The Personal Education Plan or PEP is a record of how professionals around the child looked after will support their educational outcomes and achievement.   It is developed and reviewed termly with the designated teacher, young person, social worker, carer and virtual school. A PEP should be started within 10 days of a child becoming looked after, and their plan must be in place by their first review.  

PEP formats vary between Local Authorities but should always include:

  • Strengths and achievements
  • Views of the student
  • SMART academic targets
  • Current and target attainment data 

PEP’s can improve educational outcomes for CLA by helping everyone gain a clear and shared understanding about the teaching and learning provision necessary to meet the child’s education needs and how that will be provided. Social workers should not take decisions about a child looked after's education without reviewing the PEP in consultation with the school, child, carer, parent (if appropriate), VS and Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

To download an Effective PEP audit for Designated Teachers, please click here

To download a  resource pack designed to help foster carers engage more effectively in the PEP process, please click here

To download resource pack designed to help social workers engage more effectively in the PEP process, please click here.

The school and local authority for the CLA have a shared responsibility for the PEP.  In practice, this means that the DT, VSH and allocated social worker work together to develop the PEP, taking account of the child’s views.  The Designated Teacher is then responsible for leading on the development and implementation of the PEP within the school.

When a child on the school’s roll becomes looked after, the Local Authority which looks after him or her must ensure that the Designated Teacher is notified and receives a basic PEP.

This should include information about the child such as:

  • Age.
  • Care status.
  • Where the child lives.
  • School history and whether the child has a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or EHCP or are having their SEN met through additional support.
  • Details of the child’s carers.
  • The child’s parents and what restrictions might apply in relation to their contact with the child.
  • Who to contact within the Local Authority that looks after the child (social worker and looked after children education team contact).

If a child has been looked after for some time, the PEP should also include information about educational progress and how s/he learns best.

When a child at the school becomes looked after, or when a looked after child joins the school either at the beginning of, or during, the school year, the designated teacher should make sure his or her specific educational and developmental needs are accurately and comprehensively assessed without delay. This should include an assessment of reading.  The Designated Teacher should work closely with other teachers to identify the young person’s strengths and weaknesses and any barriers to learning. This assessment of learning needs will form the basis for the development or review and refinement of the PEP.

PEP’s should be developed and reviewed through a meeting attended by the allocated social worker, the Designated Teacher, the child, carers, and where possible, a representative from the Virtual School.

 The role and responsibilities of the Designated Teacher in relation to the PEP

A PEP should set high quality expectations of rapid progress and put in place the additional support the child or young person needs in order to succeed. The Designated Teacher should have ultimate responsibility for leading the process of target setting for individual Children Looked After in school and rigorously track their attainment and progress. The Designated Teacher should make sure that the PEP is an effective tool to help the school do everything possible to support the young person’s educational progress.

The Designated Teacher should work closely with other staff in school to make sure the child’s progress is rigorously monitored and evaluated. The Designated Teacher should be able to assess whether the teaching and learning and intervention strategies being used will facilitate the young person to meet the educational targets in his or her PEP. If the young person is not on track to meet targets, the Designated Teacher should agree the best way forward with him or her in order to make progress, and reflect this in the PEP.

An effective PEP’s is a ‘living’ document that should become a tool for supporting the child’s education and development needs on a day to day basis. There is no standard format for PEPs as each Local Authority will have developed their own form and will offer training on how the process works in their area.  The relevant Virtual School will Quality Assure the PEP and should ensure it:

  • Involves the child and their carer/s and has a strong young person voice.
  • Is based on accurate assessment that identifies developmental and educational needs and strengths, in relation to skills, knowledge, subject areas and experiences; it is important that critical learning gaps are identified so that these can be tackled.
  • Sets out short and long term SMART educational attainment targets agreed in partnership with the child and the carer.
  • Records planned actions that the school and others will take to support the child to achieve expected levels of progress for the relevant national curriculum key stage and to complete an appropriate range of approved qualifications.  This should be based on an assessment of his or her educational needs; e.g. subject areas, homework, extra tuition, study support, attendance and behaviour.
  • Includes information on how the progress of the child is to be rigorously monitored.
  • Records details of specific interventions and targeted support that will be used to make sure personal education targets are met, especially at the end of Key Stage 2 in relation to English and mathematics and at Key Stage 4 in achieving success in public examinations. In particular, one-to-one tuition appears to have a particularly significant impact on Children Looked After progress and so this should be offered wherever appropriate as one of the key strategies for raising attainment.
  • Says what will happen or is already happening to put in place any additional support which may be required – e.g. possible action to support special educational needs involving the SENCO, educational psychologist, CAMHS or local authority education services.
  • Sets out how a child’s aspiration and self-confidence and ambition is being nurtured, especially in consideration of longer term goals towards further and higher education, work experience and career plans.
  • Is a record of the child’s academic achievements and participation in the wider activities of the school and other out of school learning activities (e.g. sporting, personal development, community).
  • Provides information which helps all who are supporting the child’s educational achievement to understand what works for him or her.
  • Has clear accountability in terms of who within the school is responsible for making the actions identified in the plan happen and specifies timescales for action and review - SMART targets.
  • Where a child has a statement of special educational needs, or an EHCP, the PEP should include relevant information from these and annual reviews but does not need to duplicate the information in full.
  • Identifies developmental needs including any related to unmet attachment needs and trauma and include behaviour management strategies to help ensure challenging behaviour is managed in the most effective way for that child 
  • Identifies support needed around mental health and specialist services
  • Includes transition support where needed including when a child has a plan for permanence and may change schools as part of that plan.
  • Includes plans and aspirations for post 16, aspirations should be high and discussions should start well before year 9.
  • Detail out of hours learning activities, study support and leisure interests.

The PEP is reviewed as part of the care plan review.  These reviews are statutory and must be done six weeks after a child becomes looked after, at three months, and thereafter at six monthly intervals. The review is chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). The IRO will ask about the child’s educational progress as part of the overall care plan review and should have access to the most up-to-date PEP.

 In preparation for the care plan review, the DT is responsible for ensuring that the PEP

  • Is reviewed before the statutory review of the care plan and that it is up-to-date and contains any new information since the last PEP review, including whether agreed provision is being delivered.
  • is clear about what has or has not been taken forward, noting what resources may be required to further support the child and from where these may be sourced.

The PEP is part of a Child Looked After’s official school record. If the child moves schools, the PEP should be forwarded, along with other school records, to their new school and to the child’s social worker in the Local Authority which looks after the child.  If a child ceases to be looked after, the PEP remains an important document to ensure that the child’s educational needs continue to be met.

Preparing for PEP meetings - useful prompt questions for Designated Teachers


  • Has school provided an attendance printout?
  • If there are attendance concerns, is EWS (Educational Welfare Service) involved?
  • Have any underlying issues that might be causing attendance problems been investigated and how are they been addressed? e.g., bullying, worries about work?


  • Confirm that the pupil has access to the full National Curriculum
  • Level of progress? Measures of progress? e.g. in relation to National Curriculum, Reading Age and/or Spelling Age – date when tested
  • Curricular priorities, e.g. literacy/numeracy?
  • Homework – completed? On time?
  • Y2 and Y6: Are transition plans in place /going ahead?
  • Y9: options – is everyone aware and is support needed to make timely, appropriate choices?
  • Curricular strengths e.g. art, music
  • GCSE subjects; Y11 – target and predicted grades
  • Coursework – up to date? Any problems?
  • Work experience – plans in place? Links with Careers Advisor?

Educational Needs (learning and/or emotional, social, behavioural):          

  • Does the pupil have a statement of special education needs/EHCP?  Are they identified as having Addition Education Needs?
  • What are the needs? How are they being addressed?  Current IEP/BSP/Annual Review Report? Attached?
  • Other needs, e.g. emotional/social/pastoral/physical?
  • Times or situations that affect behaviour?
  • What does the SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) suggest as areas that need development?
  • Support available? What strategies are in place?
  • Other agency involvement – e.g. Behaviour Support Team; anger management; counselling/therapy

Study support:  

  • In class – LSA support? 1:1/small groups? Which subjects & how often?
  • Homework support – at home? At school? Attendance at school run homework clubs if available?
  • Liaison between home and school? e.g. homework diary; attendance at Parents’ Evenings etc.
  • Carers effectively support learning at home?

Cultural/ Religious:         

  • Are there related cultural and/or religious needs (including mixed ethnicity)? Does child attend church? Would child like to attend?

Out-of-School-Hours Learning (OSHL)/extra-curricular activities:

  • Sporting/musical/ artistic interests or strengths; hobbies or clubs, e.g. Brownies, Scouts, Cadets etc.
  • Full opportunity to pursue these?
  • Extra funding or resources needed to make them happen?

Personal development:          

  • Relationships with peers and adults?
  • Opportunities to develop friendships outside of school, e.g. in home placement?
  • Need for mentoring? Does school offer peer mentoring?
  • Stability/consistency of home and school placement?
  • Need to build confidence, self-esteem?
  • Personal strengths and need to encourage these
  • Holidays and extra-curricular events

Other agency involvement:           

  • Health - occupational therapy; speech therapy; designated nurse for CLA; CAMHS
  • Social Care - Play therapy; counselling
  • Education – TECC (Therapeutic Education Counselling Centre); EWS; Behaviour Support Team
  • ConneXions; college links


  • Arrangements for this, e.g. liaison with prospective school in advance of transfer/ move;
  • transfer of relevant information and documentation especially if moving out of authority


Read more:

DfE (Feb 2018).  The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after and previously looked after children.  

DfE (Feb 2018). Promoting the education of looked after children  and previously looked after children - statutory guidance for local authorities