Jargon Busters

The education system changes constantly with new roles, responsibilities and systems put in place to support children looked after. We developed our jargon busters to help you understand the who and what can help the children and young people in your care.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Specialist NHS services who offer assessment and treatment when children and young people have emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.

Children looked after (CLA)

These children and young people are those that under the Children Act 1989, are in the care of, or provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours, by a local authority. Children can be accommodated by the local authority under a voluntary agreement with their parents (section 20) in which case the child’s parents [or guardians] retain full parental responsibility and may at any time remove them from local authority provided accommodation.  When children are looked after under an interim or full care order made by the courts the local authority will share parental responsibility, and in most cases will placed with foster carers..

Children in Care Councils (CiCC)

Every local authority in England should set up a CiCC to ensure that children and young people are able to put their experiences of the care system directly to those who are responsible for it, and for children and young people to be involved in the decision making in planning, development and evaluation of services

Children's Social Worker (CSW)

This person is based in the children’s services team who is provided by the local authority to work with a child and to plan for their care. They are responsible for supporting the needs of the child. They initiate the personal education plan, (PEP), planning process with colleagues in the school and local authority, and have responsibility for the statutory review process (LAC review) which includes the PEP ensuring that the child’s needs and views are reflected. They should liaise with the IRO to ensure education information is up to date before each care plan review.

Designated Teacher (DT)

This person has a key role in ensuring that the learning needs of children in care are identified, that appropriate learning strategies and challenging targets are put in place. They liaise with foster carers, social workers and other members of staff and ensure that the PEP is implemented.

Director of Children's Services

This person has professional responsibility for children’s services for the local authority, including operational matters, and should work with headteachers, school governors and academy sponsors and principals, and support the drive for high educational standards for all children and young people, paying particular attention to the most disadvantaged groups.

Friends and Family Foster Carer

This person is a family member or a friend who has a child or young person who is looked after by the local authority, living with them.

They are also required to go through the regulated assessment and approval process for foster carers and meet the Training, Support and Development Standards.

Foster Carer

This person goes through a regulated recruitment and approval process and must maintain an up-to-date training and development portfolio. They are required to meet the Training, Support and Development Standards.

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

This person is appointed to participate in case reviews, and to monitor the local authority’s performance in relation to a child’s case.

The Department for Education have produced this very clear and easy to understand Young Person’s guide to the Independent reviewing officers handbook.

Lead Member for Children's Services

This person is a member of the Council Executive and has political responsibility for the leadership, strategy and effectiveness of local authority children’s services. Together with Director of Children’s Services he/she should work with headteachers, school governors and academy sponsors and principals and support the drive for high educational standards for all children and young people paying particular attention to the most disadvantaged groups.

Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)

This person is a member of the Council Executive and has political responsibility for the leadership, strategy and effectiveness of local authority children’s services. Together with Director of Children’s Services he/she should work with headteachers, school governors and academy sponsors and principals and support the drive for high educational standards for all children and young people paying particular attention to the most disadvantaged groups.

Looked After Children (LAC)

(See ‘Children looked after’ above)

Looked After Children's Education Services (LACES)

(See ‘Virtual School Head’ below)

Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OfSTED)

Reports directly to Parliament and is independent and impartial. Responsible for the inspection and regulation of services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/

Personal Adviser (PA)

This person will play a very important role in preparing a looked after young person’s pathway plan from the age 16 onwards. When a young person leaves care the personal adviser will be the person who makes sure he/she receive the services they need.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

This person, in collaboration with the head teacher and governing body, plays an important role in determining the strategic development of the special educational needs (SEN) policy and provision in the school in order the raise the achievement of children with SEN.

School's Governing Body

This group of people should monitor progress of children in care in a school and should check that a PEP is in place for each looked after child.

Supervising Social Worker (SSW)

This person is based in the fostering service team with responsibility for the supervision, ongoing assessment and support of the foster carer and their family.

Virtual School Head (VSH)

Under the Children & Families Act 2014, it is now a statutory requirement for all local councils to have a VSH. This person acts as if they have a school which is made up of all the children and young people in care in the area. They do this by tracking their educational achievement, championing their education needs and providing additional support.

The team working with the Virtual School Head is sometimes called the ‘Looked After Children Education Service’ (LACES)

Academic Year

Under the Children & Families Act 2014, it is now a statutory requirement for all local councils to have a VSH. This person acts as if they have a school which is made up of all the children and young people in care in the area. They do this by tracking their educational achievement, championing their education needs and providing additional support.

The team working with the Virtual School Head is sometimes called the ‘Looked After Children Education Service’ (LACES)

Admission Authority

The body responsible for setting and applying a school’s admission arrangements. For community or voluntary controlled schools, this body is the local authority unless it has agreed to delegate responsibility to the governing body. For foundation or voluntary aided schools, this body is the governing body of the school. For Academies, this body is the Academy Trust.

Admission Arrangements

The overall procedure, practices and over-subscription criteria used in deciding the allocation of school places including any device or means used to determine whether a school place is to be offered.

Alternative Provision

Is education arranged by local authorities for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education; education arranged by schools for pupils on a fixed period exclusion; and pupils being directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour.

Behaviour Policy

Schools should have a behaviour policy to which children, parents and foster carers subscribe. It defines the behaviour expected in the school and identifies what is deemed to be unacceptable behaviour in the school. Where possible, a foster carer should ask for a copy of the policy and discuss it with their fostered child before they start at school.

Teachers, parents and foster carers all have a crucial role in helping children to comply with what is expected of them. If there is a serious incident then teachers, parents (if appropriate) and foster carers will meet and agree an action plan. Foster carers should keep careful records of incidents and communications with the school.

Catchment Area

A geographical area, from which children may be afforded priority for admission to a particular school. A catchment area is part of a school’s admission arrangements and must therefore be consulted upon, determined and published in the same way as other admission arrangements.

Children Out Of School

The local authority must make provision for children out of school, while the aim must be to return them to mainstream education as quickly as possible. The provision may include Pupil Referral Units, individual or home tuition, Children and young people may be out of school for many reasons including exclusion, illness or injury, habitual truancy or pregnancy. Whatever the reason, the child’s education remains crucially important to his or her prospects.

``Code`` or ``CoP``

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014. This contains statutory guidance on the Children and Families Act 2014.

Common Application Form (CAF)

The form parents complete, listing their preferred choices of schools, and then submit to local authorities when applying for a school place for their child as part of the local co-ordination scheme, during the normal admissions round. Parents must be allowed to express a preference for a minimum of three schools on the relevant common application form as determined by their local authority. Local authorities may allow parents to express a higher number of preferences if they wish.

Definition of 'Parent' in Education

A foster carer can be defined as a “parent” under the 1996 Education Act as outlined below:

576 (1) In the Act, unless the context otherwise requires, “parent”, in relation to a child or young person, includes any person…

  • who is not a parent of his but who has parental responsibility for him/her or
  • who has care of him/her

Department for Education (DfE)

The DfE is the government department responsible not only for schools and education but also for fostering.

Disagreement Resolution

Sometimes called “dis Res”, is the dispute resolution service offered by a local authority to resolve disagreements between parents and the local authority.

Education Health and Care needs assessment (EHC)

An assessment of the education, health care and social care needs of a child or young person conducted by a local authority under the Children and Families Act 2014

Education Health and Care Plan (EHC)

An education, health and care plan as defined in section 37(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Further Education (FE)

The FE sector in England includes further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist colleges and adult education institutes. It does not include universities.

Home-School Agreements

A statement explaining the school’s aims and values, the school’s responsibilities toward its pupils who are of compulsory school age, the responsibility of each pupil’s parents: and what the school expects of its pupils. All maintained schools, academies, city technologies colleges and city colleges for technology of the arts are required to publish a home-school agreement and associated parental declaration. The agreement should cover the importance of, and responsibility for, regular and punctual attendance, the importance of, and responsibility for good discipline and behaviour, what is expected from the schools, parents and pupils in relation to homework and the information schools and parents will give one another.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-school-agreements

Information Communications Technology (ICT)

ICT can play a valuable role in supporting children’s learning. Designated teachers may wish to work with the child’s carers and social worker to help ensure that looked after children have appropriate access to ICT, including through any schemes which the local authority can access to prioritise ICT provision for looked after children and care leavers.

Learning Support Assistant

Also sometimes called a “Teaching Assistant” (TA).

National Offer Day

The day each year on which local authorities are required to send the offer of a school place to all parents of secondary age pupils in their area. For secondary pupils, offers are sent out by the home local authority on 1 March. For primary pupils, this will be on a locally determined date in 2013, then on 16 April from 2014 onwards.

Normal Admissions Round

The period during which parents are invited to express a minimum of three preferences for a place at any state-funded school, in rank order on the common application form provided by their home local authority. This period usually follows publication of the local authority composite prospectus on 12 September, with the deadlines for parental applications of 31 October (for secondary places) and 15 January (for primary places), and subsequent offers made to parents on National Offer Day as defined above.

Oversubscription

Where a school has a higher number of applicants than the school’s published admission number.

National Curriculum in England

The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge they need ‘to be educated citizens’ Pupils of compulsory school age must follow the national curriculum. It is organised on the basis of the 4 key stages and 12 subject classified in legal terms as ‘core’ and ‘other foundation’ subjects. (‘National curriculum in England: framework for key stages 1 to 4 updated July 2014, DfE)

Pathway Plan

A Pathway Plan is developed for the majority of 16 year olds who are looked after. It identifies the services and support they will need in their transition to adult life. It covers health, education, training, finance and living arrangements and remains current until the young person is 21, or while they are in full-time education or training. The Pathway Plan should be reviewed every six months.

Personal Budget

A Personal Budget is the notional amount of money which a local authority has identified as necessary to secure the special educational provision in an education, health and care plan (EHC).

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

A PEP is an integral part of the Care plan and should reflect any other education plans such as an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Statement of Special Needs. It should be drawn up in consultation with the child and their parents (where possible), foster carer, social worker and teaching staff. The plans should include the name of the person responsible for implementing each area, arrangements for the parents, the child and other to contribute to decisions and the general arrangements fort the child’s education.Children’s Services must ensure that foster carers and the child receive a copy of the plans.

Personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE)

All schools should make provision for PSHE drawing on good practice. Schools also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education

Placement Plan

A placement plan should be drawn up before a child is placed; and within 5 working days wherever this is not possible. The purpose of the placement plan is to set out in detail how the placement is intended to contribute to meeting the child’s needs as set out in the care plan. The placement plan will document how on a day to day basis the child will be cared for and how the child’s welfare will be safeguarded and promoted by the appropriate person.

The placement plan replaces the foster placement agreement.

Pupil Premium Grant (PPG)

The pupil premium is additional funding to raise the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers. From April 2014, the pupil premium was raised to £1900 per pupil. For children looked after, the use of this funding will now be decided by the Virtual School Head, in line with the Personal Education Plan and in consultation with the foster carer, school and child’s social worker.

Pupil Referal Unit (PRU)

The Pupil Referral Unit is for children who need to be educated out of school, often because they have been excluded

Schools Admission

Regulations made under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 require admission authorities to give looked after children highest priority in their admission arrangements. This will ensure that they are guaranteed admission to preferred schools at the normal time of entry.

Outside the normal admissions round, local authorities may direct other admission authorities for any maintained school to admit a child in their care to the school best suited to his or her needs. Such action must be taken in the best interests of the child. Before giving a direction, the local authority must consult the admission authority for the school they propose to specify in the direction. The admission authority then has seven days to inform the local authority if it is willing to admit the child without being directed to do so.

Schools Adjudicator

A statutory office-holder who is appointed by the Secretary of State for Education, but is independent. The Adjudicator decides on objections to published admission arrangements of all state-funded schools and variations of determined admission arrangements for maintained schools

School Exclusions – Fixed term and permanent

An exclusion from school is where the head teacher decides that a student cannot come to school because of bad behaviour. Exclusion should be a last resort after all reasonable steps have been exhausted. There are two types of exclusion: fixed period (up to 15 school days in a term) and permanent. Parents and foster carers of a child permanently excluded from school can apply for his or her admission to another school. Schools cannot refuse admission on the grounds of a child’s past record and exclusions.

Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years

This is the new Statutory Guidance for organisations who work with and support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and was issued in July 2014 (pages 209-211 are specific to looked after children) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342440/SEND_Code_of_Practice_approved_by_Parliament_29.07.14.pdf

Statement of Special Educational Need (SEN)

A Statement of Special Educational Need is a statement made by the local authority under Section 324 of the Education Act 1996, specifying the special educational provision required for that child.  Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 includes provisions, as from 1 September 2014, to replace Statements of Special Educational Needs with Education, Health and Care Plans.

Staying Put

The responsible local authority for a looked after young person now has a legal duty under the Children and Families Act 2014 to consider a Staying Put arrangement if requested by both the looked after young person and their foster carer. Only exceptionally should a local authority refuse to do so.

The Children’s Partnership together with the Department for Education have issued a good practice guide for Staying Put:http://www.thechildrenspartnership.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Staying-Put.pdf