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DfE publishes new guidance on education of looked after children

Local authorities’ duties detailed

The Department for Education has published revised statutory guidance on the education of looked after children in England.

The revised guidance details the duty on local authorities and Virtual School Heads (VSH) to promote the educational achievement of the children they look after, including those placed out of authority.

This guidance replaces statutory guidance issued in March 2010 and reflects the now statutory nature of the VSH role. Some of the key duties in the guidance include local authorities ensuring that VSHs are in place and that they have the resources, time, training and support they need to discharge the duty effectively.

Local authorities must also have robust procedures in place to monitor the attendance and educational progress of the children their authority looks after, and Children in Care Councils should regularly share the educational experiences and issues raised by looked after children.

Areas also covered in the guidance are pupil premiums, school admission, school exclusions and supporting transitions from care.

Dr Lucy Peake, director of the Fostering Network, said:

"Children who are looked after away from their parents can often need additional support in school, and it is pleasing that the Government is using virtual heads to help ensure that this can happen in England.

"If local authorities can meet their responsibilities, then this is a very positive step forward in ensuring that all our children receive a rounded and thorough education."

The guidance is here.

30/7/14