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7.2 Residential Education Policy

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Educational Achievement For Looked After Children

‘As corporate parents, local authorities must demonstrate the strongest possible commitment to helping every looked after child, wherever they are placed, to achieve the highest possible educational standards the child possibly can. This includes supporting their aspirations so that they have all the help necessary to progress into further and higher education.’ (2.114 - Children Act 1989 – Guidance and Regulations, Volume 5: Children’s Homes).

This chapter was added to the manual in May 2013.


Contents

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Introduction
  3. Regular School Attendance
  4. New Placements
  5. School Refusal/Truancy/Non - Attendance
  6. Support for Homework and Learning
  7. Regular Supported Reading
  8. Monitoring and Support of Personal Education Plans
  9. Liaison Between Schools, Families and Residential Homes
  10. Health and Health Education
  11. The Role of Young People
  12. Educational Activities
  13. Young People with Special Educational Needs
  14. Work Experience, Interviews / College / Training / Employment
  15. Useful Links


1. Mission Statement

"As Corporate Parents of Nottingham City Council, the home, Children and Family Services are committed to promoting a learning culture to enable young people to gain maximum life chances from formal and informal education."

  • We have high expectations for the young people we look after;
  • We aim to support young people to manage formal educational placements, by providing practical and emotional support, and learning opportunities;
  • We will liaise with professional networks to ensure that all young people in our care have appropriate education provision that meets their needs;
  • We will advocate on behalf of all young people with regards to their educational needs;
  • We will promote a positive attitude to education recognising the value of learning through informal alternative approaches as well as formal provision. This includes the wider curriculum and out of school hours provision;
  • We will consult young people in decisions about their education;
  • We will ensure that no young people are discriminated against because of their age, gender, ethnicity, ability or any other factor, and that all young people have the support to achieve their potential. Any act of discrimination will be challenged.


2. Introduction

At the home, we follow the requirements and guidelines set out in the Government Guidance (Policy for the Education of Children in Public Care) these provisions cover;

All staff will positively promote the education of young people


3. Regular School Attendance

All young people are expected to attend school, college or an apprenticeship and there will be a proactive approach from staff to achieve this.

3.1 Each evening shift will identify a member of staff (or the staff on lone duty) to be responsible for assisting a young person to get ready for school the next morning. Uniform and other items will be prepared the night before wherever possible.
3.2 Details of equipment that a young person needs to take to school on any particular day, is listed in their weekly plan, i.e. sportswear, cooking ingredients, completed homework.
3.3 Details of a young person’s uniform requirement are included in a young person’s residential placement plan.
3.4 Staff endeavours to arrange regular appointments such as personal and professional reviews and meetings at which a young person is expected to attend out of school hours to minimise the disruption to school attendance.
3.5 On occasions it may be needed for a member of staff to accompany a young person to school and remain with them as part of a support package (e.g. introductions to a new school). This would be in agreement with all parties involved.


4. New Placements

4.1 When a young person joins the home as planned move, the Virtual School will be informed as soon as possible in advance, so that an educational package can start as soon as the young person arrives.
4.2

Once an educational placement is established, residential staff:

  • Inform the Virtual School of the placement;
  • Do all they can to ensure the young person attends e.g. provision of transport;
  • Contact relevant agencies, Connexions etc, as appropriate, to work with the young person;
  • Involve other agencies as necessary to provide support.


5. School Refusal/Truancy/Non - Attendance

5.1

A young person may be away from full time formal education for a number of reasons:

  • Exclusion from school (permanent or fixed term);
  • Sick or ill young people (long term);
  • No full time provision available;
  • Bullying;
  • Emotional distress (following trauma or emotional upheaval);
  • Mental health issues (e.g. depression or social phobia);
  • Truancy.
A different approach may be needed for each scenario. The commitment to providing quality education will remain the same.
5.2

In the event of school refusal staff at the home will contact:

  • The Designated Teacher for the school;
  • The Virtual School;
  • The parents (where appropriate);
  • The Social Worker.

The above will happen on the first day of refusal / truancy / non-attendance.

If there is continued absence an educational planning meeting will take place, attended by the young person, the key-worker, the Designated Teacher, the Social Worker, Education Welfare Officer and the Virtual School in order to review the Personal Education Plan. Strategies will be put in place to re-integrate the young person back into education. 

In exceptional circumstances when a young person is at home the Virtual School will liaise with residential staff at the home to organise a short-term programme. This will include:

  • The young person being supervised during the activities organised for the day;
  • The educational activities provided at the home will prioritise literacy and numeracy skills;
  • There will be a clear structure to the day with planned breaks;
  • No access to television in school hours except as part of the educational programme;
  • A room will be provided where a young person is able to work with minimal disruption;
  • A computer will be available to young people. The school will provide suitable material.
5.3 When a young person is on the roll of a school, the school will have the key responsibility for providing suitable educational resources/work for the young person to complete if declared to be long term sick.


6. Support for Homework and Learning

6.1 All staff at the home will be responsible for creating an environment that will support and encourage learning. This will value and support the young person’s personal development and achievement and acknowledge the value of education with a positive experience.
6.2 Where a young person does not have formal homework, alternative social and cultural educational activities will be provided where this is felt appropriate. In line with their care plans which will outline their needs. Social and cultural educational activities might include: - swimming, visits to museums, art galleries and independent learning such as, budgeting through shopping or opening library accounts.
6.3 At the home a young person's residential key-worker will obtain a copy of the school or education providers' homework schedule, which will then be placed in a young person's current file and entered on to their weekly plan.
6.4 Staff at the home, are responsible for acquiring the basic resources necessary to enable a young person to do homework; this may include reference books, computer programmes, desks and stationery. The home will also ensure that any computer equipment is made available as a priority for the completion of homework; this could be met through library access.
6.5 Staff will make space and time available for young people studying for exams. As it is understood that support at this time is crucial. The home is responsible for ensuring there is adequate revision material and will promote access to suitable revision courses run by either the school or the Virtual School. Staff will contact the school or college for a copy of a young person's examination timetable.
6.6 Staff at the home are responsible for considering any special provision that may be necessary for young people with identified special educational needs to complete their homework, such as the provision of computers for young people with Specific Learning Difficulties, to liaise with the relevant organisations and also the use of interpreters for those young people where English is not their first language.
6.7 During school holidays, staff at the home will endeavour to provide a range of social and learning educational opportunities for young people.


7. Regular Supported Reading

7.1 Young people at the home will be encouraged to buy books for them selves to read and keep.
7.2 The home will encourage an ethos of reading, through the purchase of papers, magazines and books for the home as a whole, reading of stories to young people and the purchase of a weekly magazine for each young person. A range of magazines should be provided to cover a variety of needs and interests.
7.3 Staff will make time to read to, and with young people and should encourage young people to read to them.
7.4 Story tapes may be used as an alternative to books.
7.5 Each young person should be encouraged to have a library card and staff should promote the use of the library for reading material/reference books for schoolwork, music, computer and internet use.


8. Monitoring and Support of Personal Education Plans

8.1 The home’s residential key-workers will ensure that a current copy of the young person's Personal Education Plan is kept in their current file and that appropriate information from it is transferred to their Residential Placement Plan. The key-worker will liaise with the social worker and/or Designated Teacher to ensure this happens within 20 school days of a child being admitted to the home.
8.2 The residential key-worker will be involved with any review of the Personal Educational Plan and to highlight any required changes to the Designated Teacher and Social Worker. Where a young person has no Personal Education Plan the first port of call will be the young person’s social worker to liaise with the school/education provision.
8.3 Staff will support young people with the development and implementation of their Personal Education Plans.


9. Liaison Between Schools, Families and Residential Homes

9.1 Staff at the home will contact a young person's school and the Designated Teacher either before, or within 24 hours of a young person's admission or move within care, to advise of changes in circumstances, to share information and to establish future liaison arrangements.
9.2 A member of staff (key-worker or other) and a parent, where appropriate, will attend all parents' evenings and consultation meetings and where possible other school activities.
9.3 The residential key-worker at the home has lead responsibility within the Home for liaison with education providers. Regular, informal contact is extremely important as it demonstrates an active interest in the educational progress of our young people.
9.4 A member of the Virtual School and social worker will be invited to attend the young person's pre-admissions or the post placement (72hr) meetings.
9.5 The Designated Teacher, and where appropriate the Virtual School and Social Worker can be invited to the young person’s looked after review.
9.6 The young person's Care Plan will clearly state arrangements for a young person's educational attendance, transport arrangements and contact names and addresses within the school.
9.7 Where appropriate the home will encourage the young person's parents to be actively involved in their education. Parents will be informed of significant dates in the school calendar and achievements of the young person.
9.8 The residential key-worker will immediately alert the Social Worker and the Virtual School to educational issues and problems so that their respective roles and responsibilities can be agreed.
9.9 In conjunction with the young person's Social Worker, the home will immediately alert the school to any instances of bullying.
9.10 The home will keep copies of records of achievement, certificates and progress files. All achievements are recognised by staff verbally and the young person's Social Worker will also be informed.
9.11 Young people will be encouraged to attend and participate in their Looked After Reviews. See Nottingham City Children’s Services Procedures, Looked After Reviews Procedure.
9.12 Information about a young person's background history or current difficulties will only be shared with the Designated Teacher or in their absence another appropriate person. The information shared with the rest of the staff team would be on a need to know basis. Young people will be made aware of who holds such information.
9.13 The young person's Social Worker will be involved in the planning and implementation of educational provision and will ensure that the Personal Education Plan is completed and in place.
9.14 Communication between members of staff at the home is essential to ensure plans are implemented effectively and to avoid too many people being involved in checking up/advising the young people over the same issue i.e. homework.
9.15 Staff at the home will be aware of the rules within which a school operates in order to help the young person understand and work within them.
9.16 With regard to school leavers, staff will ensure that the young people do not take up active full-time employment until the school year has officially ended.
9.17 Staff will be fully aware of all school holiday dates. A clear note is made in the main diary.
9.18 Staff at the home will attend any meetings or inductions that the Designated Teacher arranges when a young person is starting a new school or college along with the young person's Social Worker the Virtual School and the young person's parents where appropriate.


10. Health and Health Education

10.1 Staff at the home will inform the school of any health issues regarding a young person on a need to know basis.
10.2 If medication is to be taken into school, staff at the home will inform the Designated Teacher or relevant other staffs’s, giving clear instructions regarding dosage etc. Taking into account each school has a clear policy on the administration of medication. Clear arrangements will be made to ensure it is administered correctly. In consultation with the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children, only medication prescribed four or more times daily or "as and when needed" will be taken into school.
10.3 Staff at the home work alongside the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children, and promote Health Education within the Home.


11. The Role of Young People

11.1

Subject to the age and level of ability, young people at the home will be expected to:

  • Prepare for school / college (e.g. uniforms, books);
  • Attend school/educational resource as required;
  • Take advantage of all the different educational opportunities offered to them;
  • Raise relevant issues regarding their education, particularly when there are problems at school/ college;
  • With the help of an advocate where required, attend and contribute to their Reviews and Personal Education Plan;
  • Complete homework as required;
  • Pass all school letters, forms and information to staff at the home;
  • Participate in behaviour monitoring programmes where appropriate.


12. Educational Activities

At the home Care Plans reflect that then young people are being encouraged to develop current and new interests with projects to develop opportunities for young people to become involved in sport and cultural activities.

12.1

It is important that staff at the home provide young people with and encourage young people to participate in as wide a range of educational activities as possible. This will include:

  • Encouraging an active interest in sport through the regular attendance at clubs and after school activities;
  • Attending sports events;
  • Playing sports with the young people;
  • Helping a young person pursue their interest in music through its appreciation or by playing an instrument;
  • Visiting art galleries and museums;
  • Attending the theatre and cinema;
  • Attending regional or national events of cultural interest e.g. Chinese New Year celebrations.
12.2 There is a commitment to encourage and enable young people to attend trips/holidays organised by the school. This may at times require a staff member to accompany the young person.


13. Young People with Special Educational Needs

13.1 The Designated Teacher is responsible with the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) for the school, for ensuring that a young person's special educational needs are assessed under the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. The Social Worker, Key workers and parents will be involved in this process.
13.2 The Personal Education Plan will give details of the needs of a young person and support already provided for them and will provide the rationale for planning future action (i.e. extra tuition) and will note all achievements.
13.3 Staff at the home will check all care plans and personal education plans to assist in the needs of any young person with in their care, they will also liaise with the designated teacher and relevant organisations if they is any concern in relation to their needs.


14. Work Experience, Interviews / College / Training / Employment

14.1 All young people in Key Stage 4 will be offered the opportunity of work experience. Communication between Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) (Connexions), School and the home, is essential if the placement is to run smoothly.
14.2 The home will ensure that the young person is dressed appropriately and is responsible for arranging transport to and from the placement. It is understood that it can be a stressful experience for a young person and they will require additional support, i.e. being taken there on the first day.
14.3 Key-workers will be responsible for supporting and preparing young people for job/college interviews and will ensure that they arrive in good time.
14.4 The home recognises the additional support and guidance through the process given from The Virtual School/IAG (Connexions) and Social Worker.
14.5 Staff at the home in partnership with the Virtual School, Social Worker and Personal Adviser will provide on-going support and encouragement in post 16 placements. If a young person is experiencing difficulties, and is at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) they will work with the relevant agencies and providers to address barriers to engagement.
14.6

Young people who are at the home who are NEET will receive intensive support and guidance to identify a career pathway in a bid to secure education, employment or training. This will be coordinated by the young person's Social Worker.

Nottingham Colleges and Nottingham City Council provide additional support and guidance for looked after children and care leavers. There are access courses that young people can enrol on and provide them with the necessary skills and qualifications to ensure progression into recognised careers.


15. Useful Links

Nottingham City Council Education Policy - to follow.

The Virtual Schools Nottingham City thevirtualschool@nottinghamcity.gov.uk or call on 0115 8764692.

Peps
If you have any queries please contact Paula Harrison (Admin) on 0115 8764692 Personal Education Plans. peps@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

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