One of the factors most likely to disadvantage young people in care is the school time they may lose by being out of school, so securing a suitable school place must be a priority. There are two duties placed on local authorities:
Securing an educational placement is one of the main criteria which must be used in identifying a suitable care placement - this should generally be taken to mean a full-time place in a local mainstream school, commencing without delay
The Government expects local authorities to set a maximum time limit of 20 school days within which they must secure an education placement for any pupil in public care - it will be a full-time place in a local mainstream school unless the circumstances of the child make full-time or local or mainstream provision unsuitable
Local authorities and admissions authorities need to be able to justify clearly any delay in providing education. Admissions authorities should not fail to admit a young person because they are in public care nor should they allow any unnecessary delay in the admissions process for these young people. It is recommended that all admission authorities give children in public care top priority in their oversubscription criteria.
The School Admissions Code 2012 states:
"All schools must have oversubscription criteria for each ‘relevant age group’ and the highest priority must be given, unless otherwise provided in this Code, to looked after children and previously looked after children. Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order). Further references to previously looked after children in this Code means such children who were adopted (or subject to residence orders or special guardianship orders) immediately following having been looked after”.