Children in care

The law

'Children in care' are children the council has provided a place to stay for more than 24 hours. These children and young people are also called ‘looked after children’ (LAC).

Councils have parenting responsibilities for children in care and are responsible for educating them. School teachers play a key role in raising their attainment.

Children can only be taken into care if the court makes a legal order.

Advice and support for children in care

Monitoring and support

Teachers of children in care monitor and support their progress in school.

Extra support

Children in care can also get extra advice and support from the:

  • ‘Looked After Children’ Education team on 020 8356 3610;
  • post 16, through the Leaving Care team on 020 7249 1010; and
  • Head of the Virtual School for Children in Care on 020 8820 7227.

Specialist advice

We also work with the child or young person's social worker and other agencies to give specialist advice on:

  • attendance;
  • vulnerable pupils; and
  • special needs.

Education monitoring of looked after children

We send this form to schools with 'looked after children' in July or September every year. Schools must send it back in October for the teacher to complete.

How we use your information

The information is confidential, but we summarise it to provide data for government on education achievements and related areas.

Personal education plans

What is a personal education plan (PEP)?

A PEP is a record of a pupil's progress and achievements. It sets up goals and involves:

  • The school
  • The pupil
  • The carer
  • The social worker

Setting up the plan

Social workers set up PEPs and update them every 6 months.

Designated teachers for children in care

A designated teacher (DT) can be the Headteacher or a school senior manager.

Role and responsibilities

  • Knowing: keeping a register, details on children's progress and meeting them regularly
  • Championing: making sure the child has access to the curriculum, set challenging targets and participates in extra curricular activities
  • Advocating: mediating with other teachers, liaising with other schools and social workers, and checking levels of support and intervention so the child can reach their potential
  • Monitoring: attendance, exclusions, academic progress
  • Celebrating: record and celebrate achievements

10 key points

The DT's responsibilities to children in care are to:

  • have an overview of the progress of each child in care;
  • be responsible for overseeing the personal education plan in the required time scales;
  • understand the role of schools as corporate parents;
  • have insight into the care experience for the child;
  • challenge any negative attitudes towards them;
  • uphold principles of high expectations and inclusion;
  • arrange an induction meeting with all parties before school starts;
  • involve the child in plans, targets, agreements etc;
  • be available to listen to them;
  • take action to support them in their education;
  • take part in education placement, making sure this is as smooth as possible to reduce any breaks in studies;
  • raise awareness of the needs of them with staff and other agencies;
  • be able to transfer information properly between agencies;
  • have good relationships with carers and social workers;
  • provide updates within timescales set by law; and
  • get on-going training and support.


Head of Virtual School for Children in Care

020 8820 7227

Leaving Care Team

020 7249 1010

Looked After Children Education Team

020 8356 3610
This page was last modified on: 23 Mar 2024