Previously looked after children can present particular challenges and schools are required to have a ‘designated teacher’ in place. Darren Martindale offers us best practice advice

Under the Children and Social Work Act 2017, every school governing body must designate a member of staff (a designated teacher) to have responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of “previously looked after” children.

This change, which came into force in September 2018, extended the role of the designated teacher beyond its old remit of looked after children, to include those who left care via adoption, a Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangements Order (or previously looked after children).

However, this new duty has far wider implications for schools than additional responsibilities for one member of staff. It potentially affects policy and practice, school ethos, communication protocols and the knowledge and skills of teachers (and indeed all staff). Yet, many schools (and indeed local authorities) are still uncertain as to what this extended role means – how far it goes, how best to provide the right help for these vulnerable children, and even which children it applies to.

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