School Governor for Children in Care
Supporting the Designated Teacher
The role of the School Governor
The governing bodies of all maintained schools are required under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 to appoint a Designated Teacher to promote the educational achievement of looked after children who are on the school roll.
Key Responsibilities of the School Governor
The school governors at the educational placement have a duty and responsibility to ensure that their school keeps the education of children in care as a high priority and that an experienced teacher is appointed as a designated teacher for children in care within their school.
- The governing body must ensure that the designated teacher undertakes appropriate training
- As a minimum governors must receive an annual report from the designated teacher
- The governing body and school leadership team have a duty to act on any issues raised with the report.
- Resources are allocated to match priorities for children in care
- How children in care are performing compared with their peers
- The numbers of children in the school who are in care
- The school has considered including raising the attainment of children in care in the school improvement plan?
The governing body should ensure that the Designated Teacher is a member of the teaching staff with appropriate seniority, professional experience and status to provide leadership, training, information and advice to others that will influence decisions about the teaching and learning needs of children in care. Where the Designated Teacher is not a member of the senior leadership team, a member of the team should be designated as a champion of children in care issues to work closely with the Designated Teacher.
Governing bodies and the school leadership team should also make sure that the Designated Teacher role contributes to the deeper understanding of everyone in the school who is likely to be involved in supporting children in care to achieve.
The governing body should ensure that:
Children in Care are at the top of the over-subscription criteria
- The school has an overview of the educational needs and progress of children in care
- School policies have been reviewed from the point of view of children in care
Support Professional Development
- The designated teacher for children in care has the opportunity to attend training offered by the local authority for designated teachers
- There is a clear policy on professional development for all staff in contact with children in care and other vulnerable children
The information you should know or your school should be able to give you quickly:
- The name of the designated teacher for children in care
- What safeguards the school has in place for sharing sensitive information about individual looked after children with relevant staff members
- What the procedure is for liaising with carers, residential children’s homes and social services to ensure that the school has relevant information about a child’s care history
- How the child’s achievements are effectively communicated to the carer
Personal Educational Plans (PEPs)
Procedures are in place to ensure all children in care have up-to-date PEPs.
How we will know if the role is being fulfilled?
Indicators which demonstrate that the role is being implemented efficiently and is making a real difference include ensuring that:
- the school has a clear overview of the educational needs and progress of children in care on roll
- the school's policies are effective in reflecting the needs of children in care
- resources are allocated to support the Designated Teacher to carry out this role effectively for the benefit of children in care
Report to the Governors
As part of the arrangements for monitoring the effectiveness of the role, governing bodies should, as a minimum, receive an annual report from the Designated Teacher (see related documents on the right). The report should enable the governing body to make overall judgements about the Designated Teacher role in the context of wider school planning in relation to:
- any workload issues arising as a result of the number of children in care on roll at the school and the number of local authorities which are involved
- levels of progress made by children in care who are currently or have been on roll within the past twelve months in relation to all children at the school (i.e. educational, social and emotional progress)
- whether the pattern of attendance and exclusions for children in care is different to that of all children;
- any process or planning issues arising from personal education plans (ePEPs)
- whether any are identified as gifted and talented and how those needs are being met
- whether any have special educational needs (SEN) and whether those needs are being met through, EHCP's, statements or School Action or School Action Plus (My Plan and My Plan+)
- how the teaching and learning needs of children in care are reflected in school development plans and are being met in relation to interventions and resources;
- training provided for the Designated Teacher in order to impart knowledge and understanding about the education and well-being of children in care to colleagues
- work with virtual school heads or their equivalents in local authorities
- the impact of any of the school's policies, for example on charging for educational visits and extended school activities, on children in care.
To protect a child's need for confidentiality, it is important to ensure that the report does not mention individual children by name.
The governing body and school leadership team should then consider what picture this information is providing and what needs to be done to address any issues raised by the reports in relation to:
- whether the Designated Teacher has sufficient time and resources to carry out their role effectively
- any training, support and development needs required to ensure the role can be carried out effectively
- the extent to which school policies take account of the particular needs of children in care
- whether the school is making the fullest possible use of all available resources, such as one-to-one tuition, in order to provide the maximum opportunity for children in care to achieve two levels of progress within a Key Stage.
In addition to considering and acting on an annual report, school governing bodies should make sure that there are arrangements in place to keep themselves informed about provision for, and attainment of, children in care on the school's roll on a more regular basis.