Coventry Virtual School - guidance and support
Policy and guidance
What to do when a young person comes into care
Whatever life has been like before, going into care is a traumatic experience for a young person. They may experience feelings of grief, guilt or shock in the period immediately afterwards, or sometimes later on. Often, there is little to see on the outside, and the child will come to school well cared-for and apparently happy. However, the effects of such a life-changing event should not be doubted.
What schools should do
School is often the most stable aspect of a looked after child's life, and has a crucial part to play in helping emotional wellbeing as well as planning for education:
- Make sure a meeting to write a Personal Education Plan is held within 20 working days of the child going into care - you should discuss the timing for this with the Social Worker. You may need to discuss important issues such as transport and contact with family members before this.
- Make sure there is one person who the child can talk to if they want to. Make it clear that these conversations will be confidential unless there is something so serious that it has to be passed on (as in Child Protection guidance).
- Talk to the child about the information which can be shared with others. For example, how should the foster carer be addressed? Some children prefer to call their carer a family name such as Auntie, whilst others are comfortable with other children knowing they are in care.
- Watch out for name-calling or teasing. Most looked after children remain fiercely loyal to their families and even low-level teasing can be the cause of great distress or conflict.
- Make a good relationship with the carer. If the child arrives at school in a taxi and you rarely see the carer, set up another way of communication, by telephone or home-school book, for example.
- Try to attend Looked After reviews and other meetings called by Social Care. If this is not possible, make sure that a report is sent, outlining any issues or concerns relating to education.