Guidance for Designated Teachers

Every educational setting needs to appoint a designated person to promote the educational achievement of children looked-after (CLA) and previously looked-after (PCLA).  Every child looked-after has a Care Plan and the Personal Education Plan – the PEP – is part of this statutory plan.

The key roles and responsibilities of the Designated Teacher/Lead are to:

  • be a central point of initial contact within the school and ensure that arrangements are joined up and minimise any disruption to the child’s learning
  • promote their education and a whole school culture where the personalised learning needs of every child looked after matters and their personal, emotional and academic needs are prioritised
  • lead on how the PEP SMART targets are communicated in school to make sure the child’s progress towards education targets is monitored
  • take lead responsibility for ensuring school staff understand the things which can affect how children looked-after and previously looked-after learn and achieve and how the whole school supports the educational achievement of these pupils.

Make that sure that all staff:

  • have high expectations of children looked-after and previously looked-after learning and set targets to accelerate educational progress;
  • are aware of the emotional, psychological and social effects of loss and separation (attachment awareness) from birth families and that some children may find it difficult to build relationships of trust with adults because of their experiences, and how this might affect the child’s behaviour;
  • understand how important it is to see children looked-after and previously looked-after as individuals rather than as a homogeneous group, not publicly treat them differently from their peers, and show sensitivity about who else knows about their looked-after or previously looked-after status;
  • appreciate the central importance of the looked-after child’s PEP in helping to create a shared understanding between teachers, carers, social workers and most importantly, the child’s own understanding of how they are being supported;
  • have the level of understanding they need of the role of social workers, VSHs and carers, and how the function of the PEP fits into the wider care planning duties of the authority which looks after the child


Sutton Virtual School for Children Looked-After PEPs

Once a child comes into care, their first Personal Education Plan (PEP) meeting needs to be held within 20 working days.  It must be attended by the Designated Teacher at the school (or a representative), the social worker and the foster carer.  The child will have an allocated case manager at the Virtual School, who will organise PEP meetings and attend some of them over the course of the year.

Sutton Children Looked After then have termly PEP meetings thereafter.  We use eGOV to provide an  ePEP.  You will receive an ePEP login  when you are added to the system ahead of the first ePEP meeting. The Designated Teacher must update the ePEP a week prior to the PEP meeting, populating all possible fields.   Further training can be found on our website pages.


Designated Teacher duties for every PEP:

Once you have updated the relevant sections of the PEP document and Marked Completed in the PEP Sign Off section, Sutton Virtual School will quality assure the PEP and send feedback as appropriate.  A pdf copy of the ePEP will be automatically sent to you via ePEP system when Sutton Virtual School Sign off the ePEP.   It is up to the social worker to decide whether to share information with the birth parents.

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)

This needs to be downloaded from ePEP and completed by a teacher/key worker that works with the child often and returned via email to  ahead of the ePEP meeting, so that it can be scored ready for discussion in the meeting.  It is usually undertaken for the first PEP meeting and every Autumn thereafter.  When you chair the meeting, please ensure that the SDQ results are discussed and actions are recorded to provide the young person support if of the fields are scored as high or low

Pupil Premium Plus

Sutton Virtual School allocate pupil premium plus funds on a ‘needs’ basis.  You can request to claim pupil premium funds through the SMART targets section of the ePEP and it will be considered by the Virtual School case manager, who can agree up to £600 per term, and can liaise with the Virtual School Headteacher to consider requests for more than this.  All pupil premium funds need to be specifically used to support the child and promote their educational achievement.  It can be used to facilitate a wide range of educational support for children looked-after.  It is important that interventions supported by pupil premium should be evidence-based and in the best interests of the child. Designated Teachers need to cite the impact of pupil premium funds in each ePEP.  Pupil premium plus funding for previously looked after children is allocated directly to and managed by their school.


Please contact the child’s Sutton Virtual School case manager in the first instance, or alternatively:

Headteacher, Sutton Virtual School:Kate Leyshon

Tel: 07515 137 705

Deputy Headteacher, Sutton Virtual School:Sara Martin

Tel: 07534 528 680

Secondary/Post 16/ UASC Specialist

& Assessment and Quality Assurance Manager:

Moira Adams

Tel: 07534 539 588

SEN Specialist and Educational Adviser:Donna Spiller Tel:
Educational Advisers:Carolyn Ankrah Tel: 07736 338158

Georgia Doncaster 07956 932 688


Tel: 07508 984934

Trauma and Attachment Advisor:Sasha-Gay Brown

07534 525707