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AFC - Previously looked-after children
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Previously Looked-After Children

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

Strategies to reduce the risk of exclusion

  • Review your behaviour policy and reflect on whether it's sufficiently flexible to  respond to the needs of looked after and previously looked after children's challenging behaviour in the most effective way, particularly in the light of their wellbeing and readiness to learn.
  • Be sensitive in sharing information about children who are looked after. Most children do not want to be identified by their peers as looked after.
  • Maintain regular contact with carers, encouraging high expectations of looked after and previously looked after children and what they can achieve.
  • Keep the child’s social worker informed if there are concerns about attendance.
  • Encourage other professionals to hold statutory meetings/reviews out of school hours.
  • Raise aspirations of looked after and previously looked after children by offering lots of opportunities for children to develop their strengths and talents. This has been identified as one of the key factors that lead to looked after and previously looked after children succeeding educationally (Happer et al 2006).
  • Encourage involvement in school activities outside school hours such as visits, outdoor activities, sports, drama, art or any other club that might interest the young person.
  • Encourage carers and young people to attend informal activities at the school such as plays, concerts, social events and sporting activities.
  • Use positive rewards such as vouchers, day trips or token rewards such as stars or virtual points for improved attendance and punctuality. In the short term, these may not be the usual targets that other pupils are expected to achieve. Set realistic targets for the looked after or previously looked after to achieve the rewards, avoid sanctions and punishment in the traditional sense.  .
  • Consider reduced hours or phased returns especially after a traumatic event. However, the expectation must be that the child will return to full attendance over time.
  • Provide a consistent adult in school for the child to have regular, easy contact with. This needs to be someone that the child likes, trusts and respects. Ideally this child will choose who this key person should be. The relationship should be a long term one: try to choose an adult who is likely to remain in the school for a long time.  This key person does not have to be the Designated Teacher.  The aim is to develop a relationship with an adult who focuses on the child’s personal, emotional and academic needs.
  • Consider peer mentoring. This provides a supportive social relationship for the child with a person of their own age
  • Counselling is offered by many schools. Working through some of the complex factors that affect school attendance can be helpful.
  • Ensure that all stakeholders working with the children are operating in a coherent way, placing a high priority on school attendance, wellbeing and achievement.
  • Ensure that the needs of looked after and previously looked after children are specifically addressed in school development planning and clear in school policies and procedures. Whilst generic support may be appropriate for some children, others will have complex needs and require tailored support and a flexible approach to school systems and procedures.  Planning needs to be proactive, rather than reactive.
  • Offer training on the needs of looked after ad previously looked after children to school staff, so that the day to day experience of the young person supports their needs.

Taken from the website: