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AFC - Previously looked-after children
AfC Virtual School

Previously Looked-After Children

Support and advice for previously looked-after children's parents, guardians and schools

Richmond & Kingston

Admission criteria

To qualify for the highest priority, children must have been previously in the care of a local authority immediately before they were adopted under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, or became subject to a child arrangements order or special guardianship order.

Admission criteria are slightly different between Kingston and Richmond boroughs, so please read the following notes carefully.

If a child or young person has been adopted directly from care in England or Wales, they will have priority admission to Richmond and Kingston schools. Applications made under this criterion must be accompanied by details of circumstance and professionally supported evidence, for example, from a social worker. 

Children adopted from overseas are not classified as children in public care and are therefore not eligible for admission under the highest priority criterion. Parents resident in Richmond whose child has been adopted from overseas or has not been adopted directly from care can still request a priority place under the heading of exceptional family, social or medical need. The application must detail why the school concerned is the most suitable one for the individual child and this must be verified by professionally supported evidence. 

Kingston parents whose child has been adopted from overseas or has not been adopted directly from care, can also request a priority place under the criterion of  exceptional family, social or medical need as above. However, in Kingston borough priority is given to siblings, including fostered, adopted and half-siblings above that of exceptional family, social or medical need. 

Evidence required to satisfy priority admissions criteria

Parents applying for a child who was previously in the care of a local authority,  will need to provide the following evidence: 

For adopted chian adoption order made under section 46 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, including the schedule which confirms details of the date and place of birth, and the placement of the child. 

For children subject to a special guardianship order you must provide a written statement from the local authority where the child was previously in care, confirming that the child was in local authority care immediately before a special guardianship order was made and a special guardianship order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian(s), under section 14A of the Children Act 1989.

For children subject to a child arrangements order, a written statement from the local authority where the child was previously in care confirming the child was in local authority care immediately before a child arrangements order was made 19 and a child arrangements order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom the child is to live with under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (as amended by section 12 of the Children and Families Act).

To satisfy the criteria for exceptional family, social or medical need for a child adopted from overseas, parents must complete the ‘reasons for preference’ box for that school and provide reasons and supporting evidence from a relevant professional such as a doctor and/or consultant for medical cases or a social worker, health visitor, housing officer, the police or probation officer for other social circumstances. This evidence must confirm the circumstances of the case and must set out why the child can only attend a particular school and why no other school could meet the child’s needs. 

Providing evidence does not guarantee that a child will be given priority at a particular school. In each case, a decision will be made based on the merits of the case and whether the evidence demonstrates that a placement should be made at one particular school above any other. 

Family, social or medical priority would normally only be given in exceptional circumstances if the child or a close family member has an illness or disability, or if there are any other exceptional reasons that mean that one school is more suitable than another. 

All applications are considered individually and must include the following: 

• specific medical evidence that gives reasons and provides supporting information why only one school can meet a child’s individual needs. This can be from a professional such as a GP, hospital consultant or specialist or any other medical professional, social worker, educational psychologist; 

• evidence and reasons that explain the family’s exceptional circumstances, including social reasons why only one school can meet the child’s needs and why those needs cannot be met at any other school. If the requested school is not the nearest school to the child’s home address, provide clear reasons with supporting evidence to show why the nearest school is not appropriate. Evidence should make clear why only one school is appropriate and the effect on your child if they do not attend this school. Admissions do not consider reasons such as your place of work, childcare arrangements or previous family connections to be strong enough to be considered under this criterion. All applicants applying under this criterion are advised that the evidence provided to support their application must be as detailed and objective as possible.

Applications to one or more boroughs including Richmond

For Richmond borough residents who wish to apply for schools in other council areas, these schools must be included these on Richmond application so that Richmond local authority can make necessary checks to be sure that the child satisfies the criteria for being previously looked-after. This means that the schools outside Richmond will receive the application knowing that you have already satisfied these criteria. 

Moving a previously looked-after child between schools is not a decision that should be taken lightly. However, if a child moves schools outside the normal admissions round, this is known as an in-year application. When completing this application parents will need to ensure that the current school has completed Section 6 of the document. This will be sent to the receiving school so that they can have a fuller picture of the child’s strengths and needs and of support that they may need to put in place. 

AfC Admissions encourage representatives from both schools to meet with a parent applying in-year to talk about the support that the child has been receiving.