Many adopted children can find school difficult. They will often display complex behaviour due to the trauma they experienced at critical times in their development. Consequently, the (new) environment may make them feel threatened and unsafe and this disrupts their learning.

Adoption West can work with adoptive families to complement education-based support. While we are not able to offer direct support in school, we work with colleagues in education across the region. By providing advice on transitions, attachment, trauma and more, our aim is to understand the best ways of supporting, children, young people and their adoptive parents.

The dropdown list below offers some advice, and resources for adoptive parents, when considering their child’s education.

School Admissions Code came into force on 19 December 2014 which made it a statutory requirement for school admission authorities to give the highest priority to children that were previously in the care of a local authority; this includes adopted children. This means that as an adoptive parent you can chose the school you think will best meet your child’s needs, and their entry into that school, whilst not guaranteed, will be given priority.

Choosing a school – Adoption UK offers some helpful advice on choosing your child’s school, Choosing your child’s school

These leaflets may also help Welcoming an adopted child to your EYFS setting  and Welcoming an adopted child into your Primary School

Pupil Premium +  provides extra funding to state-funded schools to help their staff give extra support to disadvantaged pupils including, but not restricted to, those adopted from care.

More about Pupil Premium from Adoption UK

Early Years Pupil Premium –provides extra money to the Early Years Provider for three and four-year-old children, including adopted children. Registering your child could provide up to £300 extra for your child’s Early Years Provider. They can use the funding, in any way they choose, to improve the quality of the early year’s education provided for your child.

You may be eligible for free early education for your child from the age of two, use the link to see if you are eligible.

The Local Authority has a duty to promote the educational achievement of Previously Looked After Children by providing information and advice to:

  • Any person that has parental responsibility for the child
  • Providers of funded early years education and Designated Teachers for Previously Looked after Children in maintained schools and academies
  • Any other person the authority considers appropriate for promoting the educational achievement of relevant children

Previously looked-after children are those who:

  • Are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales (as defined by the Children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and Well- being (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order
  • Were adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales. ‘State care’ is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society

Your local Virtual School

  • The designated teacher should be a central point of contact within your child’s school (quite often it is the school SENCO) – to ensure your child’s needs are recognised and appropriate support is in .
  • Governing bodies now have a duty to designate a member of staff to promote the educational achievement of previously looked after children, including those adopted from ‘state care’ outside England. They should have the opportunity to undertake appropriate training and work closely with parents and guardians to ensure the best outcomes for the child, socially, emotionally and educationally.

Further information on designated teachers available here

Local authorities must publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have Special Educational Needs or are disabled, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. In setting out what they ‘expect to be available’, local authorities should include provision which they believe will actually be available.

Contacts in your area are:

Adoption UK on Education

PAC-UK Education Resources

Beacon House – Trauma and attachment in the classroom and other publications – offer a free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).