Looked After Children
Homefield partnered with Sutton Local Authority and the Virtual School for Looked After Children (LAC) to fully include this vulnerable group within our School provision. We collaborated on an identification tool and process before enrolling LAC students on a full bursary. We also open our other partnership ‘masterclass’ events to the LAC Virtual School allowing whole groups of LAC students to access enrichment activities.
You can access the free toolkit from our website link here: https://shor.at/EeSs1Ppd
To collaborate with partners to identify and support Looked After Children and to ensure their indicators of attainment and wellbeing are significantly above national expectations by full inclusion within Homefield School.
The Headmaster of Homefield had prior experience of working with Jonathan Williams, the Local Authority Assistant Director of Children's Social Care and Safeguarding, and together with Sara Martin, the Assessment and Quality Assurance Manager, Virtual School for Looked After Children, collaborated to design a tool to identify suitable LAC students who might benefit from a placement at Homefield. Sarah Martin then led on an identification programme whilst Jonathan Williams organised support from across Sutton Children’s Services. The Local Authority pledged to provide pupil premium funding direct to Homefield, to help offset the offer of a fully bursary.
Our goal is to transform the lives of the most vulnerable group of children in the country by raising their attainment to well above national expectation using our academic and pastoral resources.
Our first LAC student started full time attendance in 2018.
Our first groups of LAC students attended our masterclass provision in early 2019.
Time for School and Local Authority/Virtual School for LAC collaboration at the front end on design of process, identification tool and assessment.
On-going bursarial support (up to 2/3 places per year) from Homefield with financial contribution from Local Authority (pupil premium grant) to support placement.
On-going support Deputy Head Pastoral and Head of SEND for LAC reviews and planning with Virtual School Head.
Our first LAC student started full time attendance in 2018, our second by 2020. Listening to our partners, we also realised there was a strong case to broaden the offer. So, our first larger groups of LAC students also started attending regular ‘masterclass’ provision in Science, French and Sports. A year in, the foster family of our very first LAC student reported that this initiative had “Changed all of our lives for the better… and for good.” Standardised assessments and wider achievement indicators demonstrate that our LAC students’ progress is outstanding.
Given our local success we wanted to share our work. The Independent Schools Council helped, with a key note speaker platform at the Institute of Development Professionals National Conference in London 2019. Within a week we noted nearly 1000 downloads of our ‘Toolkit’; a free resource to demonstrate the process we undertook, how we managed roles and responsibilities, how we started placements and took careful measure of impact. The Bursars' Association also now carries our Toolkit in its professional resources section. In September 2020 we presented seminars at the Independent Association of Prep Head’s Conference, with an update of where we’ve got to and what we’ve learnt.
The current LAC pupils attending the School are in year groups 4 and 5, both boys.
The groups of LAC pupils attending our 'masterclass' provision typically contain 5-6 students at the 9-11 age range, both boys and girls.
The LAC student(s) will be ongoing and full time until they transfer to senior schools.
The 'masterclass' events, for groups of LAC students, are termly.