Time out of school will disadvantage a child in care, place increased pressure on the foster placement and have a negative impact on attainment.

The School Admissions Code is clear that children in care take priority for school admissions.

The following duties are placed on local authorities:

  • Securing an educational place is one of the main considerations when agreeing a care placement.
  • The government expects local authorities to set a time limit of 20 school days within which they must secure an education placement for any child in care - it will be a full-time place in a local mainstream school unless the circumstances of the child make full-time or local or mainstream provision unsuitable.
  • Local authorities and admissions authorities have to justify any delay in providing education.
  • Admissions authorities should not fail to admit a young person because they are in care, nor should they allow any unnecessary delay in the admissions process.
  • Even if a school is over-subscribed, the highest priority must be given to children in care who must be taken on roll.

It is the responsibility of the person with Parental responsibility to submit a school application, usually in the case of a child in care, the social worker.

The local authority will often provide the admissions service for schools in its area, but if the school is an academy, it may be necessary to apply direct to the school. Refer to the school's own website for details.

NB If your foster child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the local Special Educational Needs Assessment (SENA) Team will be responsible for consulting with schools to identify which is best to meet the child's needs, though parental preference will be taken into consideration. They are also responsible for commissioning places where a child's EHCP states that a special school is required.