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Education is a vital part of any child’s journey and adopted children can experience challenges during their school life. Being in a new school surrounded by different people can make them feel unsettled, unsafe and this can affect their learning.

Adopt London have a wealth of education support to offer adoptive families, many are provided by the government recognising the additional support adoptive families may need. Many adopters find these support services invaluable and they are available to help make life a little easier.


Virtual Schools

Virtual Schools provide information, advice and support to improve the education, learning and life chances of children and young people who are or have been in care. This includes all children who have been adopted or placed on a Special Guardianship Order.

Virtual schools are made up of a Virtual Head Teacher (VSH), leading a staff team with qualified teachers.

Each local authority has its own virtual school and VSH.  Please see our list of Virtual Schools for details of the virtual school in the local authorities in partnership with Adopt London.

Early Education

Education support begins from a young age and children adopted from care are entitled to free early education from the age of two. Details can be found on the Childcare Choices government website.

Early Years Pupil Premium

There is additional funding for childminders, pre-schools and nurseries for some three and four years olds, including children adopted from care. Currently this is £302 a year and this is paid directly to the early years provider.  Pupil Premium is provided to give those children who may be disadvantaged in relation to their peers, additional support. This includes for adopted children.  The early years provider decides how the funding is spent which may include staff training or arranging specialist support services.

Pupil Premium / Pupil Premium Plus

Pupil Premium began in 2011 for specific children, including looked after children, to close the attainment gap between them and their peers. Pupil Premium is currently £1,320 per eligible pupil for primary schools and £935 per pupil for secondary schools. Pupil Premium is different to Pupil Premium Plus.

In 2013 Pupil Premium Plus was introduced specifically for looked after and previously looked after children, in recognition of the impact trauma and loss can have on their lives. Pupil Premium plus is currently £2,345 per child per year. The payment is to assist the school with helping the needs of the child and they have flexibility on how the money is spent. You will need to let the school know that your child is adopted for the school to be able to claim the funds.

Priority School Admissions

It’s important that your child attends a school that best meets their needs. Adopted children are entitled to priority school admissions. This means your child should be able to attend the state funded school of your choice. For more information, please visit the schools admissions page of the GOV.UK website. You can request an assessment of your child’s special educational needs if you feel that your child needs extra support at school.

SEND/Local Offer

In response to concerns from parents and others that they find it hard to access information about what support is available, the Children and Families Act 2014 requires every local authority in England to publish a ‘Local Offer’ for children with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND).

The purpose of a Local Offer is to provide clear information and to make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children, young people and their parents as well as service providers in its development and review.

Information about SEND can be found on the government website.

Please click here to find out more about the Local Offer in your borough.

Family Information Service

Every borough has their own Family Information Services Directory is updated regularly to support families in their local area.  You will find a range of information on services, organisations, travel assistance, activities for children, young people, and families as well as access to professionals, in your borough. Please click here  to find a link to your local service.

Additional support

There are many external sources of education support. Please see the additional resources and partners page for links to other organisations which are able to offer support to adoptive families.

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