Many children in care have suffered disruptive learning and may have missed extended periods of school. The gaps in their learning – and in many cases the emotional impact of their experiences – are likely to have become significant barriers to their progress.

Extract from: The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after children: Statutory guidance for school governing bodies.  (DfE 2009)

Statutory framework

Section 20 of the Children and Young Person’s Act 2008 places a duty on the governing body to designate a member of staff (designated teacher) as having responsibility to promote the educational achievement of Children in Care who are registered pupils at the school. This includes those aged between 16 and 18.

The role of the governing body:

  • to appoint a designated teacher, who is a qualified teacher and preferably a member of the senior leadership team
  • to ensure that the designated teacher undertakes appropriate training
  • as a minimum, governors must consider an annual report from the designated teacher which contains the information described in section 2.10 of the guidance

Alongside the senior leadership team, the governing body should consider the report and act on any issues it raises so as to support the designated teacher and maximise the impact of the role.

Chapter 2 of the statutory guidance sets out the role of the governing body. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 outline:

  • the role of the designated teacher within school
  • the role of the designated teacher in developing the personal education plan (PEP)
  • the relationship of the designated teacher to others beyond the school

The statutory guidance also provides a helpful glossary to help governors and designated teachers understand some of the terms that will be encountered in relation to Children in Care.  There is a comprehensive checklist of questions to help develop and review school policy and practice as well as a list of key documents at the time of publishing the guidance which governing bodies are likely to find most useful.

In addition to the statutory guidance, governing bodies are steered by the ‘School Inspection Handbook’ with particular reference within the inspection framework to the leadership and management of vulnerable children.

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