Guidance for education providers of children who were previously looked after. Includes information about Pupil Premium Plus and Personal Education Plans

What we mean by children who were previously looked after

Those children previously looked after in England and Wales but who left care through:

  • an Adoption Order (AO)
  • Special Guardianship Order (SGO)
  • Child Arrangements Order (CAO)
  • or has been adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales

CAOs were formerly known as Residence Orders. The Orders must still be current. 

Statutory duty and guidance

Schools and education settings have a statutory duty to support previously looked after children. The statutory duty applies to children from aged two in a funded education place up to post 16 who are educated in a maintained school or academy.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide information and advice about previously looked after children from aged 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.

Guidance for maintained schools and academies

Guidance for local authorities

Pupil Premium Plus

Previously looked after children in Reception to Year 11 are entitled to Pupil Premium Plus. This is extra funding of £2,530 (2023-24). Adopted children are only entitled to Pupil Premium Plus funding if, on leaving care, they were adopted from an English or Welsh local authority.

The parent, guardian or carer has to declare the child’s status and provide appropriate supporting evidence to the school. Information about the funding, what documents education settings need to see and what codes need to be used are given in the following two documents:

Pupil Premium 2023-24 information and rates

Codes to be used in the January census can be found on page 40 of this guide:

School census - 2023-24

Unique Pupil Number

It is standard practice for children adopted from care to be issued with a new Unique Pupil Number (UPN) to break the link between the pre-adoption and post-adoption record.

Guidance about a new UPN for adopted children [pdf].

How you promote educational achievement

You may find the following publication a helpful starting point

Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children - A guide for school staff [pdf]

Personal Education Plans (PEP)

There’s no statutory requirement for a PEP for previously looked after children. However, you should have regular meetings with the child and their parents, guardians or carers to:

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

Meetings with parents, guardians and carers of previously looked after children should be recorded.

Other advice and information

Special educational needs

Warrington’s local offer for SEND.

Wellbeing and mental health

  • Kate Cairns Associates   training and consultancy on trauma and attachment issues for education settings from Early Years upwards
  • Young Minds – national organisation focussing on children’s and young people’s mental health. Offers workshops, training and resources for schools
  • Beacon House: specialist trauma and attachment service for children and adults. Runs training and events for professionals and has some free resources online 

Adoption support

  • Together for Adoption: The regional adoption service for Cheshire West & Chester, Halton, St Helens, Warrington and Wigan
  • Adoption: national charity providing support and information for adoptive families and resources for schools
  • Coram BAAF: organisation providing information, resources and training to agencies, individuals and professionals on matters relating to adoption. Some services are for members only.
  • PAC UK: information and advice about previously looked after children for education settings

Books and resources

The Virtual School Head is responsible for providing information and advice for previously looked after children. Contact

Books and resources for education settings working with previously looked after children

Starting point and overview

  • How brains are built: The core story of brain development
  • Inside I’m Hurting by Louise Bomber (Worth Publishing, ISBN 1-903269-11-3) - available from various booksellers
  • Let’s Learn Together by Sheila Lavery, Adoption UK
  • The simple guide to Child Trauma by Betsy de Thierry (Jessica Kingsley Publishers ISBN-13:9781785921360)

Books to share with younger children

  • Little Parachutes – a website listing picture books that help children cope with worries, health issues and new experiences

Books for older children and young people

  • Almond.D (2009) The Savage. Walker Books Ltd. London.
  • Angelou.M (1978) Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. New York.
  • Bang.M (1999) When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry... Scholastic Inc.
  • Bhreathnach.E (2006) The Scared Gang. Alder Tree Press. Northern Ireland.
  • Browne.A (1997) Willy The Dreamer. Walker Books Ltd. London.
  • Bush.J & Spottswood.R (2005) The Bean Seed. Adoption Conversations. Vermont.
  • Cave.K (1994) Something Else. Puffin Books. Penguin Group.
  • Dunn Buron.K (2006) When My Worries Get Too Big! A relaxation book for children who live with anxiety. Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Kansas.
  • Fairbairn.K (2011) The Making of U. After Adoption. Manchester.
  • Gravett’s.E (2007, 2008) Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. Macmillan Children’s Books. London.
  • Ironside.V (1996) The Huge Bag of Worries. Hodder Children’s Books. Australia.
  • Karst.P (2000) The Invisible String. De Vorss and Company. California
  • Morgan.N (2005) Blame My Brain. The amazing teenage brain revealed. Walker Books Ltd. London.
  • Sunderland.M (2000) A Nifflenoo Called Nevermind. Winslow Press Limited. UK.
  • Sunderland.M (2003) The Day the Sea Went Out and Never Came Back. Speechmark Publishing Ltd. UK.
  • Sunderland.N (2000) The Frog who Longed for the Moon to Smile. Winslow Press Limited. UK.
  • Tan.S (2001) The Red Tree. Lothian Books. Thomas C. Lothian Pty Ltd. South Melbourne
  • Tan.S (2000) The Lost Thing. Lothian Books. Havhette Australia Pty Limited. Sydney.
  • Thomas.F (1998) Supposing... Bloomsbury Publishing plc. London.
  • Verdick.E & Lisovskis.M (2003) How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger. Free Spirit Publishing Inc. Minneapolis.
  • Williams.M (1992) The Velveteen Rabbit. Egmont Books Limited. London.

Case studies and practical suggestions to develop attachment aware understanding and practice

  • Go Away, People! written and published by Eileen Bebbington (ISBN-13: 9780954909123
  • Stop Wasting My Time! written and published by Eileen Bebbington (ISBN-13: 9780954909116)

Practical resources and information

  • Attachment in the classroom by Dr Heather Geddes
  • (Worth Publishing, ISBN 1-903269-08-03) - available from various booksellers
  • Settling to Learn Settling Troubled Pupils to Learn : Why Relationships Matter in School by Louise Bomber and Daniel Hughes (Worth Publishing, ISBN-13: 9781903269220) – available from various booksellers

A tool for identifying and supporting social and emotional difficulties

  • Observing children with attachment difficulties in Preschool settings (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, ISBN: 978-0-85700-676-9) - available from various booksellers
  • Observing children with attachment difficulties in school (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, ISBN: 978-1-84905-336-5) - available from various booksellers

For education settings that want to have ideas of resources to suggest to parents/guardians/carers

  • The Adopter’s Handbook on Education by Eileen Fursland Coram BAAF (ISBN: 978191003970 0)
  • Bubble Wrapped Children: How Social Networking Is Transforming the Face of 21st Century
  • Adoption by Helen Oakwater MX Publishing, (ISBN-13: 9781780920979)