Children in Care: The Guide for School Governors
* A quick note on terminology: We use the term ‘children in care’ (or CIC for short). However, these same pupils are sometimes described as Looked after Children (LAC) or Children Looked After (CLA). So, even if your area doesn’t use the term CIC, this page is still right for you.
What is Children in Care: Guide for School Governors?
It’s a short handbook that tells you what you need to know about CIC. It explains the basics quickly and clearly, as well as giving sensible questions for governors to ask.
Full of the latest knowledge from a both a national charity and local school perspective, it covers CIC from EYFS classes all the way up to Year 13. It applies to both academies and local authority schools.
Whilst it is perfect for governors, expert feedback told us that it’s also great for:
- school leaders
- support staff
- others who work to support our pupils
It’s free to download here.
What isn’t in the guide?
Lots of jargon. But when it does have jargon, it is simply explained.
One barrier to your better understanding of the care system is information that’s bogged down by laws and terminology. Most of us just want key points in the most straightforward way possible. This guide does that: key facts without extra jibber-jabber.
Who wrote it?
It was written by Aaron King & Become.
Aaron has spent around 20 years on governing bodies and a similar time working with vulnerable children and families in schools – especially those with SEND.
Become are the national charity for children in care & care leavers. Since 1992, Become have been working hard to:
- Provide advice and support
- Help guide the lives of CIC & care leavers
- Influence policy
- Train professionals who work with CIC.
Become practice what they preach (that we should have no limits on what can be achieved by our CIC). For example, 50% of their trustees have first-hand experience of care. Check out their website becomecharity.org.uk.
We asked carers, staff, care experienced people and governors for feedback and listened to their feedback to make the booklet even better. Thanks to all those who gave opinions, especially Tracy, Sarah, Jill and Amy.
Why did we write this CIC guide?
School governors sometimes take on extra duties called link governors. There was a new link governor at one school and we wanted to help them with their link governor role for Children in Care.
We couldn’t find what we needed to get them off to a flying start. So we rolled up our sleeves and wrote it. We now hope it helps you (or your colleagues) to improve the lives of your CIC.
It’s free to download here.
Are Schools required to have a CIC Link Governor?
No. You are not.
In practice, CIC is often part of the Safeguarding Governor role (and the DfE guidance says that your school must have one of those). Typically, it does make sense to combine the two roles.
Whether it is part of the safeguarding governor role or a stand alone link governor, this governor is an important ally to our CIC. They help to ensure that there is accountability for our CIC, as well as support and challenge for the designated teacher.
What if our school has no CIC (or previously CIC)?
If you have no CIC (or Previously CIC), do not ask a volunteer to be CIC Link Governor. If we give volunteers roles that have no tangible benefit to current pupils, the volunteer is more likely to quit.
Instead, include oversight of CIC in the safeguarding link governor role. That’s because, even with no CIC, governors should still check that school has anticipated CIC. The three questions that governor should ask are:
- Have we a designated teacher (DT) and have they been on training for the DT role?
- If a pupil entered the care system next Monday, What actions would our DT need to take?
- If a carer applied for a CIC to join our school, how well prepared are we to support that pupil (and their carers) from day one?
- Get the guide now and let’s help our CIC to reach for the stars.
- Share it with those you think will also benefit from its rich knowledge.
Where can I get more info?
- Most local councils have a Virtual School webpage. You can find these via Google.