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How you do at school can have a big impact on what you achieve later in life. There are lots of people and systems that work together to make sure you have access to a wide range of support.
ePEP - Your Personal Education Plan is now electronic and available on-line to you from your computer. It is also available to your carer, your social worker and Designated Teacher. Your ePEP is interactive and can record your awards and achievements, set out a plan of action and targets you'd like to achieve. It gets reviewed twice a year, so your school and social worker know you're getting the help you need.
When it's being reviewed, get involved. Speak up if you're finding things hard and think some extra help would be useful. Both your social worker and your designated teacher will do all they can to make things go more smoothly for you. They'll speak with your teachers and put things in place to help. Your teachers will understand if you don’t want to be singled out and they can work with you so that it works for you and them. You can access your ePEP on line by following this link: https://epeponline.co.uk/auth/login
If you have a statement of special educational needs, make sure you are involved in the annual review. If you find these meetings difficult, don't worry; just get your carer, key worker or an advocate to speak for you.
Your virtual headteacher is employed by the local authority (Kent) to check how schools in the area are supporting looked-after children and give them advice about how to help you get the most from school and do well in exams.
Virtual headteachers are very experienced and oversee the educational progress of all children looked after by that local authority. The virtual headteacher has in-depth knowledge that means they can give extra support to designated teachers.
Every school has a designated teacher - this is the person who looks out for any child in care at that school.
They will know about your Personal Education Plan (PEP), issues you might be going through at home and will have good links with children's services and charities that work with children in care. They're also likely to know how you can get involved with different activities and how to access any funding and extra support your classmates won't have access to.
Circle of Friends
Not every school will have this but it's helped a lot of people settle in. You get a group of pupils, who have volunteered to help, who work with you and a teacher to sort out any problems or questions you've got. Circle of Friends meet up now and again to ensure everything is going well.
This is where another pupil, usually older than you, who looks out for you and shows you around in the first few weeks. A buddy is someone you can talk to and who will tell you what things are really like at your new school.
You and your social worker will create your Pathway Plan. It sets out the support you need as you begin to live independently as well as the help you will receive for your education or training. This could cover the cost of books, equipment or travel. Knowing this information could make the difference between struggling to cope and getting the support that's rightfully yours.
What you want to do once you leave school will affect what goes into your Pathway Plan. Everyone now has to take part in some kind of education or training up to the age of 18. That could mean you stay on at school, take an apprenticeship, become a trainee or go to college.
These can seem like massive decisions, so to help, you are entitled to a Personal Adviser. They will help you plan the next step. Try not to worry about it though – the plan can be changed as you go, depending on your own wishes and circumstances. Also the local authority will continue to support you until you’re 21 (or 24 if still in education or training).
What if I'm not getting the support I need?
There are times when your school may have slipped up, a teacher may not have done everything they could have, or the local authority has let you down. If this happens you can make a formal complaint so that the right people know about it and can act on it. Click here for more information.