Supporting the Designated Teacher
The appointment of a Designated Teacher is a core function of the governing body.
The Designated Teacher should be given the appropriate level of support in order to fulfil their role. The governing body should, in partnership with the head teacher, ensure that, through their training and development, the Designated Teacher has the opportunity to acquire and keep up-to-date the necessary skills, knowledge and training to understand and respond to the specific teaching and learning needs of children in care.
Governing bodies and the school leadership team should also make sure that the Designated Teacher role contributes to the deeper understanding of everyone in the school who is likely to be involved in supporting children in care to achieve.
The governing body should ensure that the Designated Teacher is a member of the teaching staff with appropriate seniority, professional experience and status to provide leadership, training, information and advice to others that will influence decisions about the teaching and learning needs of children in care. Where the Designated Teacher is not a member of the senior leadership team, a member of the team should be designated as a champion of LAC issues to work closely with the Designated Teacher.
The governing body, in partnership with the head teacher, is responsible for monitoring how well the role is working. The governing body is not responsible for the performance management of the person undertaking it, unless the Designated Teacher is the head or acting head.
How we will know if the role is being fulfilled?
Indicators which demonstrate that the role is being implemented efficiently and is making a real difference include ensuring that:
- the school has a clear overview of the educational needs and progress of LAC on roll
- the school's policies are effective in reflecting the needs of children in care
- resources are allocated to support the Designated Teacher to carry out this role effectively for the benefit of children in care.
Report to the Governors
This report should be made at least once a year. To protect a child’s need for confidentiality, it is important to ensure that the report does not mention individual children by name.
As part of the arrangements for monitoring the effectiveness of the role, governing bodies should, as a minimum, receive an annual report from the Designated Teacher. The report should enable the governing body to make overall judgements about the Designated Teacher role in the context of wider school planning in relation to:
- any workload issues arising as a result of the number of LAC on roll at the school and the number of local authorities which are involved
- levels of progress made by LAC who are currently or have been on roll within the past twelve months in relation to all children at the school (i.e. educational, social, and emotional progress)
- whether the pattern of attendance and exclusions for LAC is different to that of all children
- any process or planning issues arising from Personal Education Plans (PEPs)
- whether any LAC are identified as gifted and talented and how those needs are being met
- whether any LAC have special educational needs (SEN) and whether those needs are being met through an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
- how the teaching and learning needs of LAC are reflected in school development plans and are being met in relation to interventions and resources
- training provided for the Designated Teacher in order to impart knowledge and understanding about the education and wellbeing of LAC to colleagues
- work with Virtual School Heads or their equivalents in local authorities
- the impact of any of the school’s policies, for example on charging for educational visits and extended school activities, on LAC.
The governing body and school leadership team should then consider what picture this information is providing and what needs to be done to address any issues raised by the reports in relation to:
- whether the Designated Teacher has sufficient time and resources to carry out their role effectively
- any training, support and development needs required to ensure the role can be carried out effectively
- the extent to which school policies take account of the particular needs of children in care
- whether the school is making the fullest possible use of all available resources, such as one-to-one tuition, in order to provide the maximum opportunity for LAC to achieve above national age related progress within each Key Stage.
In addition to considering and acting on an annual report, school governing bodies should make sure that there are arrangements in place to keep themselves informed about provision for, and attainment of, LAC on the school's roll on a more regular basis.