Page 21 Young People with Special Educational Needs
Page 22 The Filofax for Children in Public Care
Page 23 Who Does What?
The Child Care Education Policy Children, Schools and Families
Children only spend 15% of their time in the school setting and whilst schools are one of the main agents of change and personal development within a young person’s life, they can only build on the foundation of what a young person can learn from home.
As the primary carer, the foster carer has a powerful role in influencing and contributing to the educational life of the young person. Commitment and enthusiasm for the value of education is of paramount importance. Practical help and assistance to young people in care in both their formal and informal learning will be essential in order to enable them to make the most of their gifts and talents and to realise their true potential.
Children, Schools and Families pledges to support foster carers in helping young people do the best that they can during their statutory school years and make a smooth transition to either higher or further education, training or employment. This policy asks for the commitment of every foster carer to work alongside CSF to achieve this aim.
“As Corporate Parents …
Hertfordshire Foster Care Service is committed to promoting a learning environment within the home, enabling young people to reach their full potential from learning in school and from out of school learning opportunities.”
The fostering service requires foster carers to promote a positive attitude towards learning, recognising the value of education through informal alternative approaches as well as formal provision.
The fostering service supports foster carers to ensure that young people participate in out of school learning activities that support all-round achievement.
The fostering service supports foster carers to encourage young people to participate in formal education by providing practical and emotional support and encouragement.
The fostering service encourages foster carers to liaise with professional networks to ensure that all young people in their care have appropriate education provision that meets their needs.
The fostering service encourages foster carers to advocate on behalf of all children in foster care with regard to their educational needs.
The fostering service requires that foster carers will consult young people about any decision.
References to education policy and procedures for young people in foster care include:
Care Planning Policy and Practice, Education (SSBN 98J332) National Care Standards
The Guidance for the Education of Children and Young People in Public Care (DfES / DH)
The Hertfordshire Policy for the Education of Children in Public Care 2001
Personal Education Plan – Guidance Notes LAC Policy
1.2 In line with the requirements set out in the government guidance (The Policy for the Education of Children and Young People in Public Care 71 para 13.13)
1.3 It is the expectation that all foster carers will positively encourage learning by young people and ensure that all measures are taken in order to promote achievement, participation in out of school hours learning and celebration of their achievement and attainment.
2. Liaison between Schools, the Social Work Team and the Foster Carer
2.1 The foster carer should make contact with the young person’s school and the Designated Teacher either before or within 24 hours of a young person’s admission to the foster family to advise of changes in circumstance and to share information and to establish future liaison arrangements. The foster carer should ask the school for all correspondence with parents for the year so as not to miss important events.
2.2 It is the responsibility of the social worker to ensure that the young person’s
Personal Education and care plan should clearly state arrangements for a young person’s educational attendance, transport to school and contact names and addresses within the school. The Personal Education Plan should be also updated within 20 school days with information on the new placement The foster carer should contact their supervising social worker if this has not been arranged
2.3 The foster carer and the natural parents (where appropriate) should attend all parent’s evenings and consultation meetings
2.4 Social contact with the school is extremely important and should be
encouraged. It demonstrates an active interest in the educational progress of the young person. The foster carer should make special effort to attend events where the child is representing the school, i.e. sporting fixtures, school plays etc.
2.5 The Advisory Teacher for Children in Care should be notified by the social
worker of any change of placement. The Advisory Teacher would normally be invited to the initial planning meeting (72 hours) to ensure that the PEP is complete. The foster carer should contact their supervising social worker if this has not been arranged.
2.6 The Advisory Teacher and where appropriate the Designated Teacher will be invited to the LAC review of arrangements.
2.7 The foster carer should immediately alert the social worker/case holder and/or the Advisory Teacher to education issues and problems so that their different roles and responsibilities can be agreed.
2.8 In conjunction with the young person’s social worker/case worker, the foster
carer should immediately alert the Designated Teacher at school to any problems such as bullying who should then activate the school’s anti-bullying policy. Foster carers should be advised as to what action has been taken.
2.9 The foster carer should keep copies of reports and certificates in the
Achievement Planner (See page 11). All achievements should be recognised by the foster carer both verbally and with a small reward where appropriate. The young person’s social worker should also be informed.
2.10 Children and young people will be encouraged to attend and participate in
their LAC review of arrangements.
2.11 The foster carer will keep a weekly record of attendance at school or the
education programme on the forms provided. This information will be submitted to the supervising social worker on a monthly basis. This information will then be passed to the Corporate Parenting Officer for recording.
2.12 Information about a young person’s background history or current difficulties
should only be shared with the Designated Teacher or in their absence, a member of the Senior Management Team. The information shared with the rest of the staff team would be on a ‘need to know’ basis. The young person should be made aware of who holds this information.
2.13 The young person’s social worker should involve the foster carer in the
planning of education provision..
2.14 The foster carer needs to be aware of the rules within which a school operates in order to help the young person understand and work within them and should have a copy of all relevant school policies, eg on discipline, uniform and homework. The foster carer should be fully aware of all school holiday dates including Inset and dates of important events within the school calendar.
2.15 If a young person is really struggling at school the foster carer should consult the Advisory Teacher. As a result a referral may be made to the Educational Psychologist for Children in Care or a request made to the SENCO for the school.
2.16 With regard to school leavers, the foster carer will ensure that the young
person does not take up active employment until the school year has officially ended. This is always after the last Friday in June for young people in Year 11.
2.17 When a young person is starting a new school, it is vital that the foster carer
offers support to the young person in order to prepare them for the transition.
Prior contact with the Designated Teacher for Children in Care for the school is recommended
It is good practice for the foster carer to initiate an induction meeting with the school to introduce the case worker, the Advisory Teacher where possible and the young person’s parents where appropriate.
On the first school day the foster carer should manage the introduction between school staff and/or the Designated Teacher and the young person.
2.18 If it is felt that a young person would benefit from extra tuition or mentoring in order to raise achievement or to promote general learning, this should be discussed with the Advisory Teacher. Where extra tuition or holiday courses are made available, the foster carer will be expected to support these activities by transporting young person or positive encouragement.
2.19 The Advisory Teacher can also be consulted regarding relevant training which can be provided to foster carers in order to help them support young people in their education.
Support for Learning and Examinations
3.1 The foster carer should obtain a copy of the school or education provider’s
homework schedule and will ensure that this is complied with.
3.2 Appropriate space should be designated within the household where the
young person can do their homework. It is recommended that this space supports the principle of home study. This may be flexible depending on the needs of the young person and other young people resident within the household.
3.3 Every foster carer should acquire the resources necessary to enable a young person to do their homework well. This will include reference books, a dictionary/thesaurus, computer and appropriate software (if applicable), desk or table and stationery (paper, pens, etc) Foster Carers should actively encourage the completion of school work at home and support learning by linking out of school hours activities to the topics covered in the school curriculum, i.e theatre visits to plays studied, museum visits etc.
3.4 When a young person does not have formal homework, or in school holidays they could be provided with alternative social educational activities (out of school hours learning opportunities). The young person’s care plan will outline their needs and interests. It is the aim for Children, Schools and Families to ensure that each young person in their care has the best and most rounded education possible. Activities may include: swimming, Cubs or Brownies, visits to museums, art galleries, theatre etc. Information on available activities and general advice can be obtained either from the Participation Team (See Contacts - page 21) at County Hall, the Advisory Teacher, the Herts Direct website or the local library. Extra funding may be available for out of school hours learning activities as a result of discussion with the supervising social worker.
3.5 When the young person reaches examination times it is vital that they are
encouraged as much as possible when studying for their exams. Emotional support at this stressful time is crucial. Completion of GCSE coursework to the best standard possible will be given as work to complete at home and the foster carer will need to be aware of deadlines for handing work in and the standards expected by the school. Use of revision guides and the computer revision sites are recommended. (See Appendix 2 – Page 22).
3.6 If the foster carer considers that any special provision may be necessary for a young person in their care who may have special educational needs, they are advised to discuss the issues. The SENCO and the Advisory Teacher will decide on what support might meet the child’s needs and may arrange for an assessment.
4. Regular Supported Reading
4.1 The foster carer should encourage an ethos of reading through the purchase of papers, magazines and books for the family as a whole, reading of stories to younger children in care and the purchase of a weekly magazine for the young person.
4.2 Foster carers will make time to read to young people on a regular basis and
software, reference books, novels and all other forms of literature. Story tapes can be very useful on long car journeys.
4.4 Each young person should have a library card and the foster carer should
introduce the young person to the library at the earliest opportunity. Special provision has been made at public libraries in order to streamline access to library membership for both foster carers and looked after children. The library also has available the use of online computer equipment, photocopying and reference material. Further information can be obtained from the Young People's Services Development Librarian (See Contacts – page 21)
4.5 Children who are not in school for any reason or who are on alternative
programmes should be supplied with appropriate books and magazines and encouraged to develop opportunities to read for pleasure and information.
5. Educational Activities
5.1 It is important that foster carers provide young people with and encourage
young people to participate in as wide a range of out of school hour learning activities as possible. These will include:
Encouraging and promoting an active interest in sport through the attendance at clubs and after school activities
Attending sporting events
Playing sports with young people
Helping a young person pursue their interest in music through its appreciation or by playing an instrument
Attending regional or national events of cultural interest e.g. Chinese New Year celebrations
Involvement in a range of meetings, events concerning the care of looked after children e.g. the Hertfordshire Voice or CRAC (Children’s Rights and Action)
The young person’s personal education plan and care plan should reflect the encouragement from within the family to develop current and new interests. The Participation Team based at County Hall has specifically employed personnel in order to develop opportunities for young people in care in sport, art, leisure and cultural activities.
5.2 All children in care should have the experience of a school trip or equivalent at both primary and secondary phases. If a child does not have a school place and therefore misses out on this experience this should not disbar the child from such an activity and all efforts should be made in order to ensure the young person has experience of a residential learning environment either with the school or through an independent agency.
6. Monitoring and Support of Personal Education Plans
6.1 The foster carer will ensure that an up to date copy of the young person’s
Personal Education Plan is kept in their current file and that appropriate information from it is transferred to their care plan and acted upon.
6.2 If possible a copy of the young person’s Personal Education Plan should be
given to the foster carer prior to their placement.
6.3 The foster carer must be involved with any review of the Personal Education
Plan and should highlight any changes needed to the Advisory Teacher and social worker. Where a young person has no Personal Education Plan the foster carer should inform the supervising social worker. Clear guidance and a summary of action for the completion of the Personal Education Plan should be available from the social worker.
6.4 Foster carers must support the long term planning for the young person in the Personal Education Planning process and be aware that in years 9, 10 and 11, career planning is an integral part of the plan. The year 9,10,11 planning sheets will help to form a seamless transition to the Pathway Plan.
6.5 The Pathway Plan is a tool that is put into place with the young person by the caseholder, carer, Connexions Personal Advisor and education provider to prepare for the young person’s future participation in education, training and employment, accommodation and housing need, together with financial guidance. If a young person remains at school in the sixth form, it is recommended that a Personal Education Plan be continued alongside the Pathway Plan. All carers who look after young people over the age of sixteen should have a copy of the young person’s Pathway Plan.
For further information, refer to the Policy for the Education of Children and Young People in Public Care, The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2001, The Hertfordshire Leaving Care Policy and The Guidance Notes on the Personal Education Plan, The LAC Policy and the Social Exclusion Unit Report ‘A Better Education for Children in Care’ (2003).
7. Achievement Planner
7.1. The achievement planner is being gradually introduced to Hertfordshire foster carers. The Achievement Planner is the means by which young people can acknowledge the progress they have made in their education. It is a folder designed to accommodate certificates, commendations, good pieces of work, letters, photographs etc. that the young person may choose to keep in order to illustrate their progress within school and in all aspects of their lives. Materials are available to foster carers in order to enable them to structure the contents of the progress file with the young person.
The foster carer will ensure as often as appropriate, that all relevant evidence of achievement (certificates, photographs etc) are contained within the achievement planner for safekeeping.
The foster carer will make reference to the achievement planner at review meetings for the Personal Education Plan.
The foster carer will ensure that the achievement planner is kept safely and is passed directly to the social worker who will take responsibility to ensure that it is given to the new carer should a change of placement occur. The achievement planner is an important collection of positive information concerning the young person’s life. It will be one of the most valuable possessions of the young person and should be regarded as such.
8. The Role of Young People
8.1 Subject to age and level of ability young people will:
appropriate full school uniform that all is in good condition, clearly marked with the child’s name. On occasions when a child has mislaid items of school uniform the child will be sent to school with an explanatory note from the foster carer for the school and all efforts will be made to replace the uniform at the earliest opportunity.
9.3 It is the responsibility of the foster carer to ensure that they have detailed
knowledge of the child’s school timetable and that each child is equipped for every lesson, especially those that might require additional materials ie sports equipment or cookery.
9.4 It will be the responsibility of the foster carer to have detailed knowledge of the child’s homework diary and any out of school hours learning commitment that the child may have (after school clubs, football clubs, brownies, etc) so that the child may receive the most rounded education experience possible.
9.5 Foster carers will endeavour to arrange regular appointments such as therapy and meetings at which a young person is expected to attend out of school hours to minimise the disruption to school attendance.
9.6 Transport to and from school needs to be detailed on the young person’s
Personal Education Plan. The young person and the school need to be made aware by the foster carer of any changes in who is taking or collecting them from school. It is very important that the young person arrives at school on time.
9.7 Sickness. The foster carer should inform the school on the first morning that a young person is ill by telephone if possible. If sickness continues, depending on the nature of the illness, other professionals may need to be informed. On return to school the foster carer must provide a note for the school to cover the absence. In cases of serious illnesses, e.g. Meningitis – the school should be informed immediately, as they have their own policies to put into effect.
9.7.1 Children/young people that are ill are often pale or flushed, tired, quieter and
less active than normal and have a reduced appetite. Many illnesses are mild and over in two or three days. Children should be kept quiet and allowed to rest, offered plenty of fluids and mild analgesia when appropriate. Children that have illnesses that are not easily identified, e.g. influenza, and continue for longer than one week, should be seen by a doctor for further examination. Children who are unwell with an infectious disease should not be at school or nursery. Once they are better, they should return unless they pose a risk of infection to others.
9.7.2 This chart gives some quick guidance on the control of common and more
important infections. It is not intended to act as a guide to diagnosis. Whenever there is any doubt about the management of a particular illness, advice should be sought from an appropriately qualified health professional.
Recommended period to be kept away from school (once child is well
5 days from onset of rash
It is not necessary to wait until spots have healed or crusted.
German measles (rubella)
5 days from onset of rash
The child is most infectious before the diagnosis is made and most children should be immune due to immunisation so that exclusion after the rash appears will prevent very few cases.
Until lesions are crusted or healed
Antibiotic treatment by mouth may speed healing. If lesions can reliably be kept covered exclusion may be shortened.
5 days from onset of rash
Measles is now rare in the UK.
Outbreaks have occasionally occurred in schools and nurseries. Child can return as soon as properly treated. This should include all the persons in the household.
Warts and verrucae
Affected children may go swimming but verrucae should be covered.
Diarrhoea and/or vomiting (with or without specified diagnosis)
Until diarrhoea and vomiting has settled (neither for the previous 24 hours)
Usually there will be no specific diagnosis and for most conditions there is no specific treatment. A longer period of exclusion may be appropriate for children under age 5 and older children unable to maintain good personal hygiene.
Flu is most infectious just before and at the onset of symptoms.
Whooping cough (Pertussis)
5 days from commencing antibiotic treatment
Treatment (usually with erythroymycin) is recommended though non-infectious coughing may still continue for many weeks.
If an outbreak occurs, consult Consultant in Communicable Disease Control.
Head lice (nits)
Treatment is recommended only in cases where live lice have definitely been seen.
5 days from onset of swollen glands
The child is most infectious before the diagnosis is made and most children should be immune due to immunisation.
There are many causes, but most cases are due to viruses and do not need an antibiotic. For cases of streptococcal infection, antibiotic treatment is recommended.
9.7.3 Sometimes children and young people will pretend to be sick for a variety of
reasons, and sometimes this will need further investigation to discover the truth, by gentle questioning and encouragement. When the reason has been identified, for example bullying, it can be addressed appropriately with the school. For further information and guidance, please contact the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children. (See contacts page).
9.7.4 Some reasons for absence may be confidential. Reasons can be very
personal, e.g. morning sickness for pregnant schoolgirls etc. This type of information should not be passed on without the expressed permission of the young person.
9.8 Details of the Designated Teacher will be noted on the Personal Education
Plan for each young person. It would be helpful for the foster carer to identify themselves to the Designated Teacher for Children in Care within the school in order to create a positive framework of support for the young person. A copy of the register of Designated Teachers is available from the Corporate Parenting Office.
9.9 Holidays - Holidays will be arranged to fit in with school holiday dates.
Foster carers will be actively discouraged from taking personal holidays/respite during term-time either with or without the young person. This will avoid disruption to school and distress to the young person. This request must be treated most seriously at key points in the school calendar such as school examinations.
9.9.1 There may be exceptional circumstances when a young person has the
opportunity to go away during term-time. This request would need agreement by the Corporate Parenting Officer and will only be agreed if seen as being in the interests of the young person. A formal request needs to be made to the Headteacher for the school and the Manager for the relevant Family Placement Team to seek permission to take a holiday during term-time, who will then refer to the Corporate Parenting Officer.
9.10 A young person may be away from full-time formal education for a
Emotional distress (following trauma or emotional upheaval)
Mental health issues e.g. (depression, social phobia)
Whilst there may need to be a different approach for each of these scenario, the commitment to providing quality education for each young person will remain.
9.11 Truancy from school is :
When a young person is absent from school without their parent or carer’s knowledge or approval.
When the school has received no explanation for absence.
When the school considers the explanation is unsatisfactory and is unable to authorise the absence.
Absence from school is either authorised or unauthorised and it is the Headteacher who decides if the reason for absence is appropriate and should therefore be authorised.
9.12 In the event of school refusal, the foster carer will need to contact:
The school and ask for the Designated Teacher for Children in Care to be informed
Advisory Teacher for Children in Care,
The natural parents (where appropriate),
The social worker.
This should happen on the first day of school refusal or truancy.
If the problem persists, the foster carer will inform the Advisory Teacher for Children in Public Care within one week. The Advisory Teacher will liaise with the child and carers personally within the next week, keeping the social worker fully informed.
If there is continued absence, an education planning meeting attended by the young person, the Designated Teacher of Children in Care from the school or the most appropriate other teacher, the foster carer, the social worker and the Advisory Teacher in order to review the Personal Education Plan. The Education Welfare Service will also need to be involved.
9.13 When a Child in not in School
Educational activities for young person not in full time education will require careful planning by the social worker, foster carer and relevant Advisory Teacher.
When planning such programmes, foster carers will need to be sensitive to the reason for school absence as this may effect the approach to the young person and the content of the plan. Foster carers can provide education by:
Requesting work from the school
Requesting advice and support from the Advisory Teacher who may be able to arrange interim tuition and/or advise on alternative activities that would support education for the remainder of the school week.
Request a referral for tuition from the Hospital and Home service after 15 school days absence through illness
Request an Education Support Centre placement after 15 days absence through exclusion from school – this request can be made via the Advisory Teacher or directly to the Pupil Services Officer for the Quadrant.
9.14 Structure of the day
The structure of the day when a child is out of school will depend to a great extent on the reason for the absence. Absence through illness will be treated differently to absence through reason of exclusion from school. Common sense must prevail in the judgement of each individual scenario.
For a child who is out of school there should be a clear structure to the day with planned breaks. Access to a television set should only be allowed as part of the education programme agreed by the foster carer, Advisory Teacher and social worker. If a computer has been allocated to the foster carer to encourage attainment, this may be used with education software in order to support education. The Advisory Teacher will advise on suitable materials or available on-line learning sites. The HCC ‘Safe Surfing’ guidelines must be in place at all times.
9.15 If a young person is on long term sickness, a referral will be made to the
Hospital and Home education service by the Advisory Teacher for Children in Care in order to provide one-to-one tuition to support learning.
10. Health and Health Education
10.1 The foster carer will inform the school of any health issues regarding a young person on a ‘need to know’ basis.
10.2 If medication is to be taken into school, the foster carer will inform the
Designated Teacher or relevant other giving clear instructions regarding dosage etc. Each school has a clear policy on the administration of medication. Arrangements need to be made to ensure it is administered correctly. In consultation with the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children, only medication prescribed four or more times daily or as and when needed should be taken into school.
10.3 The Specialist Nurse for Looked After Children is available for advice on
health education issues within the home.
10.4 The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) may be involved
as part of the overall planning process for the young person. If this is the case, it will be possible that they may be able to offer guidance regarding a young person’s participation in education.
11 Young People with Special Educational Needs
11.1 The Designated Teacher is responsible for ensuring that a young person’s
special educational needs are addressed with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator within the school and are assessed under the code of practice for the identification and assessment of special education needs. The foster carer, social worker and parents should be involved in this process. Foster carers who are concerned that a special educational need is not being addressed should contact the Advisory Teacher or the Designated Teacher to discuss the issue.
11.2 The Foster Carer should alert the Advisory Teacher of any delays in
assessment or provision who will then liaise with the relevant Pupil Services Officer (See Contacts – Page 21).
11.3 The Personal Education Plan will detail the specific educational needs of a
young person and the support already provided for them. The Foster carer should have a copy of the PEP for reference.
12. The Filofax for Children in Public Care
12.1 The Filofax for children in care will be given to the young person by the social worker who will ask the foster carer to make a judgement on how the filofax is introduced. The young person will receive the filofax after they reach the age of eleven. The Filofax contains a wealth of information for the young person on every aspect of the care system. The Filofax is a resource document for the young person and the foster carer has a duty to ensure that the young person places a value on this document. The foster carer will inform the Corporate Parenting Officer if the Filofax has been destroyed or lost.
12.2 The CD-Rom version of the filofax or ‘i-fax’ will be subject to the same
introduction process. This version contains information on preparing for independence and contains translation in Widget format and Kosovan translation.
WHO DOES WHAT?
The checklist identifies the specific responsibilities of social workers/case workers and carers with regard to the education of looked after children. It could usefully be used as a list of items to be included on the agenda for a PEP meeting.
indicates who has prime responsibility. indicates a shared or lower level of responsibility.
Who initially chooses a school/early years place?
Who chooses a school at normal transfer times?
Who applies for a place?
Who appeals for a place?
Who asks the LEA to provide education while a child waits for a place?
Who buys the uniform?
Who pays for school transport?
Who signs the home school agreement?
Who ensures good time-keeping and attendance?
Who contacts the school if the child is sick:
Who checks homework diaries?
Who provides a quiet place for homework?
Who helps the child with homework?
Who helps the child join the library
Who attends parents’ evenings?
Who fixes up work experience?
Who agrees support and targets on the PEP?
Who collects a child from school/early years place?
Who signs permission slips?
Who pays for school trips?
Who buys computer equipment?
Who can become a parent governor?
Who can vote in parent governor elections?
Who can attend the governors’ annual meeting?
Who can get involved with the PTA?
Who complains about bullying?
Who asks for help for a child with special educational needs?
Who checks their individual education plan?
Who contributes to statutory assessment:
Who attends their annual review?
Who appeals to the SEN and Disability Tribunal
Who contributes to a pastoral support programme?
Who makes representations about an exclusion to school governors?
Who appeals against an exclusion to the independent appeal panel?
Who asks the LEA to provide education for a permanently excluded child?
Who asks the school to provide homework for a temporarily excluded child?
Policy on the Education of Children in Care for Foster Carers Page of January 2005