Looked After Children
A child or young person who is being cared for by their local authority is known as a ‘looked-after’ child. They might be living in a children’s home, or with foster parents, or in some other family arrangement.
Although the term used is ‘looked-after child’, this refers to any young person up to the age of 18. The child or young person may have been taken into care for a variety of reasons – for example, some children or young people may be in care because their parents cannot cope, perhaps because of illness or disability, or because of family breakdown.
The most common reason for a child to be taken into care is to protect them from abuse or neglect.
Evidence suggests that experiencing abuse or neglect (also known as maltreatment) increases the risk of a child or young person experiencing symptoms of trauma. Maltreatment is considered a major adverse childhood event (ACE) with long-term damaging effects on children and young people’s physical and mental health.
All looked-after children at King Edward's Five Ways school have a personal education plan, or PEP, which helps us to keep a record of a child’s developmental and educational needs, including any special educational needs.
The PEP brings together relevant professionals together on a termly basis to monitor a child or young person’s educational needs and progress throughout their education, setting short-term targets and longer-term plans.
We seek to support our looked after children by:
Creating a safe, caring and respectful school and classroom environment to help children and young people develop healthy, safe, reliable adult attachments and build resilience. We feel it is important that a child or young person has at least one key person here in school with whom they can form a good relationship.
Being kind, consistent and gently persevering in attempts to build relationships. Positive school/classroom relationships built on trust and security can promote a child or young person’s sense of safety and wellbeing and encourage them to open up and talk.
Helping to build children and young people’s understanding of their own thoughts, emotions and feelings; developing their self-esteem; and promoting healthy relationships and other social and emotional skills through whole-school programmes and targeted, small group work.
Being sensitive around curriculum topics such as ‘family trees’ or mother’s/father’s days, and upcoming events/celebrations at school which may trigger difficult feelings.
Developing strong partnerships with carers, local councils and specialist agencies.
Providing support at times of change and transition. We will try our best to prepare them for upcoming changes and offer extra support at the beginning and end of the term and year.
Supporting looked-after children who need extra help, either through school pastoral care, counselling support, nurture groups, school clubs, summer schemes or through referral to community-based support.
Mrs Licia Tolley is Five Ways' Designated Looked After Children Officer, with responsibility in managing the provision for our looked after students.
Parents and carers can contact Mrs Tolley via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by telephone (0121 475 3535).