Best Practice

Supporting looked after children in your school

Specific support for looked after children is essential if they are to thrive. Darren Martindale focuses on three key elements – the designated teacher, the Personal Education Plan, and the virtual school head

The barriers faced by children in care, or looked after children (LAC), are manifold and well-documented.

Despite their best efforts, the care system is always under strain and frequent changes of carer or social worker can erode these children’s – already fragile – trust.
In comparison to their peers, LAC are statistically more likely to have complex social or emotional needs as result of the trauma, abuse or neglect they have experienced (an area discussed in more depth in my previous article – Attachment-aware schools, SecEd, September 2018).

The professionals working with them may lack the skills or resources to meet those needs. This can compound some children’s feelings of exclusion or isolation, damaging their already low self-esteem. Comparatively high levels of SEND among the cohort, alongside gaps in their education prior to coming into care, sometimes also leave them lagging behind their peers.

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