders’ can easily become perpetrators by forwarding or not reporting cyberbullying.
There is not a specific law which makes cyberbullying illegal but it can be considered a criminal offence under several different acts including Protection from Harassment Act (1997), Malicious Communications Act (1988), Communications Act (2003) Obscene Publications Act (1959) and Computer Misuse Act (1990).
There have been several incidents and tragic stories of young ones terribly affected by the reach of online bullying. According to the cyber bullying charity, the Cybersmile Foundation, every 20 minutes a child between 10 to 19 years of age attempts to commit suicide in England and Wales, while one in three children in the UK suffers from cyberbullying, hence the pressing need for anti-cyberbullying laws. Cyberbullying, harassment and hoaxes have been linked to teen depression, attempted self-harm and even suicide. The fact that young people can feel they have no alternative but to commit suicide should awaken us to the acute child-on-child violence made possible by cyberbullying.
All UK state schools are required to have anti-bullying policies under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and independent schools have similar obligations under the Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations 2003. These should include policies and processes for dealing with cyberbullying against teachers, as well as pupils.
What can you do if you suspect bullying is taking place?
Advice for parents, carers and teachers
- Your child is just as likely to be a bully as they are to be a target. Watch out for uncharacteristic behaviour (your child being upset or secretive, using the phone/internet more than usual, changing friendship groups.)
- Remind your child not to retaliate and keep any evidence – taking a screenshot may be the easiest method
- Report the bullying – contact the school if the bullying involves another pupil and contact your service provider to report the user and remove the content. If the bullying is more serious and a potential criminal offence, consider contacting the Police by dialling 101
Good discipline in schools is essential to ensure that all pupils can benefit from the opportunities provided by education. The Government supports head teachers in using exclusion as a sanction where it is warranted. However, permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort, in response to a serious breach, or persistent breaches, of the school’s behaviour policy; and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.
New statutory guidance has been issued in 2015 and full details can be found at:
Please remember that you can contact the Education Team at Capstone if you have any concerns regarding the education of a young person in your care.
The following is a brief summary of the new guidance:
- The decision to exclude a pupil must be lawful, reasonable and fair. Schools have a statutory duty not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race. Schools should give particular consideration to the fair treatment of pupils from groups who are vulnerable to exclusion.
- Disruptive behaviour can be an indication of unmet needs. Where a school has concerns about a pupil’s behaviour it should try to identify whether there are any causal factors and intervene early in order to reduce the need for a subsequent exclusion. In this situation schools should give consideration to a multi-agency assessment that goes beyond the pupil’s educational needs.
- Schools should have a strategy for reintegrating pupils that return to school following a fixed period exclusion, and for managing their future behaviour.
- All children have a right to an education. Schools should take reasonable steps to set and mark work for pupils during the first five school days of an exclusion, and alternative provision must be arranged from the sixth day. There are obvious benefits in arranging alternative provision to begin as soon as possible after an exclusion.
- Where parents or carers (or excluded pupil, if aged 18 or over) dispute the decision of a governing body not to reinstate a permanently excluded pupil, they can ask for this decision to be reviewed by an independent review panel. Where there is an allegation of discrimination (under the Equality Act 2010) in relation to a fixed-period or permanent exclusion, parents can also make a claim to the First-tier Tribunal (for disability discrimination) or a County Court (for other forms of discrimination).
- An independent review panel does not have the power to direct a governing body to reinstate an excluded pupil. However, where a panel decides that a governing body’s decision is flawed when considered in the light of the principles applicable on an application for judicial review, it can direct a governing body to reconsider its decision. If the governing body does not subsequently offer to reinstate a pupil, the panel will be expected to order that the school makes an additional payment of £4,000. This payment will go to the local authority towards the costs of providing alternative provision.
- Whether or not a school recognises that a pupil has special educational needs (SEN), all parents (or pupils if aged 18 or over) have the right to request the presence of a SEN expert at an independent review panel. The SEN expert’s role is to provide impartial advice to the panel about how SEN could be relevant to the exclusion; for example, whether the school acted reasonably in relation to its legal duties when excluding the pupil.
- Excluded pupils should be enabled and encouraged to participate at all stages of the exclusion process, taking into account their age and understanding.
What happens if a Looked After Child is at risk of exclusion?
Maximising learning time for Looked After Children is paramount. The school should be proactive in providing support and, for example, alternative educational packages to prevent exclusions. An early dialogue with all involved, including the child, is essential. Social workers, carers/parents and education staff need to work together to help prevent an exclusion. A Pastoral Support Plan or timely review of the PEP may be appropriate and/ or relevant.
Only the Headteacher can exclude your child from school. There are two types of exclusion that the Headteacher may decide on:
1. Short or Fixed Term Exclusions
The first time an exclusion is made, it has to be temporary and can only last up to five days. The maximum number of days a child can be excluded in any school year is 45. Sometimes pupils are excluded during particular times in the school day – for example, in lunch breaks.
A fixed period exclusion is where your child is temporarily removed from school. They can only be removed for up to 45 school days in one school year. If a child has been excluded for a fixed period, schools should set and mark work for the first 5 school days.If the exclusion is longer than 5 school days, the school must arrange full-time education from the sixth school day.
Lunchtime Exclusions are counted as fixed term exclusions. A pupil given a lunch time exclusion should leave the school premises for the duration of the lunchtime and return for the afternoon session. If, as part of a planned programme, the parent/carer agrees that their child should not stay at school during lunch-time then this will not count as an exclusion.
2. Permanent Exclusion
The Local Authority should act to support schools to ensure that a permanent exclusion for a LAC is avoided. Exclusion is a very serious step for the school to take. It is not acceptable to exclude a child outside the formal exclusion process. This is deemed an unofficial exclusion. Every LAC must have a full-time timetable unless in exceptional circumstances, which must be approved in advance by the Executive Director of Children’s Services.
If individuals working with LAC believe that a young person is not being offered or provided with full-time provision they should, in the first instance, discuss the matter with the school. If the concern remains, they should contact their VSH or LACES team who will look into the concern to ensure that the offer is full-time and that all parties are in agreement.
Making an appeal against an exclusion
If your child is excluded and you feel the decision is unfair, you can put your case to the governing body. If they uphold the exclusion order, you can go further by appealing to an independent panel. This can be for both fixed term and permanent exclusions.
It is important to remember that exclusion is a legal sanction and you, as a parent/carer, should comply with it. If you disagree with the exclusion, for any reason, you should, first of all:
- Try to speak to someone in the school about the exclusion. If you can’t speak to the head teacher, try to speak to the deputy head or your child’s head of year (or class teacher if your child is at primary school). If your child has received a fixed term exclusion for anything less than 16 days, (apart from in exceptional circumstances) only the head teacher can give permission for your child to return to school before the exclusion is up.
If the school still wants to go ahead with the exclusion, you can ask the Governing Body’s Discipline Committee to meet and review the exclusion.
- If your child has been excluded for more than 15 days in a term (this could be made up of several short exclusions, or one long one), or has been permanently excluded, the Discipline Committee will automatically meet. This will happen between 6 and 15 school days of the exclusion that takes your child’s total over 15 days.
- If your child has been excluded for 15 days or less, you will have to ask the Committee to meet (details of how to do this will be in your exclusion letter). The Discipline Committee must meet within 50 school days of the exclusion.
- For exclusions totalling less than 6 days if you requested a meeting, the Committee must discuss the case and write to you with their views on it. This will be attached to your child’s exclusion and placed on his/her school file. They cannot, however REINSTATE the pupil (that is, overturn the decision made by the head teacher).
If the exclusion means your child will miss more than 15 days in a term, or you have requested a meeting of the Discipline Committee, the school will write to you to inform you of when the meeting will take place. If you want to send in any written information in advance, you will be given a date by which to do so. Copies of the school’s written case should be sent to you in advance of the meeting.
A good record of attendance is extremely important for all children, particularly LAC. They may have a history of low academic expectations, poor attendance, many school moves and a lack of opportunity to form and maintain friendships. For some young people, school may be the most consistent and structured place in their lives and a respite from a chaotic home life.
You should encourage attendance by:
- Ensuring that your child has the correct uniform and equipment for school. Help them get into good habits by getting them to pack their school bag the night before, ensuring they have a good breakfast and leave in plenty of time to travel to school.
- Making time to discuss your child’s day and letting them know that you are interested. Being positive about school gives them the message that it’s something important and worthwhile.
- Being aware of and attending important school events eg Sports Day, special assemblies, productions, parents evenings etc
- Knowing who the key staff in school are e.g your child’s class teacher/form tutor, the SENCo, Learning Mentor, Head of Year, Headteacher etc. This will allow you to be able to deal with any issues that occur sensitively and quickly.
- Make medical and dental appointments after school hours whenever possible. If this isn’t feasible, inform school as soon as you can.
- Trying not to arrange holidays during school time. Schools may use their own discretion and authorise absences for special occasions but you need to inform schools as soon as possible. There is absolutely no legal right to have time off school and LAs and schools will be concerned if a pattern of missing school days develops. The Department of Education’s guidance states that “If a child of compulsory school age fails to attend regularly at a school at which they are registered or at a place where alternative provision is provided for them the parents may be guilty of an offence and can be prosecuted by the local authority.” A parent is defined as “Any person who has care of a child or young person i.e. lives with and looks after the child.” It is unlikely that these legal powers would be used against a foster carer but it is a possibility.
If your child is too ill to attend school, inform them straight away and contact them daily thereafter if necessary.
Schools may encourage attendance for LAC by:
- First day calling/texting: Many schools contact parents/carers on the first day of an unexplained absence. This alerts school and carers to potential truanting issues.
- Rewarding good attendance with special assemblies, prize draws etc.
- Giving extra support for vulnerable children, particularly during potentially difficult periods such as transition to secondary school or times of particular emotional upheaval. This will help to reassure them and to feel secure in school.
- Highlighting attendance as an important topic in PEP meetings and LAC reviews.
17: Parents’ Evening
As a foster carer it is important that you attend parents’ evenings. It may be that your child’s parents may also want to attend but schools will try to be flexible and may offer to see you at separate sessions to avoid possible tension.
If you and your partner can attend together, your child’s teacher will know that you’re both involved in their education. If you are going alone you could consider a good friend along so that you feel more confident and afterwards you can discuss what your child’s teacher said. Your child will be aware that parent’s evening is coming so ask them how things are going at school and what they would like you to ask their teacher. You could consider taking a note book to write your questions down and make a note of the answers. If the teacher is running late having the questions written down will help you to keep focussed on the important points.
If this is the first parents’ evening you’ve attended for a while, you may be unsure exactly what you can ask. Here are a few pointers:
- What are their strengths?
- Are there any concerns about their academic progress or behaviour?
- Are there any areas in which you think they could improve?
- What are they like in class?
- Do they enjoy playtimes? Do they always play with the same children?
- What extra-curricular activities could they get involved in? How do they join?
- How do they get on with the other children?
- Do they join in with group activities?
- Do they have a particular talent / personal qualities (not just academic – e.g generous, sense of humour)
- What can I do to help with my child’s learning when we’re at home?
- Is there anything you’d like to know about what my child is like at home?
How can I make the most of parents’ evening?
Focus on your child: Parents’ evening is your chance to get a detailed report on your child’s progress and behaviour in school. You may only get a short time with your child’s teacher. If you have questions about general school policies, call the school office or check the website instead.
If you have specific concerns, raise them with your child’s teacher. You know your child better than anyone, so take the initiative.
The first parents’ evening is your chance to get to know your child’s teachers. If you have a friendly relationship, it may make it easier to talk about concerns that arise during the school year. Listen to what she or he has to say before you ask your questions.
Ask about friendships as well as schoolwork: How well your child fits in socially can have an effect on how well he learns. Ask the teacher whether your child always plays with the same children. Perhaps your child has made some new friends. Ask whether the teacher has any concerns about how your child gets along with others. They will also be able to tell you how your child joins in with classroom discussions.
Tell the teacher about significant changes at home. If there’s been upheaval in your house, let them know; a new baby, a divorce, a house move or a death in the family can affect the way your child behaves in the classroom.
Plan what to do next. Before the meeting ends, find out how you can follow up any discussions you have had. Should you schedule another meeting? If your work means you can’t get to school during the day, can you arrange a phone call? Ask your child’s teacher how you can ask any other questions you might think of after you’ve got home.
What should happen after parents’ evening?
Tell your child how it went, making sure that the first thing you do is pass on any praise and positive comments. If there are areas of concern, discuss these after you’ve told your child all the good things their teacher has said.
If your child had a specific question, or had any concerns they wanted you to speak about, tell them what the teacher said and explain what you and the teacher decided to do. Following up like this gives your child a sense that they have been heard and that you take their concerns seriously.
Stay in touch with the teacher. It’s fine to talk to your teacher before the next parents’ evening if you need to. Maybe you will get the chance for a brief word with your child’s teacher at drop-off or pick-up time. If you cannot get to school at those times, arrange a phone call.
Although homework can be a valuable way of supporting a young person’s education and developing their organisational skills, it can also be a problematic issue for many young people (and particularly for LAC). Some pupils see homework as unfair as they’ve spent all day at school and don’t see why they should then sit at home and do more. It can cause arguments at home and some young people struggle with the carer’s change of role into the authority figure of a teacher. If it does cause problems, it’s best to speak to someone at school (possibly the Class Teacher, Teaching Assistant, Head Teacher, SENCO, Learning Mentor or Designated LACT) and attempt to address the issue together.
By helping with their homework and discussing their learning you are demonstrating that you’re interested in them and their education. Additionally it will give you, as a foster carer, greater insight into their strengths, weaknesses, interests and frustrations all of which will assist you in school meetings.
The following tips are from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/parents/primary_support/
- Find a quiet place at home to use as a homework area. It needs a flat surface, a good light source and the right equipment eg pens, pencils, ruler, scissors, glue.
- Be aware of modern teaching methods, eg in long division. You Tube has lots of videos that may be helpful to you.
- Plan a homework timetable and agree on when your child will do their homework.
- Allow your child to have something nutritional to eat before starting on homework.
- Discuss any homework tasks with your child and how it connects with what they are studying at school.
- Turn off the TV – but you could have music on if they find it helpful.
- Don’t give your child the answer in order to get a task finished. Instead, explain how to look up information or find a word in a dictionary.
- Don’t teach your child methods you used at school. It could confuse them.
- Try not to let homework become a chore. Keep it fun and make it a special time that you both look forward to.
19: Internet Safety
Computers are a valuable educational resource giving young people access to a range of activities and a wealth of knowledge. It is important that you encourage quality time spent on activities that will enhance your child’s learning.
Online safety is, of course, an important issue and there are various resources on the internet that will provide you with up-to-date information and advice.
CEOP (Child Exploitation & Online Protection) is a comprehensive site. http://ceop.police.uk/
If you click on ‘Information For…Parents, Carers & Guardians’ you are taken to a part of the site called ‘Think You Know’.
These tips for ensuring the safety of children are taken from there:
- Talk to your child about what they’re up to online. Be a part of their online life; involve the whole family and show an interest. Find out what sites they visit and what they love about them, if they know you understand they are more likely to come to you if they have any problems.
- Watch Thinkuknow films and cartoons with your child. The Thinkuknow site has films, games and advice for children from 5- 16.
- Encourage your child to go online and explore! There is a wealth of age-appropriate sites online for your children. Encourage them to use sites which are fun, educational and that will help them to develop online skills.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Children grow up fast and they will be growing in confidence and learning new skills daily. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to discuss boundaries at a young age to develop the tools and skills children need to enjoy their time online.
- Keep all equipment that connects to the internet in a family space. For children of this age, it is important to keep internet use in family areas so you can see the sites your child is using and be there for them if they stumble across something they don’t want to see.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Make sure you’re aware of which devices that your child uses connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection, or a neighbour’s wifi? This will affect whether the safety setting you set are being applied.
- Use parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and they are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly. Find your service provider and learn how to set your controls
Other useful sites are:
advice and links about internet safety for young people, parents, carers and teachers
gives true stories and details about the potential dangers of chat rooms and instant messaging services
the Internet Watch Foundation site is the UK’s hotline for reporting illegal online content
this site is produced entirely by young people for young people and adults and gives advice on how to avoiding and protecting yourself from phishing scams, viruses and spyware
20: More Useful Websites
General Education Sites
These sites are useful for homework, resources and for when you, or your young person, is struggling with a subject or topic at school. Some are free and some are subscription only.
- www.youtube.com : Video tutorials for the novice and the expert, usually only 2-3 mins long. Just type in what you need to know!
- www.sparklebox.co.uk : Resources to help such as games to learn times tables; flash cards etc.
- http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk: Great collection of primary education resources from a school in Kent.
- http://www.shaunsgameacademy.co.uk/ : Children can design their own computer games and learn how to code
- www.mathsphere.co.uk : Printable specialist maths papers
- www.mathszone.co.uk : Interactive resources for KS1 & KS2 – for class or home, pupil, parent or teacher.
- www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize : Useful for revision, has lots of revision games to help.
- http://ngkids.co.uk : National Geographic’s collection of resources about science and nature
- www.oxfordowl.co.uk : is an award-winning website to help support children’s learning, both at home and at school
For GCSEs, try these…
- https://getrevising.co.uk :Goes from GCSE through to University level. This site is a mixture of free resources and subscription. You can find some good revision summary sheets if you are prepared to hunt!
- http://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse : A subscription site… but it’s free to join. Limited subjects but useful – has a revision planner. Choose an activity, revise it, test it and remember it! S-cool includes overviews, exam style questions, multiple choice questions and revision summaries on a range of GCSE science topics.
- https://www.khanacademy.org/ : With over 3,100 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, GCSE students should be able to find videos on the topics they need. Need to join but it’s free.
- https://www.o2learn.co.uk : A useful revision aid with videos on a variety of subjects and topics.
- http://studymaths.co.uk/ : Does what it says on the tin! For SATS:
- http://www.satstestsonline.co.uk/sto_past_papers.aspx : lots of past papers and mark
21: Abbreviations And Glossary
|Academy||Academies are a relatively new type of schools which are publicly funded independent schools for pupils of all abilities. They are established by sponsors from faith or voluntary groups and/or businesses, working in partnerships with central Government and local education partners. Their independent status is intended to allow more flexibility and for them to be ‘innovative and creative’ in their curriculum as well as with regard to staffing and governance, although they must follow the National Curriculum in Mathematics, English, Science and ICT.|
|ACS||Average Class Size|
|Added Value||The measured gain in pupil attainment when performance on admission to a school is compared with performance at the point of leaving. It is seen as preferable to simple ‘raw’ attainment data because it allows for socio-economic and other influences on pupil capability and thus indicates the school contribution.|
|AQA||Assessment & Qualifications Alliance – A ‘Unitary Exam Body’ (formed by amalgamation of NEAB, AEB, SEG and C&G)|
|ASD||Autistic Spectrum Disorder|
|ASDAN||Award Scheme Development Accreditation Network. A course seen as an alternative to GCSE examinations for disapplied pupils.
Award Scheme Development Accreditation Network. A course seen as an alternative to GCSE examinations for disapplied pupils.
|At risk||A term applied to pupils who have not been adequately served by social service or educational systems and who are at risk of educational failure due to, for example, lack of services, negative life events, or physical or mental challenges.|
|Baseline Assessment||An assessment of a child’s skills and abilities usually made by a teacher within the first 7 weeks of starting primary school. It shows teachers what children can do when starting school and helps teachers to plan lessons and measure progress. Areas covered include Language and Literacy, Maths and Personal & Social Development.|
|BEST||Behaviour and Education Support Team|
|BME||Black and Minority Ethnic|
|BTEC||Business & Technician Education Council (see EdExcel). A National Qualification equivalent to two A level courses. Subjects include Nursery Nursing, Business Studies and Art & Design. There are considerable practical elements to the courses with work placements offered.|
|CiDA||Certificate in digital applications. See also DiDA|
|CPI||Child Protection Issue|
|Code of Practice||The SEN Code of Practice gives guidance on how to identify and assess children with Special Educational Needs. When dealing with children who have SEN all LEAs, early education settings and maintained schools (both primary and secondary) must take account of the Code as must the local Health Authority and Social Services when assisting LEAs. Schools must particularly consider what the Code says when they are preparing their policies to take account of children with SEN.|
|Community school||State schools in England and Wales which are wholly owned and maintained by the local authority. The LA is the admissions authority – it has the main responsibility for deciding arrangements for admitting pupils.|
|D & T / DT||Design and Technology|
|Designated Teacher||The teacher in a school with responsibilities including keeping records on LAC, ensuring the PEP is implemented and being a central point of contact for outside agencies. See separate chapter for more details.|
|DfE||Department for education. Replaced the DCSF (Dept for Children, Schools and Families) in 2010.|
|DiDA||Diploma in digital applications. See also CiDA|
|An (as yet) unofficial, name for the ‘English Baccalaureate’. In September 2012 the Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that from the autumn of 2015, pupils will be taught for the new EBacc. Seven papers are proposed: English language, English literature, maths pure and applied (with an additional maths option), chemistry, physics and biology. The examination will be sat for the first time in these subjects in the summer of 2017 if approved by parliament. From 2016, pupils are expected to be taught for the EBacc in history, geography and languages; pupils are expected to sit the exams in the summer of 2018.|
|EdExcel||A Unitary Exam body formed by the amalgamation of London Exams and BTEC|
|EOTAS||Education Other Than At School|
|EWO||Education Welfare Officer. They are sometimes known as Education Social Workers and are employed by local education authorities to monitor school attendance and help parents meet their responsibilities|
|EYFS||Early Years Foundation Stage|
|Extended school||A school that provides a range of services and activities often beyond the school day to help meet the needs of its pupils, their families and the wider community|
|Failing school||A school that has been deemed unsatisfactory following an OFSTED inspection|
|Foundation Schools||Type of state school which is run by the local authority but which has more freedom than community schools to manage their school and decide on their own admissions. They are maintained by the LEA but some may have a foundation (generally religious) which appoints some of the governing body (which acts as the admissions authority).|
|Free School||Free Schools are state-funded schools set up in response to what some local people say they want for children in their community. The first ‘Free School’ opened in September 2011.|
|GNVQ||General National Vocational Qualification Vocational qualifications taken mainly by pupils age 16 and in full-time education. After October 20007 it was replaced by alternative BTEC qualifications.|
|Governors||A school or college governor is a voluntary position that involves overseeing the running of the institution. Duties include playing a part in appointing staff (including the headteacher); setting the strategic direction, policies and objectives; approving the budget and reviewing progress against the budget and objectives.|
|Grant Maintained Schools||State schools in England and Wales which are funded by central government through the Funding Agency for Schools.|
|HLTA||Higher level teaching assistant. A relatively recent designation, introduced to afford higher status to more experienced TAs.|
|HNC||Higher National Certificate|
|HND||Higher National Diploma -a 2 year course that equates to 2 years of a degree course. HNDs are offered in many subject areas, mostly with a practical application; they may also have an industrial or commercial placement as part of the course.|
|HoD||Head of Department|
|HoY||Head of Year|
|IBP||Individual Behaviour Plan|
|ICT||Information and Communications Technology|
|IEP||Individual Education Plan – drawn up by the class teacher and/or SENCO within a school to provide individual support for children deemed to have needs over and above that of other children in the class. This could be either due to learning difficulties or because they are considered to be exceptionally bright or gifted.|
|A child’s progress through school in England and Wales is measured in Key Stages. Each Key Stage covers a number of school years. Starting at Key Stage 1 and finishing at Key Stage4. The National Curriculum is divided into four key stages according to pupils’ ages:
Some schools use the term ‘Key Stage 5’ to refer to post-16 provision.
|LACES Team||Looked After Children’s Education Service Team – most Local Authorities have a LACES Team (they may have other names such as ELAC). They are able to offer support and advice to carers, schools and Social Workers.|
|LEA||Local Education Authority – the term describes a type of council which has responsibility for providing education to pupils of school age in its area. Their overall education remit also includes early years, the youth service and adult education. LEAs are responsible for contributing to the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of the community by ensuring that efficient primary and secondary education is provided and ensuring that there are enough primary and secondary places with adequate facilities to meet the needs of pupils living in the area.|
|LEA Advisors||LEA educationalists providing professional support to teachers and governors for ‘school improvement’|
|LEA Inspectors||LEA educationalists who inspect school performance and report locally. Often, LEA advisers are also LEA inspectors.|
|LEA Education Officers||Administrators who administer and advise schools on organisational systems relating, for instance, to pupil admissions, staff appointments, school budgets and central provision for children with special educational needs|
|Learning Modalities||Usually refers to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic modes of learning. Some characteristics:
|LSA||Learning Support Assistant|
|LSU||Learning Support Unit|
|Maintained School||Maintained schools are funded by central government via the LEA, and do not charge fees to students. The categories of maintained school are: community, community special, foundation (including trust), foundation special (including trust), voluntary aided and voluntary controlled. There are also maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units.|
|NASEN||National Association for SEN|
|NEET||Not in Education Employment or Training|
|NQT||Newly Qualified Teacher (in 1st full time year of teaching)|
|NVQ||National Vocational Qualification|
|OFSTED||The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills is an official body which regularly inspects all the schools in England which are mainly or wholly state-funded. OFSTED inspectors produce education reports which are meant to improve standards of achievement and quality of education, provide public reporting and informed independent advice.|
|PAN||Published Admission Number – this is the number of pupils that the Local Authority intends to admit into each school.|
|PEP||Personal Education Plan. PEPs are schemes developed for young individuals in public care, designed to support their education|
|Performance Tables||The government publishes secondary and 16-18 performance tables each year. The tables report achievements in public examinations and vocational qualifications in secondary schools (and colleges of Further Education) so that schools can be compared with each other. Primary school performance tables are published by local education authorities and report pupils’ achievements at the end of Key Stage 2.|
|PEX||Permanently excluded (hence ‘pexed’ –a pupil who have been excluded)|
|Phonics||This is a method for teaching reading and writing by developing learners’ ability to hear, identify, and use phonemes so that they learn the correspondence between these sounds and the symbols (graphemes) that represent them. The aim of phonics is to enable beginning readers to decode new written words by, in the first instance, sounding them out aloud.|
|PRU||Pupil Referral Unit – short stay school for pupils who, for various reasons (often emotionally or behaviourally) need to be educated out of the mainstream system.|
|PSHE||Personal, Social and Health Education|
|PSP||Pastoral Support Plan/Programme|
|SA||School Action – a stage of the SEN Code of Practice. It is used when there is evidence that a child is not making progress at school and there is a need for action to be taken to meet learning difficulties. SA can include the involvement of extra teachers and may also require the use of different learning materials, special equipment or a different teaching strategy. Teachers may become aware of the need for intervention at SA where there is little progress in the child’s ability despite targeted teaching, where there are persistent Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties or where there are sensory or physical problems.|
|SA+||School Action Plus – a stage of the SEN Code of Practice. It is used where SA has not been able to help the child make adequate progress. At SA+ the school will seek external advice from the LEA’s support services, the local Health Authority or from Social Services. For example, this may be advice from a Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT), an Occupational Therapist (OT) or Specialist Advisory Services dealing with Autism, Behavioural Needs etc. SA+ may also include one-to-one support and the involvement of an Educational Psychologist. As well as the use of external services, SA+ requires more detailed planning of interventions for children whose progress has been limited. A child’s progress at SA+ stage should also be reviewed regularly (i.e. at least twice a year) and an IEP should also be written to assist the child.|
|SATs||Standard Assessment Tasks. Often incorrectly referred to as standard assessment tests (which are copyrighted in America). They are more accurately known as NCTs – National Curriculum Tests|
|SEN||Special Educational Needs. This refers any child that has been identified as having some form of educational need either as a result of a learning difficulty or if they are deemed as particularly talented or gifted. Children designated as having special needs receive additional support either from within the school or from outside agencies.|
|SENCO||Special Education Needs Co-ordinator|
|Short inspection||This is a style of inspection which was introduced in January 2000. It tends to focus on quality assurance, with smaller teams of inspectors spending 2-3 days in the institution; they do not report in detail on each subject.|
|SMART||Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timed – used in target-setting.|
|SMT||Senior Management Team.
A small group of senior staff in a school, normally receiving additional pay allowances, who support the headteacher in implementing school policies by acting as middle-managers.
|Special Schools||State schools in England and Wales which are provided by local education authorities for certain children with special educational needs. Special schools are designed for children of any age who have ‘statements’ of special educational needs. The National Curriculum may be taught, parts of it ‘disapplied’ to particular children or they may be ‘exempted’.|
|Special Measure||This is an outcome of the school inspection process. The Registered Inspector will have concluded that the school is failing or likely to fail to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and thus requires special measures.|
|Statements||A Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) is a statutory document that describes a child’s special educational needs and how they are to be met. The process of making the assessment is known as statementing. Statements describe any learning difficulties which pupils have, and specify the extra help or equipment they need. Usually around three per cent of school pupils nationally have statements. Some pupils with special educational needs are academically able.|
|Statutory School Age||The period from the beginning of the term following a child’s 5th birthday until the leaving date following his/her 16th birthday|
|Underachieving School||This is an outcome of the inspection process. The Registered Inspector will have concluded that the school’s performance is below that of schools in similar circumstances.|
|Vertical Grouping||Classes formed in primary schools from children of different age-groups|
|Voluntary Aided Schools||Schools in England and Wales which are maintained by the Local Education Authority, with a foundation (generally religious) which appoints most of the governing body. The governing body is the admissions authority.|
|Voluntary Controlled Schools||Schools in England and Wales which are maintained by the Local Education Authority, with a foundation (generally religious) which appoints some, but not most, of the governing body. The LEA is the admissions authority.|