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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

Support for Designated Teachers

As a Designated Teacher, you fulfil a statutory responsibility on behalf of  your school to be prepared and trained to receive a previously looked-after child (or child looked-after) at any point during the school year. This is a crucial role as you will need to manage a supportive induction to your school. for that child.  You will also be an advocate for all previously looked-after children and responsible for ensuring that whole-school policies, practices and procedures do not disadvantage previously looked-after children in any way.

As a point of contact for parents, guardians and other members of staff, you may also benefit from support from other agencies, such as the Virtual School. AfC Virtual School can offer you training, advice and resources to assist you in your role. The statutory guidance issued by the DfE for previously looked-after and looked-after children is also available as a download at the foot of this page.

According to the Adoption UK report The Adoption Barometer (July 2019), 59% of parents do not know who is in the role of Designated Teacher at their child's school. Don't miss out on an opportunity raise your profile with parents part of your role of advocating for previously looked-after children. 

Our training offer for DT can be found in the Training and Events pages of this website. Please take advantage of our termly designated teacher forums in each borough. If you are not able to attend the forum on a particular date for your local authority, you will be warmly welcomed at one of the other forums. 

The DT should also take responsibility for helping all school staff to understand the types of circumstances that can adversely affect how previously looked-after children learn and achieve, such as neglect, abuse or inadequate support by their birth families. This will enable the school as a whole to create a supportive environment for all care experienced children. As a DT you should be attachment-aware and be able to explain to others how children who have unmet attachment needs may find it difficult to build and maintain relationships with their peers and with adults due to the emotional, psychological and social effects of loss and separation from birth families. Designated Teachers must also actively seek alternatives to exclusions, as these can have disastrous consequences for the life-chances of previously looked after children. The DT may also consider facilitating an adoption group for parents and carers within the school.

As a Virtual school, we offer free annual subscriptions for designated teachers and for parents and guardians to a resource called The Adopter Hub, which you can access here: To subscribe, please contact for more details. The adopter hub has a wealth of resources about attachment, education and a regular programme of webinars on subjects relevant to adoption and education. Designated teachers may want to let adoptive parents know about this helpful resource, which is confidential, anonymous and provides peer-to-peer supports to parents. 

 You will find further resources to support you in your role as designated teacher to the left hand side of this page. Please let us know if there are topics that you would like us to feature on these pages. You can contact our team at or on 0208 831 6037.