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5.4.3 Education of Looked After Children - The Personal Education Plan (PEP) Process

Note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure, Care Planning for Young People on Remand.



Bolton S.E.N.D – Local Offer


This chapter was updated in September 2016, to add new guidance, ‘DfE, Mental health and behaviour in schools: departmental advise, (2016)’ and update links to ‘DfE, Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions – Statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies, (2015)’ and ‘DfE and DoH, Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 – 25 years – Statutory guidance for organisations who work with and support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, (2015)’.


  1. Duty to Promote the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children
  2. The Personal Education Plan (PEP)
  3. Avoidance of Disruption Education
  4. The Role of the LAC Virtual Schools PEP Administrator
  5. Follow-on PEPs for both Bolton Schools and Out of Borough Placements
  6. If a LAC is Excluded from School
  7. If a LAC has no allocated School Place
  8. Planned Returns to Bolton from Out of Borough Educational Placements
  9. Transfer of Schools within Bolton

    Appendix 1: PEP Flowchart

1. Duty to Promote the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children

Under Section 22 (3A) of the Children Act 1989, local authorities have a duty to promote the educational achievement of Looked After children. Section 99 of the Children and Families Act 2014 imposes a requirement for an officer to be appointed to discharge this duty – sometimes referred to as a ‘Virtual School Head’.

2. The Personal Education Plan (PEP)

The Personal Education Plan (PEP) allows the social worker, residential staff/carer and Designated Teacher at the child's school or, where the child has no school place, the education service, in conjunction with the child, to set out what needs to happen to meet the educational needs of the child.

The Personal Education Plan should be initiated as part of the Care Plan before the child becomes Looked After (or within 10 working days in the case of an emergency placement), and be available for the first Looked After Review meeting.

All Looked After children of compulsory school age must have a PEP, whether or not currently in education. It provides essential information to ensure that appropriate support is in place to enable the child to achieve the targets set. It is also a record of the child's leisure interests and educational achievement.

The PEP should set clear objectives and targets for the child, covering the following:

  • Chronology of education and training history which provides a record of the child's educational experience and progress in terms of National Curriculum levels of attainment, including information about educational institutions attended and the reasons for leaving, attendance and conduct record, academic and other achievements, any special educational needs, an indication of the extent to which the child's education has been disrupted before entering care or accommodation;
  • Existing arrangements for education and training, including details of any special educational provision and any other provision to meet the child's educational or training needs and promote educational achievement;
  • Any planned changes to existing arrangements and provision to minimise disruption;
  • The child's leisure interests;
  • Role of the appropriate person and any other person who cares for the child in promoting the child's educational achievements and leisure interests.

3. Avoidance of Disruption Education

The Nominated Officer must approve of any change of placement affecting a child in Key Stage 4, except in an emergency/where the placement is terminated because of an immediate risk of serious harm to the child or to protect others from serious injury.

In those circumstances, the Local Authority must make appropriate arrangements to promote the child's educational achievement as soon as reasonably practicable.

  • The child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • The wishes and feelings of the parent(s) have been ascertained where the child is Accommodated (where possible) and where appropriate where the child is subject to a Care Order);
  • The educational provision will promote educational achievement and is consistent with the PEP;
  • The Independent Reviewing Officer has been consulted;
  • The Designated Teacher at the child's school has been consulted.

Other than in Key Stage 4, where the Local Authority proposes making any change to the child's placement that would have the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for education and training, they must ensure that other arrangements are made for education or training that meet the child's needs and are consistent with the PEP.

4. The Role of the LAC Virtual Schools PEP Administrator

The Administrator directed by the Virtual School Manager will maintain an up-to-date database of the children Looked After by Bolton Council who are of school age. These children may be in Bolton schools or placed in ‘out of borough’ provision. This database will hold records of Personal Education Plans (PEPs) and contain the dates of all future PEP meetings and reviews.

The Virtual Schools PEP Administrator will arrange all the initial PEPs for new admissions into care, aiming to meet the statutory guidelines of within 20 school days of admission (into care).

To ensure meetings remain child-centered, all PEP meetings will be face to face meetings which include all key players in the child’s support and education.

These should include at a minimum:

  • The young person;
  • The carer and/or parent;
  • The child’s social worker;
  • The school LAC Designated Teacher or class teacher.

The meeting should be chaired by the Social Worker with all current academic information (Classroom levels, Targets Performance and Attendance) being supplied by the designated LAC or class teacher. The social worker will ensure that a suitable plan is agreed to address under performance, poor attendance or educational provision issues.

In order for the 20 day PEP schedule to be achieved and effective meetings to be Held, the following practice has been agreed by the SSMT:

  1. Virtual Schools PEP Administrator will be informed immediately when a young person is admitted into care;
  2. Virtual Schools PEP Administrator will then schedule a PEP meeting time with the child’s school and teachers;
  3. Virtual School’s PEP administrator will inform social worker and carer of the time and venue of PEP, giving at least 10 working days’ notice;
  4. Virtual Schools PEP administrator will invite others as identified by the Social Worker;
  5. Social worker to inform parents/family (if appropriate) to ensure their attendance at PEP;
  6. The Social Worker, the Carer and appropriate LAC teacher must attend all PEP meetings. For quality assurance purposes all attendees will be recorded and monitored;
  7. The Social Worker and Supervising Social Worker will ensure carer/parent has transport to the meeting;
  8. The PEP team surrounding each young person will record future actions, commitments agree the date and time of the next PEP meeting and inform the Virtual Schools Administrator;
  9. Where possible this meeting will take place prior to the young person’s Statutory Review. This date will then be noted by the Virtual Schools PEP Administrator on the LAC database and invitations sent when the meeting is due;
  10. Where the LA young person is placed in a school outside Bolton, the initial PEP will be arranged by the Virtual Schools PEP Administrator in consultation with the Social Worker;
  11. Social Workers will send a copy of the PEP notes page, including date and time of next meeting to the Virtual School PEP Administrator within six working days following the meeting for initial and all subsequent PEP meetings. The administrator will ensure notes of the meeting are made available to all concerned and copied to the relevant Virtual School manager;
  12. The Virtual Schools Manager will ensure this process is adhered to and is quality assured in consultation with the LAC Virtual School, Schools, LAC managers and SIPs managers across the education/social care sector.

5. Follow-on PEPs for both Bolton Schools and Out of Borough Placements

Second and subsequent PEP’s should correspond with the Looked After Review cycle and PEP decisions and recommendations must be available to the child's Independent Reviewing Officer at the Looked After Review.

  • The second Looked After Review should be conducted within three months of an Initial Looked After Review;
  • Subsequent Looked After Reviews should be conducted not more than six months after any previous review.

    See Looked After Reviews Procedure for more information.

The date of the next PEP will be recorded on the Minutes of the PEP and subsequently on the Virtual Schools database.

If the Social Worker is unable to attend the PEP then it becomes his/her Responsibility to arrange an alternative date with the school and inform the Virtual Schools PEP Administrator.

All major decisions regarding the child’s education should be made within the PEP meeting. All additional resource requests should be recorded within PEP meetings and requested from the Virtual School allocations meeting.

6. If a LAC is Excluded from School

Fixed Term - the designated teacher for the school must inform the Social Worker and the Virtual School Manager on the day of the fixed term exclusion and a PEP meeting must then be called to convene within five days of the exclusion to plan prevention of a re-occurrence.

Permanent - the designated teacher will inform the Social Worker and Virtual School manager within two school days of the exclusion. The social Worker will then meet with the School Re-integration Team within five days of the exclusion to arrange continuity of education provision. The Virtual School manager will ensure that policy and protocol are adhered to.

7. If a LAC has no allocated School Place

The Social Worker will call a PEP meeting, involving the young person, the carer, the social worker within 10 days of admission into care and set targets accordingly.

8. Planned Returns to Bolton from Out of Borough Educational Placements

When a planned return to the home area has been agreed, the young person’s social worker will convene a PEP meeting. The emphasis of the meeting will be to ensure continuity of education and an appropriate future school provision is identified.

This meeting should occur at least 6 weeks before the projected return date.

9. Transfer of Schools within Bolton

In other than emergency situations, the decision to seek a transfer of school must be discussed and agreed at the LAC Care Review. The Reviewing Officer will then ask for a PEP to be convened so that that the relevant Virtual School are involved in considering transition plans.

Appendix 1: PEP Flowchart

Click here to view Appendix 1: PEP Flowchart.