Personal Education Plans (PEPs)

About Personal Education Plans (PEPs)

All looked after children must have a care plan, of which the personal education plans (PEP) is an integral part. The PEP (pre-school to age 18) should be initiated as part of the care plan. It is an evolving record of what needs to happen for looked after children to enable them to make at least expected progress and fulfil their potential. The PEP should reflect the importance of a personalised approach to learning that meets the child's identified educational needs, raises aspirations and builds life chances. The school, other professionals and the child's carers should use the PEP to support achieving those things.

The quality of the PEP is the joint responsibility of the local authority that looks after the child and the school. Social workers, carers, Virtual School headteachers, designated teachers and, as appropriate, other relevant professionals will need to work closely together. All of those involved in the PEP process at all stages should involve the child (according to understanding and ability) and, where appropriate, the child's parent and/or relevant family member.

PEP content

As outlined in the promoting the education of looked after children and previously looked after children statutory guidance for local authorities, the PEP should cover the full range of education and development needs including:

  • access to a nursery or other high quality early years provision that is appropriate to the child's age (for example pre-school playgroups) and meets their identified developmental needs;
  • ongoing catch-up support for those who have fallen behind with school work (including use of effective intervention strategies);
  • provision of immediate suitable education where a child is not in school (for example because of temporary suspension or permanent exclusion);
  • transition support where needed, such as when a child starts attending a new school or returns to school (for example moving from pre-school/early years to primary school, primary to secondary school, from secondary school to further education, or following illness or exclusion) or when a child has a plan for permanence (for example placed for adoption) and may change schools as part of that plan;
  • school attendance and, where appropriate, behaviour support; and
  • support needed to help the child realise their short and long-term academic achievements and aspirations. This includes:
    • support to achieve expected levels of progress for the relevant national curriculum key stage, and to complete an appropriate range of approved qualifications;
    • careers advice and guidance and financial information about further and higher education, training and employment. Discussions about longer term goals should start early and, ideally, well before year 9 (age 13-14) at school. High aspirations are crucial to successful planning for the future. They should focus on the child or young person's strengths and capabilities and the outcomes they want to achieve; and
    • out-of-school hours learning activities, study support and leisure interests.

Local authorities have a duty to promote the educational achievement of children in care under section 52 of the Children Act 2004 and must ensure all children in care from age three upwards have an effective, robust and up-to-date PEP.

Download PEP Guidance Pack (PDF)

Early Years

The e-PEP (electronic PEP) for Early Years children is available via our secure portal to those individuals directly involved with each child. Social workers and designated teachers from early years settings and schools with early years children attending will be given direct access either by the Virtual School.

We will verify your request before arranging access to the portal. A user guide for the portal is available once you have the necessary access.


There is a legal requirement to ensure every young person in the care of the local authority has a planned and monitored education or training route to the age of 18 years. Young people in Years 12 and 13 will have a termly Personal Education Plan (PEP) meeting to discuss their progress and attainment and agree targets to support their learning pathway.

The Virtual School work with all education providers to ensure the student's PEP is robust and enables a clear and positive Plan, helping to remove barriers and support our young people into long-term employment, as all good parents should.


Until a young person is 18, the PEP remains the responsibility of the social worker. After 18, the personal adviser (PA) takes over this responsibility.

Social workers must liaise directly with schools, colleges and all other relevant parties to arrange PEP meetings on a termly basis. PEPs are organised by social workers and held in schools and colleges. The 'chair of the meeting' can be either the social worker or designated teacher.

Completing a PEP

PEPs relate to an individual child/young person (CYP) and they set out the young person's educational targets for attainment and achievement, and recommendations for how this will be done. Social workers are accountable for ensuring all children in their care have an up-to-date PEP in place (as part of the care plan). Schools are colleges are also accountable. The PEP must be reviewed on a termly basis. Social workers and designated teachers should be aware that they could be asked about these at the time of any inspection.

There are always deadlines (well-publicised) for the completion of the PEPs as there is a long process of quality assurance and evaluation of financial requests that take place after the PEP has been written.

  • Best practice is that the ePEP document is completed within 5 days of the meeting.
  • An initial PEP must be carried out within 20 working days of the young person coming into Surrey's care.
  • It is highly recommended that a new PEP take place if a young person moves educational setting.

Electronic PEPs

We have implemented an electronic personal education plan (ePEP) process for Surrey's looked after children utilising a secure web portal maintained by Welfare Call, the same organisation that currently contacts schools on a daily basis to collect attendance data for every pupil.

The portal has many advantages including direct access to the system from any web browser at a time and place convenient to each individual; no transfer of paperwork between parties and an excellent tracking system in place to highlight the areas of the PEP not yet complete.

The ePEP also holds valuable contact information, again available at any time, and is a real time saver as much of the standard information will transfer automatically between PEPs. The ePEP can be downloaded as a blank document, as a completed page or a completed document. This flexibility will allow you to plan how best to run the process in your individual establishments allowing, for example the pupil voice page to be given/shared away from an electronic device if preferred, and enable a finalised document to be part of a child's school record.

The system operates by assigning the designated teacher in school; most appropriate adult in college and the relevant social worker to each child or student in that establishment. From there, if it is more appropriate, the system has the capability to allow 'delegation' of other members of staff within each establishment - a flexible feature proving to be extremely useful. This system will rely on having the latest information recorded.

Social workers will gain access to the portal through internal arrangements - however if you are a designated teacher or colleague from an education or training provider, access to an e-PEP will be given by emailing the Surrey Virtual School (SVS). We will verify your request before arranging access to the portal. The SVS use the ePEP data in many ways including; monthly analysis of Progress and Attainment, fortnightly analysis of attendance; part-time timetables and 'B' codes and in various other ways.

When you have received your username and password you will be able to gain access to the secure portal.

Carer's and independent reviewing officers (IROs) should request a copy of the PEP from the social worker or designated teacher (this can be agreed in the PEP meeting or afterwards) and of course, the young person ought really to have access to a copy themselves (age-appropriate).

The Quality Assurance Process – Statutory School-Age (SSA)

It is the responsibility of every young person's education support officer (ESO) to quality assure the PEP once a term to ensure all young person are receiving the information, advice, guidance and support required for them to achieve their best educational outcomes. The ESO might also use the 'Blue Button'* to quality assure a PEP where the previous PEPs have been of good quality.

*The 'Blue Button' is a 'light-touch' quality assurance where the PEP will be rated 'Blue' (approved) as long as there are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) targets that evidence the use of PPP.

The PEP includes a section to represent the pupil's voice (differentiated by key stage and with various SEND appropriate options). The completion of this part of the PEP is mandatory in every PEP meeting.

At the present time, Surrey Virtual School are using 'The Big Five' to ensure the quality assurance process is both consistent and comprehensive:

  1. CYP voice
  2. New targets set, these must be SMART and linked to both progress and attainment, SDQ score, attendance and 'inclusion' where relevant
  3. Progress and attainment has been updated (this must happen every term)
  4. Previous targets reviewed
  5. New targets have requested PPP (as appropriate – according to our PPP policy)

Files available to download

  • PEP Guidance Pack (PDF)
    A guide to the Surrey Personal Education Plan (PEP) for looked after children including definitions, and details of roles, processes and admission arrangements.

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