All carers and parents want the best for their children and getting the right education for them is an important part of that expectation. For a child in the care of the local authority, education can be fraught with difficulties caused by upheavals and upsets in the child’s life.
Additionally, there may be confusion among those with parenting responsibilities about who does what. Understanding who makes important decisions, such as choosing a pre-school setting, school or college, and who supports a young person throughout school and beyond compulsory education can be crucial to their life chances.
Responsibilities of carers include supporting and promoting the education of children in the care of the local authority, to attend multi-agency training, attend Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings and work alongside the education setting to get the best possible outcomes for the children.
When a child is in care, the local authority assumes ‘corporate responsibility’ for them. This would involve a multi-agency approach as required. This support also includes all those in schools that have responsibility, from senior managers and governors to teachers and practitioners.
Evidence suggests that continuity of schooling is fundamental to a child’s chances of success. When children come into care or changes placement, social workers should try to ensure minimum disruption to the existing school placement which offers stability in a child’s life.
If a change of school is being considered it is essential for the social worker to liaise with the Virtual School so that the most appropriate setting to meet the needs of the child is identified. This means starting with the child and his or her needs.