The Making of a Model: Teacher Education for Looked After Children
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We report a three-stage process of developing a model of teacher education to encompass provision for Looked After Children in schools in the UK. First, a survey of 78 trainee teachers explored their perceptions and early practice concerning educating Looked After Children (LAC). There are currently 68,840 children of school age in the UK that have been ‘looked after’ for 12 months or more, and their education is of particular concern both within political and educational circles. Second, teacher education programmes were then reviewed to highlight omissions in relation to LAC, and to initiate an early model for improved training practice, not only for teachers in training but also for the continued professional development of those active in service. Third came the development of a model through consultation with major stakeholders in the field of education for Looked After Children. These were state and charitable organisations, and incorporated responses from Virtual School Headteachers (VSHs) who have oversight of the education for LAC, who are placed on a ‘virtual school’ roll even though physically spread across the schools within a local authority and beyond. The outcomes of the study are limited by the small scale of the research, but provide a validated template for the initial and continued education of teachers for LAC.