Monday 17th February 2020
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Previously looked after children - information for educational settings

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​​What does previously looked after children (PLAC) refer to?
For the purpose of these pages, PLAC is a collective term which refers to children and young people who have been ‘looked after’ by the local authority for at least one day and have gone on to be:
  • ​adopted 
  • subject to a special guardianship order (SGO)
  • subject to a child arrangement order (CAO)
It does not refer to children who have been ‘looked after’ and have been returned to the care of their parent/s.​

Expand each tab below for more information.

Pre-adoptive placement and adoption

When a child moves into a pre-adoptive placement they continue to be a looked after child (LAC).

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Child arrangement order (CAO)

This has replaced residence orders and contact orders. The order will state who a child lives and with and can determine who they can spend time with and for how long.

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Special guardianship order (SGO)

This is deemed to be a permanent order that determines who the child will live with for the duration of their minority.

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What duties do schools and local authorities have?

Children and Social Work Act 2017 places the following requirements on the local authority and schools for previously looked after children (PLAC).

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Accessing guidance and information

Find out how schools and families can access guidance and information from the local authority.

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Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) for PLAC

How do schools access PP+ for PLAC and what are the requirements for spending?

PP+ is available for children that were previously looked after by an English or Welsh local authority and have gone on to be adopted, subject to a special guardianship order or a child arrangement order, from the term after the child is three until the age of 16.

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Post-adoption support

What support is available to the family once the adoption/SGO/CAO is complete?

Post-adoption support for families is lifelong. For the first three years after the adoption is granted, it's the authority that placed the child who have responsibility for this. After three years, it is the local authority that the family are resident in.

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Issues affecting previously looked after children

How do we find out about issues which may be of particular relevance to previously looked after children?

There are two ways we assess any potential issues:

  • the Educational Psychology team offers attachment training which the school can procure
  • Luton's virtual school provides a course on attachment and trauma to which a school can send members of staff

The details of these courses can be found on the Luton school support website.

School support in Luton

There are also a number of private providers which offer courses to schools. If your child is working with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) they may also be able to support the school around your child’s specific needs.


The following resources have been published to support schools and may be useful:


PAC-UK also offers an education helpline - speak to advisors from their educational service about any issues to do with meeting the educational needs of permanently placed children and young people.

They've also produced a book 'Creating an adoption friendly school’. See the button below.

Creating an adoption friendly school

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Contact us

Contact Luton's virtual school if you need any other help or guidance.

Matthew Sims, Headteacher

[email protected]

Michelle Wright, Educational Advisor

[email protected]

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