Virtual School for children in care

5. Previously Looked After Children (PLAC)

We offer advice and guidance, in conjunction with Adoption Counts, on educational issues for previously looked after children.

Statutory duty and guidance

The statutory guidance defines previously looked after children as those who:

  • are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales (as defined by the Children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order; or
  • were adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales. ‘State care’ is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society

The Virtual School have a statutory duty to provide advice and guidance around previously looked after children from age two in a funded education place to the end of Year 11 who are educated in a maintained school or academy.

Maintained schools and academies must have a designated teacher responsible for previously looked after children.


Pupil Premium Plus

Schools who have previously looked after children in Reception to Year 11 can claim Pupil Premium Plus. This is extra funding of £2,300 per child. Adopted children only attract Pupil Premium Plus funding if, on leaving care, they were adopted from an English or Welsh local authority.

In order to receive the funding, which is paid direct to school, the parent, guardian or carer must self-declare the child’s status and provide appropriate supporting evidence to the school. The child’s status should then be entered onto the school management system in time for the January census.

When a child changes school, the parent, guardian or carer must self-declare again as this confidential information does not transfer with the child. Schools should ensure parents, guardians or carers are aware of this and that this information is collected to help ensure that the designated teacher for previously looked after children can support appropriately.

Find more information about funding, what documents education settings need to see and what codes need to be used:


Promoting educational achievement


Personal Education Plans (PEP)

There is no statutory requirement for a PEP for previously looked after children. However, it is good practice to have regular meetings with the child and their parents, guardians or carers to:

  • discuss the child’s educational strengths and needs
  • record agreed actions

Schools may want to consider use of existing PEP, SEND or plan-do-review documentation to support this process.


Adoption Support Fund

The Adoption Support Fund can provide therapeutic support for adopted children. This requires a specific assessment. Find more information on the Adoption Counts website.

This fund can also provide therapeutic support for those on a Special Guardianship Order (SGO), who were looked after immediately before the SGO was granted. Find more information on the Family Rights website.


Further information, support and reading