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Designated Teachers for Looked After Children draft Regulations

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					Designated Teachers for
 Looked After Children:
 draft Regulations and
   statutory guidance
Consultation Response Form
The closing date for this consultation is:
20 May 2009
Your comments must reach us by that date.
THIS FORM IS NOT INTERACTIVE. If you wish to respond electronically
please use the online or offline response facility available on the
Department for Children, Schools and Families e-consultation website
(http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations).



The information you provide in your response will be subject to the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations, which allow
public access to information held by the Department. This does not necessarily
mean that your response can be made available to the public as there are
exemptions relating to information provided in confidence and information to
which the Data Protection Act 1998 applies. You may request confidentiality by
ticking the box provided, but you should note that neither this, nor an
automatically-generated e-mail confidentiality statement, will necessarily exclude
the public right of access.

Please tick if you want us to keep your response confidential.
Name                         Madeleine Tearse
Organisation (if applicable) The Fostering Network
Address:                     87 Blackfriars Road
                             London SE1 8HA

If your enquiry is related to the policy content of the consultation you can
contact Michael Allured on:

Telephone: 020 7273 4906

e-mail: michael.allured@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk

If you have a query relating to the consultation process you can contact the
Consultation Unit on:

Telephone: 0870 000 2288

Fax: 01928 794 311

e-mail: consultation.unit@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk
Please select the category which best describes you as a respondent.

                                       Designated                    Designated
        School Governor                Teacher                       Teacher
                                       (Primary)                     (Secondary)
        Designated                                                   Headteacher
        Teacher (Special               Headteacher                   (Designated
        School)                                                      Teacher)
        Local Authority              = Other


 Please Specify:

 The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading charity for everyone involved in fostering.
 As the voice of foster care we are committed to making life better for fostered children
 and the families that care for them. We do this by working with our members to share
 knowledge and best practice, providing services, support and resources, and
 campaigning for positive changes in foster care at the highest level.
The first two questions ask about the draft of The Education (Designated
Member of Staff for Pupils Looked After by a Local Authority) (England)
Regulations 2009.

1 Do the Regulations set out clearly what is expected in relation to the
qualifications and experience of the designated person?

      + Yes                     No                  Not Sure


 Comments:




2 Are the principles about the importance of the seniority and experience of the
designated person which underpin the Regulations right?

        Yes                   + No                  Not Sure


 Comments:

 Where possible it is important to appoint the designated teacher from a member
 of the senior teaching staff, to ensure the status and authority of the role.
 However, there is a risk of conflict of interest if the Head Teacher takes the role
 of designated teacher. The head has multiple responsibilities which might get in
 the way, and the designated teacher should be working more closely with the
 looked after child(ren).

 As a fall-back position, we welcome the proposal that the designated teacher
 will be able to work closely with a member of the school’s senior leadership
 team, if not a member themselves.

 However, the alternatives as posed seem to allow for an inexperienced teacher
 to take the role, and this is inappropriate. It is important that the designated
 teacher should be a qualified teacher, preferably an experienced teacher,
 preferably experienced in work with looked after children. Therefore the
 designated teacher should have been teaching for a number of years and
 should already have a teaching qualification.

We are also keen to seek your views on the draft statutory guidance on
governing bodies in relation to the Designated Member of Staff. Questions 3 -7
ask about the principles on which the guidance is based and the implications for
practice.

3 Does the draft guidance contain enough detail to ensure clarity about which
tasks (not overall responsibility) may be delegated appropriately to other staff
within the school and which should be for the designated teacher to undertake?

        Yes                    x No                  Not Sure


 Comments:

 It is not altogether clear which tasks may be delegated appropriately to other
 staff.




4 If there are areas of the guidance which are not clear please tell us your
suggestions for how they could be improved.
 Comments:

 The guidance states the designated teacher should “liaise with the social
 worker as necessary about the child’s educational progress and needs” and
 that he/she “should promote good home-school links through contact with the
 child’s carer about how they can support (the child’s) progress”. The Fostering
 Network believes it is important that social worker, foster carer and designated
 teacher should work together for the benefit of the child’s education, and
 therefore the designated teacher should liaise with both. It is important that the
 designated teacher should understand the legal and moral responsibilities of
 foster carers, so that foster carers are informed of appropriate matters, such as
 the child’s safety, which is not always the case.

 Where possible the foster carer should be involved in the educational planning
 process, and this is critical where there are behaviour or learning difficulties
 which involve extra resources or assistance. We are aware that foster carers
 would like to be more involved than they are currently.

 The guidance fails to highlight the caution designated teachers must exercise in
 promoting the education of looked after children while recognising that some
 children may not want their status to be known to the broader membership of
 the school. Governing bodies and designated teachers need to understand that
 some looked after children may want the information about their status to
 remain as confidential as possible.

 The guidance should state that the sharing of information should always be
 proportionate. Sometimes there is a tendency to share too much. For example
 the designated teacher should not pass on to the next school information which
 is not relevant to the child’s transition to a new school, and which may have
 been connected to a past traumatic period in the child’s life which is now over.
 On occasions a child may be labelled before starting at a new school.

 We have also been told
 of designated teachers informing the child of sensitive out-of-school issues and
 decisions.



5 Does the guidance contain the right level of detail to enable governing bodies,
senior managers and designated teachers to undertake their responsibilities
within a flexible framework which fits with local needs?

        Yes                   + No                  Not Sure
 Comments:

 More detail is required.




6 Do you consider the guidance will lend itself to a tick-box compliance approach
in schools on the part of governing bodies and designated teachers rather than
what is in the best interests of children?

      + Yes                                          No


 Comments:
7 Are there any MAJOR GAPS in what the statutory part of this guidance covers?

        Yes                                            No


 Comments:

 The local authority has a duty to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the child
 before they take any decision about them. Schools are not operating under an
 explicit requirement of this nature. However, the guidance should state that as a
 matter of good practice, designated teachers should have regard to the wishes
 and feelings of the child.

 The guidance should address the importance of designated teachers being
 proactive when a child’s education is disrupted in their GCSE years. This
 affects many looked after children. We know that this makes it very difficult for
 children to complete their GCSEs.

 There is no mention in the guidance about the use of e-CAF which is expected
 to be introduced in 2010. Again, this needs to be used with care and discretion
 and the consent of the child. Especially in view of concerns about the security of
 Contact Point, extreme caution should be exercised with the introduction of this
 system.




Annex C of the draft statutory guidance is intended to include information on
particular terms which governing bodies and designated teachers may
encounter. It is also intended to give some information about effective practice
which can help inform how schools implement the statutory role of the
designated teacher.

8 Please tell us if there are any MAJOR omissions in the information provided in
Annex C of the guidance which is essential for governing bodies and designated
teachers to understand?
 Comments:




9 Would you find it helpful for Annex C to include some prompt 'questions for
consideration' to help inform the school's policy and practice? Please use the
comments box if you have examples about what these might cover.

      +   Yes                                           No


 Comments:

 It would be helpful for a child-friendly version of the school’s policy and practice
 to be produced and shared with the looked after child so that he/she knows
 what to expect.




10 Would it be helpful to include some case studies in the 'useful information and
terms of reference' section of the guidance?

      + Yes                                             No
Comments:
Thank you for taking the time to let us have your views. We do not intend to
acknowledge individual responses unless you place an 'X' in the box below.

Please acknowledge this reply +

Here at the Department for Children, Schools and Families we carry out our
research on many different topics and consultations. As your views are valuable
to us, would it be alright if we were to contact you again from time to time either
for research or to send through consultation documents?

+Yes                                     No

All UK national public consultations are required to conform to the following
standards:

1. Consult widely throughout the process, allowing a minimum of 12 weeks for
written consultation at least once during the development of the policy.

2. Be clear about what your proposals are, who may be affected, what questions
are being asked and the timescale for responses.

3. Ensure that your consultation is clear, concise and widely accessible.

4. Give feedback regarding the responses received and how the consultation
process influenced the policy.

5. Monitor your department’s effectiveness at consultation, including through the
use of a designated consultation co-ordinator.

6. Ensure your consultation follows better regulation best practice, including
carrying out a Regulatory Impact Assessment if appropriate.

Further information on the Code of Practice can be accessed through the
Cabinet Office Website: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/regulation/consultation-
guidance/content/introduction/index.asp

Thank you for taking time to respond to this consultation.
Completed questionnaires and other responses should be sent to the address
shown below by 20 May 2009

Send by post to: Michael Allured, Education and Wellbeing Team, Children in
Care Division, Department for Children Schools and Families, Sanctuary
Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT

Send by e-mail to: designatedteacher.consultation@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk

				
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Description: Designated Teachers for Looked After Children draft Regulations