Barnsley Virtual School

Social workers play a key role in supporting the education of children in care.

You have overall responsibility for the child's care plan, including their Personal Education Plan. Because of this, it's crucial that you're familiar with the statutory guidance, promoting the education of looked after children and previously looked after children February 2018.

This guidance underpins the education planning process for children in care.

It recognises the social worker as lead professional, supported by the Virtual School, in developing and monitoring robust personalised plans to support educational outcomes.

Step by step guides for social workers

The guides below will help you fulfil your role in the PEP process:

The flow Chart of Termly Personal Education Planning Cycle illustrates our education planning process.


Read more about what the guidance states

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Wherever the child is placed, their social worker, supported by the authority’s Virtual School Head(VSH), should take the lead to:

  • initiate a Personal Education Plan(PEP) even where a looked after child is without a school place. This includes meeting with appropriate education providers and the carer
  • ensure that where a child is placed in an emergency the PEP is initiated within 10 working days of them becoming looked after, wherever they are placed
  • ensure, with the support of others, including the VSH, that the PEP contains a summary of the child’s current attainment and progress
  • ensure the PEP is effective and is available for the first statutory review meeting of the care plan
  • ensure the PEP gives details of who will take the plan forward and specifies timescales for action and review.

The social worker with responsibility for the child should:

  • not take significant decisions about a looked after child’s education without reviewing the PEP, in consultation with the child, the child’s school, carer, VSH, Independent Reviewing Officer(IRO) and, where appropriate, their parent(s)
  • alert the IRO to any significant changes to the child’s PEP, such as the breakdown or change of an education placement, so that the IRO can decide whether a review of the care plan is required 
  • ensure that all relevant information about the child’s educational progress and support needs is up-to-date and evidenced before the statutory review meeting 
  • act on any changes required to meet the child’s education needs identified by the IRO.

In Barnsley, this duty is discharged through the Termly Personal Education Plan(TPEP) system (see TPEP policy).  

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