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3.5.2 Personal Education Plans


Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children Procedure

Role and Responsibilities of the Virtual Headteacher Procedure

Education of Looked After Children Guidance

Children and Young People Aged 0 - 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Procedure

Exclusions and Children out of School


This chapter was amended in December 2011 to reflect the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 and Associated Guidance. Section 2 Timing of PEPs has been amended. Section 4, How to do a PEP now contains the objectives and targets of a PEP.


  1. The Purpose of PEPs
  2. Timing of PEPs
  3. Understanding the PEP form
  4. How to do a PEP (ensuring good quality PEPs)
  5. Involving Children in their PEPs
  6. Some Questions to ask at PEP meetings
  7. The Child's Targets
  8. For Children not in any Educational Provision
  9. For Children Attending Schools not in Southwark

1. The Purpose of PEPs

PEPs provide a way for all those involved with the education of a child in care to help them achieve their potential by providing a focus on the actions required by carers, child and professionals. Relevant pre-care history or current Care Plans can be shared, educational needs can be identified and implications for education planned for. Over a period of time the PEP will provide a continuous record of the child's school history.

2. Timing of PEPs

It is the social worker's responsibility to ensure that PEP meetings take place to ensure that PEP's are completed within the following statutory timescales:

  • The first PEP should be completed as part of the Care Plan, i.e. within 10 working days of the child coming into care, and should be presented to the first Looked After Review;

    Thereafter reviews should take place so that an up to date PEP is presented to subsequent Looked After Reviews;
  • Within 20 school days of a child starting a new school.

Where possible PEP meetings should take place between 2 - 6 weeks before the child's second and subsequent Looked After Review. Consideration should be given to the timing of school holidays. (Another way of tracking PEPs is to ensure the first PEP meeting in each academic year takes place in the autumn term (September to December) and the second PEP meeting of the year (or review PEP) takes place in the summer term (April to July)

If a child has a Education Health and Care Plan then if possible one PEP meeting each year should take place alongside the Education Health and Care Plan annual review.

3. Understanding the PEP form

The PEP is divided into 4 parts.

Section 1 will have information downloaded from Mosaic. Social workers will need to check the accuracy of this information and see if any additional information is required.

Section 2 will be filled in during the meeting. It acts as a summary of the meeting.

Section 3 is information provided by the school (preferably filled in by the school before the meeting) and discussed at the meeting.

Section 4 is filled in during the meeting, although sometimes the child's view may more appropriately be done prior to the meeting.

4. How to do a PEP (ensuring good quality PEPs)

Before the PEP meeting

The social worker should, in consultation with all those to attend, arrange a date and time for the PEP meeting. The school, carers, child, parents if appropriate and other education personnel involved in child's education should be invited to attend the PEP meeting. The Designated Teacher for CLA is usually the first point of contact in schools. The meeting usually takes place at the educational setting.

The social worker should remind the school about the information they need to bring to the meeting. They should fax or email Section 3 of the PEP through to the school prior to the meeting and ask them to fill in as much of the information as possible prior to the meeting.

The social worker should discuss the PEP meeting with the child before the meeting. 

(See Section 5, Involving Children in their PEPs)

The social worker should access the appropriate PEP form from ICS. They will need to know which academic year the child is in and access the corresponding PEP form. If this is the second PEP within an academic year, the child has not changed schools and there has been good school stability during the preceding 6 months the alternative and simpler 'Review of Personal Education Plan' form may be used.

NB The first section of the PEP will automatically be filled in with information from Mosaic/ICS. The social worker needs to check the accuracy of this information and change it if it is not correct. If there are any individual circumstances around Parental Responsibility or contact arrangements, these need to be added manually.

At the PEP meeting

(The social worker should take the last PEP to the PEP meeting so that actions required by carers and professionals, and the child's targets can be reviewed)

School or education personnel should chair the meeting.

The PEP should set clear objectives and targets for the child, covering the following:

  • An achievement record (academic or otherwise); Chronology of education and training history which provides a record of the child's educational experience and progress in terms of National Curriculum levels of attainment, including information about educational institutions attended and the reasons for leaving, attendance and conduct record, academic and other achievements, any special educational needs, an indication of the extent to which the child's education has been disrupted before entering care or accommodation;
  • Developmental or educational needs; Existing arrangements for education and training, including details of any special educational provision and any other provision to meet the child's educational or training needs and promote educational achievement;
  • Short term targets; Any planned changes to existing arrangements and provision to minimise disruption;
  • The child's leisure interests;
  • Long term plans and aspirations: Role of the appropriate person and any other person who cares for the child in promoting the child's educational achievements and leisure interests.

The social worker's role during the meeting is to:

  • Offer to take notes and ensure all sections of the PEP form are discussed and completed;
  • Ensure sensitive information about child's pre-care history, current Care Plan and any contact arrangements are shared appropriately, probably when child is not present;
  • Ensure that there is a clear picture of the progress the child is making in school;
  • Ensure that any help the child needs to make appropriate progress is planned;
  • Ensure that there is a balance of discussion around strengths and weaknesses and the child's achievements are recognised;
  • Ensure that any heath or emotional issues that could affect child's progress are shared and planned for;
  • Ensure that actions required by carer and professionals are clearly noted and understood;
  • Ensure the child is involved in identifying their target(s) and they are appropriate and realistic (See Section 7, The Child's Targets).

Social workers don't need to have lots of knowledge about education, but will need to ask relevant questions (See Section 6, Some Questions to ask at PEP meetings)

The child should attend all or part of the meeting according to their age, their maturity and their ability and interest in participating in the meeting.

The child should be involved in deciding their targets as appropriate. There should be at least one academic target. If a child has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) (children at school action, school action plus or those with a statement usually have an IEP) the targets from the current IEP can be used.

A date for the next PEP should be set if this is the first PEP in the academic year. If this is the second PEP in the academic year then it is best not to set a date for the next PEP as this could involve different school staff personnel as the child will be in a different school year.

After the meeting

Following the meeting the social worker will need to enter all the information into the appropriate PEP in ICS and send a copy to the school. It is crucial that this is completed accurately and within the agreed timescale. Any school reports etc should be scanned into ICS.

The social worker should ensure that the actions agreed by professionals and carers at the PEP meeting are all carried out within the agreed timescales.

Independent Reviewing Officers will also want to know about the child's targets, which actions (by professionals and carers) agreed at the PEP meeting have been carried out or not and any difficulties child is continuing to experience at school - see Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officers.

5. Involving Children in their PEPs

Talking to a child about their education should be ongoing; however a child will benefit from preparation for their PEP meeting. This will help the young person feel part of the process and understand the purpose of the meeting. It will hopefully help them feel as if it is not just one more meeting that is happening to them with other people making decisions about their life.

It is best for social workers to have a discussion about PEPs and the child's view about school during their last visit to the child before the PEP meeting. If this is impractical, then a chat at the school just before the PEP meeting or a telephone conversation a day or two before the meeting would be the next best option.

Points to consider covering:

  • Tell them who will be at the meeting;
  • The purpose of the meeting. (For those who are concerned and involved in their education to all get together and find ways to help them achieve their full potential in school);
  • What will be discussed at the meeting (The child's, school's and carer's view about their education, their strengths, weaknesses and achievements, extra curricular activities, any issues e.g. anything relating to homework, behaviour, friendship or learning difficulties etc, new targets for the next 6 months and any actions that need to be carried out to help child do well in school. If the child is changing school soon, choosing GCSE options or completing GCSE coursework these would be part of the discussion too);
  • Discuss and encourage them to attend the meeting. Share with them how difficult it is to have a meeting about someone if they are not there and that their view is as important as anyone else's. The expectation is that they will attend at least part of the meeting. They may need help to be clear about what they want to say about any concerns they have about school and how they feel they are doing. Social workers have a key role in helping them clarify their view about school;
  • Ask if there is anything they want an adult to say at the meeting that they are uncomfortable about saying themselves and who they would like to say it for them;
  • Discuss what they want to achieve and get out of school during the next six months or so (also longer term for older children) eg academically, extra activities, any choices being made, any friendship/social issues, and career and college choices etc;
  • Ask the child if they would like a copy of the PEP;
  • After the meeting discuss how it went and if they agree with what was said. Check that they understand what the PEP should help them achieve.

6. Some Questions to ask at PEP meetings

(These questions will help to give a full picture of how child is progressing and find out more about any relevant issues)


  • Are they achieving what is expected of them (in terms of the national average for their age group) in English/Maths?
  • If not, how far behind are they and how significant is this?
  • Why does school/child think they aren't achieving as well as they should be doing? (E.g. poor concentration, lack of motivation, learning difficulty);
  • What can the school/carer do to help them catch up?
  • Is the school providing the pupil with to one-to-one tuition?
  • Would the pupil benefit from weekly home tuition?
  • What progress would you expect them to make in the next 6 - 12 months?
  • If that progress isn't made do you think they should be put onto school action/be put up a stage on the SEN code of practice?
  • What subjects do they enjoy the most/least? What can we do to help them enjoy the subjects they do not like much?
  • For children with significant educational needs it is helpful to ask the school what they believe to be the over-arching educational need/focus.


  • What are their relationships like with adults/other children?
  • Does child have any difficulty making and keeping friends?
  • If this is an issue what can be done to help them?
  • How do children/adults respond to them?
  • Do you think they are vulnerable to bullying/have bullied others?
  • What form does the bullying take?
  • What can be done to prevent the bullying?


  • Are there any behavioural concerns?
  • If so, what inappropriate behaviours do they display?
  • What does school/child think triggers these behaviours?
  • What lessons/times of the day do these behaviours happen e.g. playtime, maths lessons, with particular school staff or after lunch etc?
  • What strategies have been tried to change the behaviour?
  • How successful were they? What else can be tried?
  • How can the carer/social worker help?
  • Does emotional distress affect their learning?
  • Has the LEA behaviour support team been asked for advice?
  • If there were any exclusions find out what they were for and how significant the school view the exclusions. Also what actions are being taken to try and improve child's behaviour and help prevent another exclusion occurring?


  • Do they bring the appropriate equipment to school?
  • Do they do homework on time and is it done well?
  • If there are homework issues what suggestions can school make to help child and carer?

To ask carer

  • How do you encourage them to do their homework?
  • Do you feel they enjoy reading with/to you?
  • What interests do you think could be developed outside of school?

7. The Child's Targets

It is sensible to take account of any targets that the school may have already set otherwise there is the danger of an unmanageable and possibly contradictory targets being set. Nevertheless it is important that the child should be asked what they would like to achieve in school over the next 6 months. 1 to 3 targets should be agreed with the child. The child's targets should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed (usually PEP targets are for the next 6 months)

There should be at least one academic target e.g.

  • I will learn my 2, 3, 4 and 5 times table;
  • I will read and talk about 6 books by my favourite author;
  • I will achieve a level 4 (or whatever) in my next SATs test in a named subject;
  • I will read the text for my English literature GCSE;
  • I will catch up with my maths course work.

There can be other targets as well e.g.

  • I will line up when asked to, quickly and without touching anybody else;
  • I will get the equipment I need to do my work and try to start my work on my own;
  • If I do not understand what work I need to do I will put up my hand until an adult is able to help me;
  • I will get to all lessons on time;
  • I will show that I need time out (in a way agreed by the school staff) if I am feeling angry or troubled.

It should be made clear which adults are going to help the child achieve their target and how they are going to help and how often (if appropriate)

The progress towards achieving targets should then be reviewed at the next PEP and new targets set.

8. For Children not in any Educational Provision

If a child is not attending school or alternative educational provision the 'PEP for young people with no educational provision' form should be used. The main aim of the PEP should be to find out why the child is not in educational provision and form an action plan to help the child access some appropriate educational provision.

9. For Children Attending Schools not in Southwark

If a child attends a school in a Local Authority (LA) other than Southwark then that LA has the right to use the PEP documentation for their LA. Many schools and LAs are happy for Southwark social workers to use the Southwark PEP form but Kent schools in particular have to use the Kent PEP form. Where the Local Authority insists on using their form a Southwark PEP will also need to be filled in so that the relevant information can be entered on ICS.