Personal Education Plans - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a PEP?
PEP stands for Personal Education Plan. It is a statutory requirement from pre-school to age 18, as it forms part of the care plan. It should be considered a personalised, working document used to monitor and track the education of Children in Care.
The PEP document is updated a minimum of once per school term (3 times per academic year) and is followed up by a meeting to discuss any issues, put support in place and request Pupil Premium funding.
The PEP should cover:
- access to a nursery or other high quality early years provision that is appropriate to the child’s age (e.g. pre-school playgroups) and meets their identified developmental needs;
- on-going catch-up support for those who have fallen behind with school work (including use of effective intervention strategies);
- provision of immediate suitable education where a child is not in school (e.g. because of temporary or permanent exclusion);
- transition support where needed, such as when a child starts attending a new school or returns to school (e.g. moving from pre-school/ early years to primary school, primary to secondary school, from secondary school to further education, or following illness or exclusion) or when a child has a plan for permanence (e.g. placed for adoption) and may change schools as part of that plan;
- school attendance and, where appropriate, behaviour support; and
- support needed to help the child realise their short and long-term academic achievements and aspirations. This includes:
- support to achieve expected levels of progress for the relevant national curriculum key stage, and to complete an appropriate range of approved qualifications;
- careers advice and guidance and financial information about further and higher education, training and employment. Discussions about longer term goals should start early and, ideally, well before Year 9 (age 13-14) at school. High aspirations are crucial to successful planning for the future. They should focus on the child or young person’s strengths and capabilities and the outcomes they want to achieve; and
- out-of-school hours learning activities, study support and leisure interests.
[Taken from the DfE document 'Promoting the Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children' 2018, which can be found here]
How often do PEPs need to happen?
A Personal Education Plan meeting should held within 10 working days of a child coming into care or moving school placements. This initial PEP should be initiated and arranged by the social worker. The PEP document is kept electronically. WVS uses eGov Solutions Ltd ePEP system to track the PEPs. The Designated Teacher and Social Worker should complete their paperwork sections BEFORE the meeting. The child's views should also be collected before the meeting, however this can be done by the carer, social worker or Designated Teacher.
The PEPs should be an evolving record of support for the child or young person, should be personalised and tailored to their individual needs. It should be reviewed at least once per school term.
A PEP must also be held if the child is not on roll at a school or education provision.
Who should attend the meeting?
The social worker should arrange the meeting and invite the relevant people. This MUST include: the social worker, the Designated Teacher, the carer and the Virtual School. Parents may also be invited, if appropriate. Other professionals may also be invited, for example; SENCOs, Key Workers, Class Teachers, Educational Psychologist, etc.
The child or young person should attend if they are old enough and wish to be present. If they do not wish to attend the meeting, it is of utmost importance that their views are discussed with them before the meeting and taken into account.
Does the child/young person have to attend the PEP meeting?
The child's views are the most important part of the PEP. In some circumstances, the child or young person may not attend the meeting; for example, if the child is very young, if sensitive issues need to be discussed, or because they do not wish to attend. In these cases, it is extremely important that a trusted adult has helped them to express their views and that this has been documented on ePEP before the meeting. Designated Teachers, carers and social workers all have access to ePEP, so it should be decided who is best placed to complete this with the child.
Who should chair the meeting?
As the PEP is an education meeting, WVS strongly advises that the meeting should be chaired and led by an education professional - in this case, the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children. The social worker must attend the PEP as the corporate parent for the child.
Can the meeting go ahead without the Virtual School?
Yes! While we ask that you please invite us to the PEP meetings, it is often the case that a Virtual School representative is unable to attend. If this is the case, please go ahead and continue with the meeting in our absence. Depending on capacity, the Virtual School will endeavour to attend the first PEP and at least one per academic year. If you feel that there are important issues that need to be discussed with us, please let us know.
The meeting should not go ahead without a social worker or Designated Teacher.
Who should the Designated Teacher be?
The Designated Teacher in school must be someone of "appropriate seniority and experience to provide leadership, training, information, challenge and advice to others that will influence decisions about the teaching and learning needs of looked-after and previously looked-after children". They must also be able to "work with the school’s senior leadership and governing body to help ensure school policies and approaches appropriately reflect the needs of looked-after and previously looked-after children and act as a champion for them". [Taken from DfE guidance 'The Designated Teacher for Looked After and Previously Looked After Children' 2018, which can be found here]
In Secondary schools, WVS would expect the Designated Teacher to be a Deputy Head, for example. In Primary schools, it is most likely to be the Head Teacher. Schools can also ask other members of staff to support the Designated Teacher. WVS are happy to provide ePEP logins for other members of staff but the ultimate responsibility and sign off for the PEP will remain with the Designated Teacher.
Can we agree what to spend the Pupil Premium Plus grant on in the PEP meeting?
Yes! The child/young person's individual needs should be taken into account when agreeing what to spend the PP+ on. First and foremost, it must be used to bridge any gaps in their learning. Please refer to the Pupil Premium section for more information.
Any PP+ requests should be entered onto ePEP during the meeting. These should form part of their SMART targets, and any funding requests submitted to the Virtual School for approval. Please only request one term's funds at a time as all interventions and PP+ spends should be reviewed and the impact measured on at least a termly basis.
Will the Virtual School fund extra-curricular and external activities?
All Pupil Premium+ requests will be looked at on an individual basis, and the use of the funds must be clearly supported with a SMART target. Please see the Pupil Premium+ section for more information.
All of our Children in Care and Care Leavers are entitled to an electronic device and music lessons, which are funded separately to the PP+.
When will the school receive the funds requested through the PEP?
If agreed and approved, the school initially pays for their Pupil Premium+ requests and is then reimbursed for these costs at the end of every term. For example, tuition is set up following a September PEP meeting and the full term's cost is requested via ePEP. This would be approved at the time of the meeting, and funds paid to school at the end of December.