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Luton Borough Council

Designated teachers

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This page relates to the work of the designated teacher in virtual schools.

Who is the designated teacher (DT)?

Each school must have a DT who is responsible for promoting the educational achievement of looked after children (LAC).
The DT must:
  • be a qualified teacher or headteacher
  • undertake appropriate training
  • must support the educational achievement of previously LAC
The DT will ask the child’s parents or carers for evidence of their previously looked after status.

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Why do LAC and previously LAC need the support of a DT?

Many LAC have gaps in their learning and special educational needs (SEN), as well as suffering from the emotional impact of their experiences.
This means they will need careful assessment and planning to support them. It is the role of the DT to ensure that the LAC are well supported. LAC at key stage 2 and 4 do not perform as well as non LAC.
There's a wide range of support available to LAC through their school, carers, social workwear and the virtual school.

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The role of the governing body - what does it do?

The governing body will determine the following.
  1. Does the DT have support form the LA so they can provide leadership, information and  training?
  2. Does DT work with governing body to ensure school policies reflect needs of LAC and previously LAC?
  3. Can the DT have online training opportunities to keep up to date with skills, knowledge and understanding of teaching LAC? Do they have good SEN knowledge?
  4. Can the DT call on additional agencies to support it’s LAC?


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What is the role of the DT for LAC and previously LAC?

The DT should have a leadership role in the school so they can promote the educational achievement of every LAC and previously LAC. Expand the panel below for more details.

The DT should have a leadership role in the school so they can promote the educational achievement of every LAC and previously LAC.

The DT will take responsibility for ensuring school staff understand how LAC learn and achieve and, how the whole school can support the educational achievement of these pupils. For example all staff should:

  • have high expectations of LAC
  • be aware of emotional, psychological and social effects of loss and separation
  • not treat LAC differently and ensure they show sensitivity about who knows their status
  • understand the importance of the PEP

DTs should have a direct day to day role, or a delegating role, in supporting LAC and previously LAC and contribute to school policies and procedures. This should ensure that:

  • there is an effective induction for LAC and previously LAC
  • there are procedures in place to support a child’s learning
  • transitions are effective
  • thought is given to careers advice and planning, and further and higher education
  • there are no barriers to LAC accessing activities and experiences

 The DT should promote a culture in which LAC and previously LAC:

  • can discuss their progress and set their own targets
  • are prioritised for 1:1 tuition
  • are  encouraged to participate in school activities
  • are aspirational and believe they can succeed
  • can discuss difficult matters with adults

The DT should work directly with carers and parents to:

  • promote good home/school links
  • support progress by communication well with carers and parents
  • ensure carers, parents or guardians understand the value of 1:1 tuition
  • ensure carers and parents understand how the school teaches literacy and numeracy
  • encourage high aspirations for their children

The DT should also work closely with the school’s designated safeguarding lead to ensure that concerns are quickly responded to.

The DT needs to be aware that the virtual school head must provide information and advice to designated teachers on meeting the needs of these children. This may be:

  • general information
  • training
  • information and advice on individual children at the request of parents/carers or the designated teacher

The DT should fully involve parents and carers in decisions affecting their child’s education. 


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Statutory guidance for designated teachers

The button below will take you to statutory guidance on GOV.UK for the designated teacher for looked after and previously looked after children.

Designated teachers on GOV.UK

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