The term Children Looked After (CLA) is used for both children and young people for whom the Local Authority (LA) either has full or shared parental responsibility. In most cases this means they are taken away from the care of their parents, provided with alternative accommodation and supported by LA agencies, charities or independent organisations. Children will only be looked after until they reach the age of 18 and not beyond their 18th birthday.
Rhondda Cynon Taff collaborated with Merthyr Tydfil to provide a vision for CLA within the local authority.
Our Vision for CLA of Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) and Merthyr Tydfil (MT).
We want the voice of our children to be heard by all those who work with them so that they are central to the planning that is put in place. RCT and MT wants to ensure that the children and young people in their care have the best possible life chances and that the impact of the circumstances that led to the need for care are overcome or reduced. We want to close the gap between the attainments and achievements of our CLA in relation to that of all other children. We want to ensure that our children and young people have been helped and supported to overcome the impact of psychological trauma with the best and most effective interventions available. We want all our schools to be CLA Friendly Schools, fully aware of the difficulties faced by the children they educate with a positive ethos and willingness to actively promote high outcomes and achievement. We want all our CLA learners to have access to good quality teaching and learning which recognises their individual needs and so motivates and equips them with academic qualifications and skills that will provide excellent life chances.
Support in Llanharan Primary School
The designated teacher for CLA within the school is Mr Matthew Foster. Mr Foster has a central role to play in ensuring the positive wellbeing and happy experiences for a CLA as a pupil in our school. His role is complex with a number of key functions. These include:
✓ Keeping accurate and comprehensive records about all children and young people in school who are in care or adopted;
✓ When a new CLA arrives at the school, ensuring a smooth and welcoming induction for the child and carer, noting any specific requirements, including care status;
✓ Ensuring that a Personal Education Plan (PEP) is completed, as soon as possible (at least within 10 days if a child is entering care on an emergency basis or 20 days if a child is entering care in a planned way);
✓ Maintaining an up-to-date PEP, setting out how they will be supported in school;
✓ Acting as an advocate for the CLA within the school;
✓ Providing a key person who can advocate for the CLA and to whom they can go to for support;
✓ Allocating a safe place in school, for example a room where a child or young person can go if they are distressed;
✓ Attending CLA reviews and providing written information;
✓ Encouraging CLA to participate in extra-curricular activities and out of hours learning, where feasible;
✓ Ensuring speedy transfer of information between individuals and other relevant agencies and to a new school, if and when, a CLA transfers; and
✓ Seeking urgent meetings with relevant parties where a CLA is experiencing difficulties and/or is in danger of being excluded.
Our school policy can be found here.