For the purpose of this policy a vulnerable learner is defined as a child (under 18) who is under the care of the local authority (LA) or a Care Leaver.
Although some Looked after Children (LAC) and Care Leavers do well, as a group they often have poor education experiences and low educational achievement. This policy sets out how Paragon Skills will work to support LAC and Care Leavers with the aim that their lives are improved through a positive educational experience.
A child in care is defined as:
An eligible child – a young person who is 16 or 17 and who has been looked after by the local authority/health and social care trust for at least a period of 13 weeks since the age of 14, and who is still looked after;
A relevant child – a young person who is 16 or 17 who has left care after their 16th birthday and before leaving care was an eligible child; or
A former relevant child – a young person who is aged between 18 and 21 (up to their 25th birthday if they are in education or training) who, before turning 18, was either an eligible or a relevant child.
Identification of vulnerable learners
Paragon Skills recognises the need to identify, support and track those learners who are LAC/Care Leavers and will ensure that this is identified from the outset through the recruitment and enrolment process. We will do this by directly asking prospective learners to identify themselves as being a LAC. Using this information Paragon Skills will then engage with those LA’s who have corporate parenting responsibility to support the statutory duty placed upon on the LA to ensure that LAC has their education enhanced, monitored and improved.
We recognise that there are times when young people choose not to disclose their LAC/Care Leaver status. In order to address this, we will seek to build relationships with Local Authorities which promote information sharing to ensure that statutory obligations can be met and the life chances of these vulnerable learners promoted.
Responsibility and accountability
When a child becomes looked after it is the responsibility of a social worker to ensure that a care plan is in place – an integral part of this is a Personal Education Plan (PEP). When a young person leaves care a PEP continues to be relevant.
According to the duty there is a joint responsibility between the LA and a school to ensure that a PEP is in place. Paragon Skills will seek to ensure that this model is adopted for relevant learners through discussion with the LA. We will seek to ensure that this is a tool to support personalised learning and that it reflects the learner’s views, educational ambitions and identifies achievable goals.
The Safeguarding and Welfare Manager will take the lead within Paragon Skills to work with the LA’s to review and develop any PEPs and that these are communicated to the Personal Tutor.
The Operation Managers (OMs) will lead in monitoring the achievement and progression of LAC/Care Leavers, overseen by the Regional Operations Directors (RODs).
The Personal Tutor/Tutor will be responsible for the delivery of the educational targets contained within the PEP and reporting on progress towards these via Paragon Skills’ normal systems.
PEPs will be stored on BUD within the contacts section to ensure confidentiality.