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Frequently asked questions - advice and guidance for adoptive families and schools

How do I choose the right school for my child?

The Virtual School is happy to talk with adoptive parents about the schools in South Tyneside.

Ofsted reports are available by looking on a school's website or at Ofsted.

For looked after children, the government recommends looking at 'Good' or 'Outstanding' schools.

Arrange a visit to the school and ask to meet with the designated member of staff for adopted children. Be prepared to ask questions that will clarify that it is the right school.

For more information about school moves and choosing the right school for you child see school moves.

Does my child get priority in school admissions?

Yes. Children who were previously looked after have priority in the admissions process. 

For more information see school admissions.

How can I best support my child's transition to a different school?

When the school has been identified and a place has been offered, request a meeting with key adults in the school and if possible, previous foster carers, your child's social worker and staff from the previous school.

Plan the transition with your child through activities such as visits to the new school, spending a day there, taking pictures of the school and staff and practising the journey to school. 

For further advice see school moves.

I want my child to move schools. What should I consider?

This is a major decision to take and it is important that all avenues with the current school to support good outcomes for your child have been investigated.

The Virtual School is also happy to have a conversation with you to explore relevant issues if this is something you are considering.

For further advice see school moves.

I would like my child to go to a special school as their needs are not being met in mainstream. What should I consider?

Contact the SENDco in school to discuss your child's needs as there could be more support and interventions within the mainstream school that would support your child.

It might be that your child should be considered for SEN support in the school.

If your child already has an Education, Health and Care Plan then school placement can be discussed at the annual review.

See the About the South Tyneside Local Offer.

For independent advice visit IPSEA.

What support is available in school and who should I contact?

Each school should have a designated teacher for adopted children and hold an overview of their needs in school and any additional support in place.

Pupil Premium Plus is provided for adopted children and schools can access annual funding to spend on tuition, therapy and resources. 

Does my child need a Personal Education Plan (PEP)?

PEPs are not statutory for adopted children but may be used at certain points in a child's education if close monitoring is required, for example times of transition between key stages. 

See Schools (advice and guidance for adoptive families and schools) for information about Personal Education Plans. 

Funding sources - what is Pupil Premium Plus?

This is annual funding for children who have been adopted to support their education. This is currently £1,900, raising to £2,300.

For more information see Pupil Premium Plus for adopted children and young people.

Do I have to tell school that my child is adopted for them to access Pupil Premium Plus?

Yes, the school collects this information at census points (3 times throughout the year) and information is stored on a confidential database.

How do I make sure that Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) is being spent directly on my child?

You can request information from the school. Schools have to publish their PPP spending on their website.

They are able to pool funding from several children to pay for additional opportunities and activities.

You would have to check when and how your child accesses these if appropriate, and if not, what could be put in place.

Can I influence how Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) is used? How do I know what might be the most beneficial use of PPP for my child?

Evidence is only just emerging of some of the more effective ways to spend PPP.

Also, children are different and what might have impact for some children may not for others. 

BAAF published a series of case studies on PPP for adopted children: First4Adoption: BAAF Pupil Premium for Adopted Children report

I am concerned about my child's progress in school. What can I do?

Contact the school and ask to meet with the designated teacher, and if appropriate, the SENDco, to discuss your concerns and agree a plan of action.

Contact the Virtual School on for advice if you feel progress against the action plan has not been made.

My child is being bullied, particularly around their adopted status. What support is available? 

Contact the school and meet with the designated teacher and class teacher, to discuss your concerns openly and honestly, identify the issues and agree a plan of action.

School may need to build their pupils' awareness and understanding of adoption and this needs to be managed sensitively and positively.

My child is unhappy in school and has no friends. Who can I go to for support?

Check if the school has buddy clubs, Theraplay, or other recognised strategies for supporting friendship.

Suggest activity groups for unstructured times in the day and find out what other activities and clubs your child may benefit from. 

Can my child be held back a year as they are developmentally behind their peers? What is the process?

Yes, this is possible but it needs to be agreed by the head teacher of the school.

For more information see South Tyneside Council: Dealing with requests for admission outside of the normal age group (including summer born children)148.76KB or GOV.UK: Advice on the admission of summer born children.

I think we need advice or assessment from an educational psychologist but school say my child has not reached their threshold for intervention. What can I do?

You can request that Pupil Premium Plus is used to fund an external assessment by an educational psychologist. 



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