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14.1.16 Meeting Educational Needs Moving into Adoptive Placements

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter details the process as part of the matching a child with an adoptive placement, and preparing the prospective adopters for a proposed placement, to ensure the child’s educational needs are prioritised.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

  • Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 (Regulation 31 and 35);
  • Adoption Minimum Standards (2011) Standard 7.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Procedure


1. Introduction

1.1 This guidance applies to placements made both within and outside Nottinghamshire. It also applies to children who are being placed with our own agency’s adopters as well as inter-agency placements.
1.2 Just as we should give attention to children’s health needs throughout their Looked After career, we should also give due attention to their educational needs. There is an expectation that all children in adoptive placements (pre-order) should continue to have Personal Education Plans (PEPs) which should be regularly reviewed along with their placement arrangements.
1.3 It is particularly important to give consideration to educational needs when children and young people are moving from foster care into an adoption placement. Preparations for a child’s transition to a new school are essential. Such preparations seek to avoid difficulties which may arise from the receiving school not managing the adopted child’s admission or integration. Failure to do this may cause longer term problems for the child and adoptive parent/s.
1.4 Moving into an adoptive placement is a potentially stressful experience for a child, and previous patterns of difficult behaviour may re-emerge in a child’s new school.
1.5 In general, children will usually benefit and feel more secure if they perceive themselves as being part of the school community, by being expected to follow school and class expectations. Special arrangements, particularly any that might make them stand out, should only be made for them if absolutely necessary and should have been agreed beforehand in their Statement of Special Educational Needs, Annual review, Individual Education Plan (IEP), Pastoral Support Plan (PSP), Personal Education Plan (PEP) or Care Plan.


2. Procedure

2.1 The following are some ways in which we can ensure that children’s educational needs are not overlooked during this busy transitional period of their life.
  2.1.1

When discussing a potential placement with adopters, social workers should ensure that discussions take place about:

  • The child’s educational attainment and needs;
  • How the adopters (with advice from social work staff) choose a school;
  • How education can be supported in an adoption placement.
  2.1.2 When all parties decide that a link is viable, the child’s social worker should contact the Corporate Parenting Consultant without delay. This applies to all children, with or without Special Educational Needs. The Corporate Parenting Consultant could, if necessary, liaise between schools and with social workers to enable the school transition to be as well prepared as possible.
  2.1.3 As soon as an adoptive match has been identified for a child who has learning or behaviour difficulties which currently attract or may require support from the LEA (for any reason including a Statement of SEN), workers should contact the Principal Special Educational Needs Officer. This is an opportunity for the worker to seek advice from the Principal Special Educational Needs Officer about any potential complexities regarding the child’s education (including any extra-ordinary funding issues), and to discuss the process and time-scales of the move to a new school.
  2.1.4 The Principal Special Education Needs Officer will then liaise with colleagues in the receiving LEA (if the child/young person is moving out of Nottinghamshire) or within Nottinghamshire (if required).
  2.1.5 Consideration should be give to contact with Senior Education Psychologist, (Social Services) if the child has Special Educational Needs and difficulties are anticipated in accessing additional support when the child moves to his/her new school.
  2.1.6 Adopters should visit potential schools to obtain a place at a school.
  2.1.7 The Adoption Placement Report to panel must address the child’s educational achievement and potential, and clarify what arrangements have been made for the child to be admitted to a new school when they move. Any special needs should be detailed in the Adoption Support Plan. 
  2.1.8 Potential adopters should be encouraged to visit a child’s current school (once a match has been approved), talk with school staff and look at the child’s work, to ascertain for themselves the child’s performance, achievements, potential and support needs. If the child has been in a settled bridging placement and in one school for a period of time, that school is likely to have built up expertise in handling the child which is likely to be very useful to the receiving school. Such a visit should be facilitated through the social worker.
  2.1.9 When planning the life appreciation meeting the child’s social worker should consider inviting to the part of the meeting which addresses educational issues a teacher from the child’s current school who knows the child well.
  2.1.10 Children should not move to their adoptive placement until a school place has been secured and any necessary support issues are in place.
  2.1.11 Placement notification letters sent out by the Adoption Panel Co-ordinator will now routinely be sent to the Principal Education Needs Officer and the Corporate Parenting Consultant, notifying them that a child has moved from a foster placement into an adoption placement.
  2.1.12 The child’s social worker should contact the child’s new school to introduce him/herself and to give contact details in case the school should have any future concerns.

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