Previously Looked After Children

Previously Looked-After Children are defined as: “one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because s/he is the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales.”

The Virtual School has a statutory duty to provide advice, guidance and information to schools, parents and a range of professionals around improving the educational outcomes of children who are previously looked after. They are not corporate parents for this group of children.

The Virtual School will respond to parental requests for advice and information. Such as advice on school admissions in their area, sign-posting parents to other services that can offer advice and support. The Virtual School will also respond to requests for advice and information from education providers.

For more information please see our FAQ about Previously Looked After Children below or contact the Virtual School. Email: or telephone: 01609 533231.

Pupil Premium Grant Funding

Since April 2014, schools in England have attracted Pupil Premium Grant for:

  • children adopted from care
  • children who left care under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO)
  • children who left care under a Child Arrangement Order (CAO)

Please note the Pupil Premium Grant for Previously Looked after Children is allocated directly to and managed by the school, not the Virtual School. Our regular training events for Designated Teachers will provide advice and guidance on effective Pupil Premium Grant spending for Previously Looked After Children.

This Pupil Premium Grant funding, is paid at the start of the financial year as a single indicative amount. Following data verification by the ESFA, an adjustment is made for actual funded numbers later in the summer term. For the financial year 2020 to 2021, the Post-LAC Pupil Premium Grant equates to £2,345 per Previously Looked After Child per annum.

The money is not a personal budget for individual children, nor is it ring fenced. The school will spend the money how it sees fit for the benefit of the previously looked after children cohort. The North Yorkshire Virtual School advises parents and schools that it is best practice to involve parents in expenditure decisions given the additional needs of Previously Looked After Children.

Securing funding

To secure the Pupil Premium Grant, it is the responsibility of the school to prompt parents and guardians that will have needed to inform the school about their child’s circumstances in time for the school to record the child’s status on the January School Census.

It is suggested by the Virtual School that you include a question regarding previously in care status both on your admissions form and at regular intervals when requesting information regarding Ever 6 FSM eligibility. An example letter schools can send out regarding previously looked after status is shown here. This will involve providing supporting evidence, for example, the Adoption Court Order. School must identify and indicate on the census that the child is eligible in order to receive the funding. Please ensure sensitivity and state that all information would be held strictly confidential.


Care experienced children are among the most vulnerable children in society and it is of paramount importance that a school place is found that is in the best interests of the child as quickly as possible. Admission authorities must give highest priority to Looked After Children and Previously Looked After Children.

The admission requirements for Previously Looked After Children are set out in the School Admissions Code. This Code applies to maintained schools and academies, including free schools.

Please refer to the NYCC School Admissions page for further information.

Trauma and educational impact

A high proportion of adopted children experienced abuse and neglect before entering care. Two main additional educational needs that sometimes follow are:

  • attachment and trauma issues
  • difficulties with learning following impaired brain development

The areas of difficulty may include:-

  • cognition and learning
  • communication and interaction
  • social, emotional and mental health
  • physical and / or sensory

As a result of these traumas, they might experience learning difficulties within and educational environment. Please contact the Virtual Schools Educational Psychologist by emailing for guidance on support that can be offered. Your school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) will also be able to provide support.

The transition from Looked After Status to Previously Looked After Status

Some looked after children are placed for adoption and will live with their prospective new parents prior to the final Adoption Order. Before the final Adoption Order is made by the courts the child will retain his or her Looked After legal status. That means, for example, that although placed for adoption he or she will have an adoption plan and a PEP. It also means that the child should continue to be treated in the same way as any other looked after child for the purpose of school admission priority arrangements and in relation to the designated teacher’s role.

Once the final Adoption Order is made, the child will no longer be looked after. However, his or her educational, social and emotional needs will not change overnight simply as a result of the final Adoption Order. Schools and designated teachers will, therefore, need to be sensitive to the arrangements for supporting the educational needs of children post-adoption.

Useful resources and further guidance

For Schools

For Families