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Education of looked-after children

How Medway Council supports the education of young people in care

Why do looked after children frequently fail to make academic progress and achieve their full potential?

Young people and children in care are among the most vulnerable in schools. Many have experienced tremendous personal upheaval and are suffering from confusion and stress arising from physical or sexual abuse, neglect, rejection, bereavement or family breakdown.

National research and inspection has highlighted the important factors which work against the success of looked-after children at school. In the past, carers, teachers and social workers have not given sufficient priority to looked-after children’s educational progress and attainment, tending to focus more on issues relating to their care plan, parental contact and the relationship with their extended family.

Medway Council recognises that looked-after children’s needs will be better met if all the agencies supporting them work together. Its staff work together at the highest level to ensure that all aspects of planning for looked-after children are well co-ordinated. At Local Authority (LA) level, the virtual head teacher for children who are looked after works with schools, social workers and other agencies to support the attainment of all young people who are looked after. The virtual head teacher also collects information about the achievement of looked-after children, so that their progress can be tracked and appropriate actions taken. 

At school level, each school has a designated teacher for looked-after children. Training is provided by the LA to help them fulfil their vital role in giving educational and emotional support. To help teachers and social workers work together, Medway Council uses personal education plans (PEPs) for all children in public care.

Standards and practice guidance for:


For more information contact us on 01634 338592 or email school.improvement@medway.gov.uk