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Looked after child

What is a looked after child?

A looked after child is a young person, under the age of 18, who is being looked after by their local authority as a child in care. A looked after child may be living with foster carers, in a residential children’s home or other residential settings such as schools or secure units.

What barriers does a looked after child face?

A looked after child may have experienced difficulties in their past which occurred prior to them entering the care system. These experiences could now restrict their contact with family members and have caused them to relocate.

Inconsistency in education provision
Although a looked after child is no less able than their peers, they may be more likely to underachieve due to gaps in their education provision. A looked after child may have missed periods at school, and ultimately fell behind, when entering the care system or when foster/residential placements breakdown.

Relationship breakdowns
A looked after child may struggle to form/maintain relationships with other individuals, both personal and professional, due to the amount of changes they may have experienced with residential/educational placements.

Difficulties in accessing support
A looked after child can experience difficulties/long waiting times when trying to access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), which support may be essential for them to benefit fully from learning opportunities.

Case study

“I currently live in a residential children’s home and have had bad experiences when it comes to school/education, so found applying to college very daunting. After I completed my application, I was contacted by my support coach who arranged for me to visit the college throughout the summer holidays, which put my mind at ease as I was able to look around whilst it was quiet.

“My support coach gave me all the information and forms I needed to claim for financial support at the college which included the cost of the kit I would need. They also helped me complete the college bus form which meant that I could travel to and from college for free! Receiving this support before I even started my course made it so much easier for me to come to enrolment and begin my course as a lot of my questions had been answered. Also, I knew that there was always someone at college that I could go to, should I need to talk and if things become too much.

“As I progressed throughout my course, my support coach kept in contact with my residential key worker and social worker and also attended my LAC reviews to update everyone on how well I was doing. During my year at the college, I began to struggle with my emotions and found speaking with my support coach useful as they were able to refer me to specialist counselling support. By engaging in this support, I was able to speak about my issues and have professional support on how to process and overcome them.

“Towards the end of my course, I met with my support coach to discuss how I wanted to progress and they supported me with my application for the next level on my course for the next academic year. I have now passed my qualification and been accepted on to the next level!”

Top five tips

  • 1Ask for help! Don’t isolate yourself, people are here to help.
  • 2Talk about your feelings.
  • 3Engage in the support available to you.
  • 4Remember that there are other students in the college that are looked after, you are not alone.
  • 5Keep yourself safe, particularly when online!

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Why choose West Notts?

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100% A Level pass rate in 2018

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Best A Level provider in Mansfield and Ashfield for student progress*

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction**

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An extensive bus service across Mansfield and the surrounding area

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£50m investment in our facilities since 2008

*Value added is a measure of a student’s progress against their starting point
**Learner Exit Survey 2017/18
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