Children and young people who have achieved permanence through a court order

The role of the Virtual School in relation to previously looked-after children is to promote their educational achievement through the provision of information and advice to their parents/special guardians and carers, their educators and others who the virtual school considers necessary. This role begins when children become eligible for free early education and concludes when children complete the compulsory years of education.

Previously looked-after children are defined by the Department for Education as those who:

  • are no longer looked after by a local authority in England or Wales because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order; or
  • were adopted from state care outside England and Wales.

Why is this cohort important?

Evidence shows that children who have achieved permanence through a court order are part of the group of children who generally face additional challenges in reaching their potential at school and often do not perform as well as other pupils.

According to Adoption UK’s Barometer report 2019, the picture of adopted children’s experiences of education is one of a cohort of children. Many have complex needs and all have a background of loss and trauma, and arrive at school with considerable challenges to overcome which impact on their ability to manage academically, socially and emotionally. The picture is likely to be similar for children who are subject to Special Guardianship and Child Arrangements Orders.

Key actions

Further information about actions that need to be taken to best meet the needs of this cohort, and how the Virtual School will support you, can be found below.