School governors role

Supporting the Designated Teacher

Statutory framework

The governing bodies of all maintained schools are required under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 to appoint a Designated Teacher to promote the educational achievement of looked after children who are on the school roll.

Key responsibilities

School governors at the educational placement have a duty and responsibility to ensure that their school keeps the education of children in care as a high priority and that an experienced teacher is appointed as a Designated Teacher for  looked after children within their school.

The governing body must make sure that:

  • the Designated Teacher undertakes appropriate training
  • they receive an annual report from the Designated Teacher
  • they, and school leadership team, act on any issues raised within the report
  • resources are allocated to match priorities for looked after children
  • they review how looked after children are performing compared with their peers
  • they know the numbers of children in the school who are in care
  • the school has considered including raising the attainment of looked after children in the school improvement plan

Governors and the Designated Teacher

The governing body should make sure that the Designated Teacher is a member of the teaching staff with appropriate seniority, professional experience and status to provide leadership, training, information and advice to others that will influence decisions about the teaching and learning needs of looked after children.

Where the Designated Teacher is not a member of the senior leadership team, a member of the team should be designated as a champion of children in care issues to work closely with the designated teacher.

Governing bodies and the school leadership team should also make sure that the Designated Teacher role contributes to the deeper understanding of everyone in the school who is likely to be involved in supporting children in care to achieve.

Admissions

The governing body should make sure that looked after children are at the top of the over-subscription criteria

Pupil progress

The governing body should make sure the school has an overview of the educational needs and progress of looked after children.

The governing body should make sure that school policies have been reviewed from the point of view of looked after children.

Support professional development

The governing body should make sure that:

  • the Designated Teacher for looked after children after has the opportunity to attend training offered by the local authority for designated teachers
  • there is a clear policy on professional development for all staff in contact with looked after children and other vulnerable children

Continuous monitoring

The information governors should know or your school should be able to give you quickly includes:

  • the name of the Designated Teacher for looked after children
  • what safeguards the school has in place for sharing sensitive information about individual looked after children with relevant staff members
  • what the procedure is for liaising with carers, residential children’s homes and social services to ensure that the school has relevant information about a child’s care history
  • how the child’s achievements are effectively communicated to the carer

Personal Educational Plans (PEPs)

The governing body should make sure that procedures are in place to ensure all looked after children have up-to-date PEPs.