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Previously Children in Care (PCiC)

Previously Children in Care (PCiC) are those who:

  • are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales because they are the subject to a
    • adoption order
    • special guardianship order (SGO)
    • child arrangements order (CAO)
  • were adopted from ‘state care’ outside of 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.

The role of the Virtual School for Previously Children in Care (PCiC)

Local authorities have a duty under section 23ZZA of the Children Act 1989 to promote the educational achievement of previously children in care (PCiC) in their area by providing information and advice to:

  • any person that has parental responsibility for the child.
  • providers of funded early years education, 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.

Parental consent must be sought by professionals before any discussion with the Virtual School relating to a named PCiC.

Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) funding for PCiC

Schools receive PP+ funding for each eligible previously child in care on their roll. They are eligible if they were in care to an English or Welsh local authority and then left care because one of the following applied.

They were:

  • adopted
  • subject to a special guardianship order (SGO)
  • subject to a child arrangements order (CAO)

Schools should record any eligible previously child in care on the school census to receive funding from central Government in the following April. It is for those with parental responsibility to decide if they wish to self-declare their children’s status to schools. Parents are to provide supporting evidence, for example, a photocopy of the adoption order, and confirm that their child was previously in care.

The funding is not a personal budget and should be spent for the benefit of the previously child in care cohort.

The Virtual School has no role in the distribution of PP+ funding for previously children in care.

Children who were in care and returned to birth parents are not eligible for PP+ funding.

More information can be found at GOV.UK - Pupil Premium overview.

Two year old funding

Children who have left care under an adoption, SGO or CAO are entitled to two year old funding.

The role of the Designated Teacher for PCiC

Statutory guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website

Key points to consider:

  • The guidance recognises that previously children in care are likely to have significant barriers to their learning.
  • The guidance states that all schools identify a designated member of staff who will take responsibility for promoting the achievement of previously children in care. This person should be experienced, in a senior position with the ability to influence whole school decisions, they should also receive regular training ensuring other staff access training and are kept updated.
  • In order to meet needs of previously children in care, social, emotional and academic needs are suggested as a priority.
  • The guidance promotes the importance of involving parents in decisions about their child’s education and ensuring good home-school links are built.
  • There is recognition that previously children in care are more likely to have special educational needs and mental health needs.
  • Direction is given for schools to put in the right support so as to avoid suspension and exclusion of a previously children in care.
  • The guidance is clear about schools needing to ensure sufficient flexibility in their behaviour policy to meet the needs of previously children in care.

Education Plans for Previously Children in Care (PCiC)


Many of our previously children in care suffered trauma during their early life experiences and their needs for further support may not necessarily change once an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangement Order has been granted.

The main benefit of the Education Plan for Previously Children in Care is to raise awareness of a child/young person’s individual needs, ensuring that relevant information is available to those who need to know and that effective communication routes are established.


  • For those in education to be fully aware of the needs and issues faced by previously children in care and their parents/carers.
  • To encourage further positive collaboration between home and the education setting.


Education plans can be initiated by either the education setting or parents/carers. The process will establish ongoing reviews. The review date will be set by those attending the meeting, according to the child’s circumstances, e.g., termly, 6 monthly or annually. It is advised that the education plan process is initiated when:

  • A child leaves care through an adopted, SGO or CAO i.e. at the last Child in Care PEP.
  • The child starts at a new setting.

The process can be initiated at any point should the above not have taken place. As partnership is key when supporting children and young people, the meeting should consist of the young person, the designated teacher, other relevant school staff, home and any external organisations whose contribution would be beneficial.

The word document below is an example of an education planning document, schools may wish to alter and adapt as they see fit to meet the needs of the individual child.

Education Plan for PCiC - example (DOCX, 36 KB)

The Virtual School can offer advice and guidance on the completion of this form if required.

Further information and useful links

Useful links for parents and carers

Useful links for schools 

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