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Luton Borough Council

Corporate parenting principles 2018


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This page summarises the application of corporate parenting principles to looked after children (LAC) and care leavers (CL).

About the principles

The principles signify a more joined up approach but are not new - more  like a framework. The  experiences of LAC and care leavers need to be considered. They need to feel ‘cared for and listened to’.
The principles are listed here:
  1. to act in the best interests and promote physical and mental health and wellbeing of LAC and CL
  2. to encourage them to express their views, wishes and feelings
  3. to take into account their views, wishes and feelings
  4. to help these children and young people gain access to, and make the best use of services provided by the local authority and it’s relevant partners
  5. to promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes for those children and young people
  6. for those children and LAC to be safe, and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work
  7. to prepare those children and young people for adulthood and independent living

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Key features

The principles should set out the mindset of a local authority and in how it carries out functions for LAC and CL.

It sets out the principles about behaviours and attitudes expected of a good parent and expects local authorities to be ambitious and aspirational.

Corporate parenting boards investigate how LAC and CL experience services - frequent feedback is received at these meetings from Children’s Participation Manager, Philip Moore.

Councils need to publish a Local Offer, which will contain information about services they offer to assist CL in making a successful transition to independence. There should be a dialogue between CL and leaders to develop the Local Offer.

Corporate parenting principles apply to the following types of services:
  • education
  • social care
  • housing
  • libraries
  • leisure and recreation
  • health and well being plans
  • tax collection
The DfE  has introduced a ‘care leaver covenant’. This will enable organisations to make commitments to CL within the spirit of corporate parenting principles in a way that is most appropriate to them.

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What does the virtual school do to support the implementation of these principles?

1. To act in the best interests and promote physical and mental health and wellbeing of LAC and young people.
Luton’s virtual school is funding a mental worker post to support five to 16 year olds. This should reduce the risks to their emotional health and wellbeing when they are older.
The school signposts young people to support services for children and young people, for example CAMHS and educational psychologists.
2 and 3. Encouraging  and  taking  into account the views, wishes and feelings of children and young people
Luton's virtual school:
  • is working with the children’s participation manager to obtain the views of all SEN LAC, including those who are disengaged
  • discuss and involve them in design of Local Offer
  • have made videos with young people, communicating how they felt regarding changes of placements
  • the virtual school head attends Young People’s Panel and updates them on developments in the virtual school, including 16 x 16 framework
  • may use online surveys, videos and apps in the future to capture views of LAC and CL
4. Helping looked after children and care leavers gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and it’s relevant partners
How we achieve this:
  • virtual school personal advisers (PAs) offer independent advice and guidance to all care leavers aged from 16 to 25 years
  • Luton’s virtual school has 75% of it’s pupils in good or outstanding schools - where children are in schools that are RI, this is because they were already attending that school when it was judged RI and it would not be appropriate to move them
  • support and training for foster carers, through the virtual school
  • virtual school PAs have supported care leavers to return to education and training, and support young people from different backgrounds and needs
  • helping carers and others to support in making best post 16 choices to access education, employment and training, through:
    • the virtual school PAs
    • regular reviewing of personal education plans (PEPs) during years 10 and 11 (see separate page on support for 16+)
  • PAs promote education and aspirations for young people through PEPS and looked after children reviews promote education and aspirations for young people through PEPS and looked after children reviews
5. Promoting high aspirations and securing best outcomes
Luton local authority wants the best outcomes for it’s CL and to make it easy for looked after children to follow their choices. This is achieved through the work of the virtual school PAs who offer independent advice and guidance to LAC. 
The virtual school has a vital role in ensuring the local authority embeds promoting high aspirations and best outcomes in PEPS and looked after children reviews.
How we achieve this:
  • PAs work with the University of Bedfordshire and other universities to access higher education courses
  • access to sports and recreational activities is encouraged at PEP meetings
  • some young people attend the Duke of Edinburgh
  • the virtual school head has presented a PowerPoint to the Education department, encouraging peers to think of ways that care leavers can be supported - consideration has been given to the local authority to offer apprenticeships/traineeships to care leavers
  • care leavers attended a senior leaders meeting where they presented their views on how the council could improve it’s service to care leavers - managers will be responding
6. Being safe, and having stability
Recent evidence from key stage 2 results indicate that all seven pupils who attained the expected levels were all in stable placements.

The pupils had all attended the same school in their neighbourhood for at least two years.
7. Preparing  for adulthood and independent living
We achieve this by:
  • helping to access education and work through the virtual school personal advisers
  • promoting opportunities to develop life and employability skills
  • making young people aware of
    • Princes Trust programmes and training
    • apprenticeships
    • work experience

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