From 1 September 2009 the governing bodies of all maintained schools were required under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (the 2008 Act) to appoint a Designated Teacher to promote the educational achievement of looked after children who are on the school roll.
Who can be a Designated Teacher for looked after children?
The Designated Teacher for looked after children must be:
- A qualified teacher working at the school as a teacher OR
- A headteacher or acting headteacher
Most of the tasks of the role can be delegated to a competent member of staff but the Designated Teacher is accountable for looked after children at the school.
What must the designated teacher do?
- Promote a culture of high expectation
- Make sure the young person has a voice in setting targets
- Be a source of advice for staff
- Prioritise looked after children for 1:1 tuition
- Support and communicate with carers
- Lead on the development and implementation of the PEP
- Monitor progress children if they leave care.
- Produce a report for governors at least once a year. (see related items on the right)
NB By all means carry out PEP reviews at the same time as other reviews e.g. SEN annual reviews.
The role of the designated teacher in developing the personal education plan (PEP)
All looked after children must have a PEP as part of their overall care plan. In Gloucestershire, PEPs for school age children are electronic. The PEP is a shared document which includes the information that everyone needs to help their conversations, planning and the delivery of strategies required to make sure the child gets the support and provision needed to succeed.
The Designated Teacher leads on how the PEP is used as a tool in school to make sure the child's progress towards education targets is monitored. S/he makes sure that it is updated and available in time for the local authority review of the child's wider care plan. For each statutory review of the care plan the PEP must include:
- any new information about progress towards education targets since the last PEP review
- information about what has not been taken forward.
The relationship of the designated teacher to others beyond the school
The Designated Teacher has a key role in making sure there is a central point of initial contact within the school who can manage the process of how the school engages with others (e.g. social workers, virtual school heads), works in a joined up way and minimises disruption to the child's education.
The Designated Teacher should make sure that:
- There is an agreed process in place for how the school works with others in focusing on how everyone contributes to promoting the child's educational achievement;
- School policies (e.g. around Home School Agreements) are communicated to social workers and carers;
- The school does everything possible to maximise educational stability for the child, especially by finding ways of sharing information through the PEP and in providing advice to the local authority about the impact of disrupting education.