Prior to 2018, the remit of AfC Virtual school was to champion the education of all children looked-after who had come into care in the boroughs of Kingston, Richmond and The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM).
The Children and Social Work Act (2017) has now enhanced funding provision and support for previously looked-after children. These are children who are no longer looked after by a local authority because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order.
As a result of this legislation, local authorities and schools now have a additional duty to promote the educational achievement of previously looked-after children. These children and their parents must have access to a Designated Teacher in your school. They will also have access to the AfC Virtual School for advice and support and to champion their education.
All funding for looked-after children is paid directly to AfC Virtual School who act as corporate parent with respect to their education. Funding for previously looked-after children, however, is allocated directly to each individual school where they are being educated.
Due to the pressures of their early lives and complex needs, adopted children are far more likely than their peers to have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) and to attend specialist provisions (Gore, Langton & Boy, 2017). About 40% of adopted children will experience significant emotional and behaviour challenges (Biehal et al., 2010).
In their report, Bridging the gap: giving adopted children an equal chance in school adoption UK, Adoption UK conducted a survey of emotional wellbeing at school. Almost 4,000 adoptive parents and children responded.
79 per cent of children who responded feel routinely ‘confused and worried at school’;
Almost 70 percent of parents who responded feel their child’s progress in learning is affected by problems with their emotional wellbeing in school;
Almost three quarters of young respondents agreed: “Other children seem to enjoy school more than me”;
Two thirds of secondary age children who responded said they felt bullied at school for being adopted;
Three quarters of young respondents said they did not feel their teachers understand how to support them.
Adoption UK affirm that previously looked-after children are more likely to be excluded, to leave school with fewer qualifications and more likely to have social, emotional and mental health needs. They argue that both the academic attainment and the mental health of this group of children is being put at risk if education professionals are not well-trained enough to support them effectively. Being able to draw upon financial resources can also be of significant help to your school in funding therapeutic interventions and support staff.
The AfC Virtual School is committed to providing training for school governors and information and signposting about available services and resources. Please contact us on 0208 831 6037 or email email@example.com.
In partnership with Achievement for All, we provide a free only resource for designated teachers, which is also suitable for governors at https://afaeducation.org/free-dt-resources/
We also provide a free subscription to The Adopter Hub for your designated teacher, offering resources and training, which can be shared amongst other members of staff. Please contact Paul.Chapman2@achievingforchildren.org.uk for more details.