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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Personal education plan

Every looked after child must by law have a personal education plan.

The personal education plan should be drawn up as part of the care plan when the child first becomes looked after. It should be related to other parts of the care plan. For example those that relate to the child’s health, emotional development and identity.

The personal education plan should include:

  • A record of the child’s education. This will include schools that they have attended, and reasons for leaving. It will set out their progress and achievement. The record will include details of any disruptions to the child’s education. This will include information on attendance and any disciplinary record.
  • Current arrangements for the child’s education. Details of any provision for special educational needs or other specialist support. For example from local child and adolescent mental health services.
  • Short and long-term educational targets. Where possible, this should be agreed with the child or young person and their carers.
  • Details of how the child’s self-confidence, ambitions and aspirations are being nurtured. This will focus on longer-term goals in terms of higher education, work experience and career plans.
  • Details of the child’s personal and leisure interests. This section should set out how these interests will be supported
  • A clear description of how everyone involved in the child’s care will support the child’s education and help the child pursue their leisure interests. This section should include input from the child’s family, foster carers, teachers and social workers.

The child’s needs and aspirations should be translated into practical actions. For example, where additional help is needed, an action might be for the child to have one-to-one tuition to support learning needs. Or focus may be on transition and integration support for a child who moves school.

The personal education plan should be reviewed as part of the care planning review process. This will be done in partnership with the child’s school. Any changes must be incorporated into the updated care plan.

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