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Children in Care: Guide for School Governors 

Created in collaboration with Aaron King (

*A quick note on terminology: We use the term ‘children in care’ (or CIC for short). However, these same pupils are sometimes described as Looked After Children (LAC) or Children Looked After (CLA). So, even if your local area doesn’t use the term ‘CIC’, this page is for you.

What is Children in Care: Guide for School Governors?

It’s a short handbook that tells you what you need to know about children in care (CIC). It explains the basics quickly and clearly, as well as giving sensible questions for governors to ask.

Full of the latest knowledge from both a national charity and local school perspective, it covers CIC from EYFS classes all the way up to Year 13. It applies to both academies and local authority schools.

Whilst it is perfect for governors, expert feedback told us that it’s also great for:

  • school leaders
  • teachers
  • support staff
  • others who work to support our pupils

What isn’t in the guide?

Lots of jargon. But when it does have jargon, it is simply explained.

One barrier to your better understanding of the care system is information that’s bogged down by laws and terminology. Most of us just want key points in the most straightforward way possible. This guide does that: key facts without extra jibber-jabber.

Clear and concise. This is useful to many staff as well as governors.

⎯⎯ Experienced teacher of children in care

Who wrote it?

It was written by Aaron King & Become.

Aaron has spent around 20 years on governing boards and a similar time working with vulnerable children and families in schools – especially those with SEND.

Become are the national charity for children in care & care leavers. Since 1992, we have been working hard to:

  • Provide advice and support
  • Help guide the lives of CIC & care leavers
  • Influence policy
  • Train professionals who work with CIC.

Become practice what they preach (that we should have no limits on what can be achieved by our CIC). For example, 50% of their trustees have first-hand experience of care.

We asked carers, staff and governors for feedback and listened to their feedback to make the booklet even better.

Having this booklet gave me confidence to ask. When I wasn't sure I'd even day "I've read some guidance and wondered if I can ask you some of the questions they have suggested... It sort of gives me permission to ask tough questions."

⎯⎯ School Governor

Why did we write this CIC guide?

School governors sometimes take on extra duties called link governors. There was a new link governor at one school and we wanted to help them with their link governor role for Looked After Children.

We couldn’t find what we needed to get them off to a flying start. So we rolled up our sleeves and wrote it. We now hope it helps you (or your colleagues) in your CIC roles.

Are Schools required to have a CIC Link Governor?

No. You are not.

However, it is a good thing to have if you have two or more CIC (or children who were previously CIC) in your school. It helps improve the life chances for CIC because it gives extra focus on their progress and outcomes.

Children in Care Governors are important allies to our CIC. They help to ensure that there is accountability for our CIC, as well as support and challenge for the designated teacher.

In practice, CIC is often part of the Safeguarding Governor role (and the DfE guidance says that your school must have one of those). Typically, it does make sense to combine the two roles.

What if our school has no CIC (or previously CIC)?

If you have no CIC (or Previously CIC), do not ask a volunteer to be CIC Link Governor. When we ask volunteers to fulfil roles that have no tangible benefit to pupils, the volunteer is more likely to quit.

Instead, include oversight of CIC in the safeguarding link governor role. That’s because, even with no CIC, governors should still check that school has anticipated CIC. The three questions that governor should ask are:

  1. Have we a designated teacher (DT) and have they been on training for the DT role?
  2. If a pupil entered the care system next Monday, What actions would our DT need to take?
  3. If a carer applied for a CIC to join our school, how well prepared are we to support that pupil (and their carers) from day one?

Download Now

  1. Get the guide now and let’s help our CIC to reach for the stars.
  2. Share it with those you think will also benefit from its rich knowledge.

Where can I get more info?

  • Most local councils have a Virtual School webpage. You can find these via Google.
  • Check out 9000 Lives’ up-to-date guidance for governors on SEND and Mental Health.

Children in Care: Guide for School Governors

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