City of



Report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services to the meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel to be held on 12‘ April 2021.

Subject: AE

Report of the Virtual School on education for children in care who are not in education, pre and post 16.

Summary statement:

This report presents an overview of the education provision for children in care who have not accessed their education provision through mainstream (including special school) settings during the past 12 months. This includes children who may have accessed remote provision during the COVID crisis and those post 16 who are not in education, employment or training.


Children in care sometimes start with the educational disadvantage of their pre-care experiences and often have special educational needs. These children are disproportionately represented among those not in mainstream education. It is a key priority that these children are supported to transition back into mainstream education which can meet their educational needs and help them make maximum progress.

Mark Douglas Portfolio: Strategic Director Children’s Services Children and Families

Report Contact: Jonathan Cooper Overview & Scrutiny Area: Phone: (01274) 436401 E-mail: Children’s Services



1.1. This report provides information relating to Bradford’s children in care who access education provision other than in mainstream education settings (including special schools). These children may be on a school roll but their education provision is arranged by the local authority, or school, away from the school site.

1.2. This report also contains data about Bradford’s post 16 children who are in care and not in education or training (NEET).

1.3.When this report was presented in June 2020 members requested additional information as to how Pupil Premium Plus is allocated to support children not in mainstream education, this information is included in 2.4.

1.4. Additional information relating to education during the COVID pandemic reflects the education provision for children in care during the period of school closure between the 4t January 2021 and 8" March 2021.


2.1.Children not in education

2.1.1. The Virtual School ensures that appropriate educational provision is in place at the earliest opportunity and robustly monitored for any child in the care of Bradford not in mainstream education. The Virtual School will also ensure that this provision provides high-quality teaching, is an Ofsted registered provider and meets the individual needs of all children, regardless of their circumstances.

2.1.2. In March 2021 there were 870 Bradford children in care who were of school age and of these 2.5% (22) had not been in mainstream education for a period of more than 10 days. This represents a reduction of 1.4% (from 3.9%) at the same point in 2020. This reduction is most apparent with children in care placed within the Bradford district where close partnership working between teams in Children’s Services has resulted in significant improvement.

Number of school age children in care not in mainstream education provision

June March | May July Sept Nov Jan March 2019 | 2020 |2020 | 2020 | 2020 | 2020 | 2021 2021

In District 13 9 T7 11 2 2 3 4 Out of Area |16 21 19 19 36 18 19 18 Total 29 30 26 30 38 20 22 22

2.1.3. The number of children without appropriate education provision varies at any point in time, this is dependent upon a number of factors. These factors are most often due to changes in placement but also include other reasons such as the point which children come into care, assessments of special educational needs and school use of alternative provision. Over the period March 2020 to March 2021 there have been a total of 112 children who were without suitable

education provision at some point in the period and represent 13% of the number of school age children in care.

2.1.4. The length of time children may not be in education varies depending on the circumstances of the child. In most circumstances this period can be relatively short where it is related to the submission and processing of the admission application. In other circumstances, particularly where a specialist school place is sought, these delays can become protracted through the consultation process with schools or where children have multiple placement moves during this period.

2.2.Reasons children may not be in education

Reasons children not in mainstream education





Age of children currently not in mainstream education (Reception to Year 11)

4-7 7-11 11-14 14 -16

4 2 3 13

2.2.1. Admission Delay; these are situations where children have moved placement and there is a period of time where an appropriate school is identified and a new school place is applied for. Statutory guidance for local authorities to support children in care is that this period should be no more than 10 days. Where delays with the admission process occur, either through drift in progressing with the application process, or the preferred school refusing to admit, the Virtual School will intervene to progress these situations.

2.2.2. Awaiting Specialist school place; some children’s educational needs may have been assessed to determine that they require a specialist type of provision to meet their needs. These children would usually have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and a consultation for a special school place would be undertaken in line with the SEN code of practice. Due to local variations in SEND Special school sufficiency there can sometimes be significant delays in obtaining a suitable school place.

2.2.3. Assessing Needs; Children with SEND needs who do not have an EHCP, and whose needs cannot be met in their current school, may attend alternative provision as an ‘assessment period’ whilst the evidence required to support an EHCP assessment is collected. This is often where the child’s social, emotional, health or learning needs are beyond the specialist support which the school can provide.

2.2.4. School unable to meet need; Some children face particular difficulties in mainstream education and in agreement with children’s Social Worker and the Virtual School it may be determined that the child’s needs would be met for a short period of time through an alternative provision. This may be as a result of behaviour issues to prevent exclusion, refusal to attend or where the school requires additional support outside that they are expected to reasonably provide. These situations would involve appropriate challenge being presented to school as to why their needs cannot be met in school and a plan agreed for them to return to mainstream education at the earliest opportunity.

2.3.Children’s progress who are not in education

2.3.1. The Virtual School will arrange immediate short term support for any children not in mainstream education, often through 1:1 tuition, for these periods to maintain the educational progress of children. This is always agreed as an interim arrangement to support transition back to mainstream education.

2.3.2. All children in the care of Bradford, where ever they are placed, have their daily attendance and progress monitored by the Virtual School. Bradford schools provide this information directly on a daily basis, out of district schools receive a daily phone call to monitor attendance. Where children are not in mainstream education this is monitored on the same basis with their arranged provision.

2.3.3. Progress reports for children who are not in mainstream education are reviewed on a weekly basis by a specialist Teacher and their manager in the Virtual School. Actions to support their transition back to mainstream education are recorded and reviewed biweekly with the Virtual School Head.

2.4.Securing Appropriate Education Provision

2.4.1. Strategic partnerships with the SEND Teams, Admissions Teams and the Virtual School have been strengthened to support Social Workers in the early identification of schools which are appropriate to the needs of children and to progress their transition into school. An Admissions protocol for children in care has been implemented with the Strategic Manager for Admissions and strategic support meetings with the SEND team have ensured that prompt action is taken to secure appropriate education provision for children.

2.4.2. Pupil premium Plus is allocated to support children who are not in education with 1:1 tuition for time they are unable to access provision in school. This has been provided both remotely and in their placement, where safe and appropriate to the needs of the child. Additional support is also allocated through pupil premium plus to support children’s successful transition back to school when a school place is in available. This includes support provided to schools to support

children’s return to education in school, from March 8 2021 and following the previous period of school closure between March and June 2020.

2.4.3. During the financial year 2020/21 additional 1:1 support has been allocated from Pupil Premium plus as follows;

e 1:1 Tuition support £122,000 e 1:1 Support through Virtual School Associates— £165,000 e Additional support to schools - £137,000

2.5.Post 16 Education, Employment and Training

2.5.1. The Virtual School team links closely with partners to provide all children in care in Y11 a pathway plan into Education, Employment and Training. This ensures there is a named Connexions personal adviser to support children at the start of their planning for post 16 provision, who will then support them through this transition and review. This has improved the retention rates for post 16 learners and supported learners whose plans change as they receive their GSCE results and start their post 16 courses of study. This support is provided via a service level agreement with Prospects until July 2021.

2.5.2. From September 2021 the Connexions service will transfer into the council and this will provide an opportunity to enhance the careers advice, information and guidance support available to our children in care and care leavers. It is expected that the current connexions adviser working with our Year 11 children in care will be able to continue this support as they transition to further education.

2.5.3. Over the past 3 years the number of children in care who successfully transition into post 16 education has increased year on year resulting in a significant decrease in the number of children aged 16 and 17 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Nov 2018 | Nov 2019 | Nov 2020 Percentage of 16 and 17 year old CIC | 14.9% 10.8% 5.3% who are NEET. (Bradford District Activity Survey)

Bradford District Activity Survey 2020

NEET 5.3%

[~~ Training


Apprenticeship 1.3%

2.5.4. The Virtual School works closely with the 16+ team to ensure that all young people post 16 have an individual PEP completed to provide them with on-going individual support and progression planning. Those who are NEET also have an action plan to support them to engage with employment or training. All post 16 learners have their attendance and progress monitored by the Virtual School in a similar way as those children in care who are statutory school age.

2.5.5. Monitoring data identifies a need to focus further support on retaining young people in further education as the number of children in care who become NEET increases between the ages of 16 and 18. In March 2021 there were 11% of Year 12 children in care who were NEET and 29% of Year 13. Although these figures are reflective of both regional and national trends, the figures for Bradford are higher than regional and national averages. Actions to address this priority are included in the children in care and care leavers strategy 2021-22.

Children aged 17 18 not in Bradford Regional National education, employment or training 2018 28% 25% 30% 2019 32% 29% 30% 2020 39% 31% 31%

DfE ‘Activity of Care Leavers’ 2.6.Summary on education for children in care during the COVID crisis

2.6.1. Following the closure of schools on the 4" January 2021, except to children of key workers and vulnerable children, the provision of education moved to home learning arrangements. In the main most children in care continued to attend school except where an assessment of their placement situation, care plan or the health and well-being of the child indicated they should access remote provision at home. Although all children returned to school during week commencing 8t March, an average of 64% had continued to attend school during the school closure period prior to this.

Percentage Children in Care Attending School



50 45

40 1/11/2021 1/19/2021 1/27/2021 2/4/2021 2/12/2021 2/20/2021 2/28/2021

2.5.2 The Virtual School continued to monitor the education arrangements, attendance and engagement of all children accessing both school and home provision. Personal Education Plans were completed in line with statutory guidance and additional support was provided to those children, carers or schools where required to support their learning. This has included 1:1 remote learning support, advice on learning activities or materials and arranging suitable school provision where necessary.


3.1. Bradford children in care who are not in education which are placed outside of the district require close liaison with schools, SEND services, Admission teams and Virtual Schools in other authorities to support successful transition back into mainstream provision and avoid any drift.


4.1. For the financial year 2020/21 the pupil premium plus amount allocated for a child in care was £2345 per child. Arrangements for allocation have been agreed to ensure maximum impact and value to support children in care with their education in line with the conditions of grant from the Department for Education.

4.2. The provision of high quality 1:1 tuition and support relies upon a proportion of Pupil Premium Plus grant funding to be allocated for this purpose, spending plans for 2020/21 are outlined in 2.4.3.


5.1.Promoting the educational achievement of children in care is reliant upon them attending a provision which can meet their needs and maximise progress as noted in this report. This is supported by the Virtual School as a statutory function of the local authority.



6.1 Under section 22 (3A) and 23ZZA of the Children Act 1989 (as amended by section 4 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017), local authorities have a specific duty to promote the educational achievement of Looked After, Eligible and Previously Looked After Children. Section 99 of the Children and Families Act 2014 imposes a requirement for an officer to be appointed to discharge this duty sometimes referred to as a 'Virtual School Head' ('VSH’).




















AREA COMMITTEE ACTION PLAN IMPLICATIONS (for reports to Area Committees only)


The contents of this report relate to the Corporate Parenting responsibilities and our duty to promote the educational achievement of children in care.


The report is for information only.





9.1 The report is for information only RECOMMENDATIONS

10.1 The report is for information only. APPENDICES