How to use this information to improve practice
The information in this summary gives practitioners access to key information, resources and policies to support professional learning and to be even better corporate parents. It also provides connections to partners who can support this work.
- How am I helping care experienced children and young people be ready to learn and then engage in learning?
- What could I do more of, less of, or differently to support care experienced learners?
- How can partnership working, with other practitioners, parents, the wider community, and partners, be developed further to better support care experienced children and young people’s wellbeing and to achieve better educational outcomes?
- What professional learning do I need, or can offer, to support practitioners to be even better corporate parents?
- General education
- Case studies
- Professional learning
Corporate parents are all ‘agencies and organisations of the state’ listed within Schedule 4 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 who have statutory duties to collaborate with each other in upholding the rights and securing the wellbeing of looked after children.
Corporate parenting represents the principles, duties and actions necessary to uphold the rights and secure the wellbeing of a looked after child or care leaver, and through which physical, emotional, spiritual, social and educational development is promoted, from infancy through to adulthood. It is a role which should complement and support the actions of parents, families and carers, working with these key adults to deliver positive change for vulnerable children and young people. Read the guidance issued by Scottish Ministers found on the Government website. Watch a short 4 minute video explaining what corporate parenting is and how the six duties may apply to you.
‘Looked after' includes children and young people who are currently looked after in a formal arrangement with a local authority, but not always, involving compulsory supervision arrangements following a children’s hearing. Children can be looked after while remaining in the family home, with social work support, or in kinship, foster or residential care placement.
‘Care experienced’ children and young people include those who have been looked after by a local authority at any time during their life. This includes adoptive children who were previously looked after. This is the preferred term identified by those with experience of the care system, as it is inclusive of those who may no longer be “looked after” but still live with the effects of this experience.
‘Care leaver‘ describes a young person who was looked after on or after their 16th birthday and who is aged under 26.
- children and young people (CYP) can be Looked after and Care experienced at the same time.
- The term Care experienced is becoming more widely used as it is more inclusive and the language preferred by CYP however the legislation refers to and applies to CYP who are defined as being ‘looked after’ or as a ’care leaver’.
- definitions for the different types of care can be found here.
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Part 9): Current legislation on corporate parenting
Statutory guidance on Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the CYP Act 2014: Current statutory guidance
Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004: All looked after CYP are covered by this Act as they are considered to have additional support needs until assessed otherwise.
Additional support for learning: statutory guidance 2017 (Code of Practice): Current statutory guidance.
Equality Act 2010: Current equality legislation (care experience is not legally a protected characteristic however many corporate parents treat ‘looked after’ status or care experience as if it was).
Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC): Policy developed to support families by making sure CYP can receive the right help, at the right time, from the right people.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989: A treaty which comprehensively provides for the rights of children.
Independent Care Review: set up to identify and deliver lasting change in the care system.
Scottish Care leavers Covenant: set up by stakeholders to close the gap between policy and practice for care leavers.
Core Tasks for Designated Managers: to ensure improvement in outcomes for looked after CYP.
Scottish National Standardised Assessments: national report 2017/18: published by Scottish Government.
Education Outcomes for Looked After Children 2017/18: published annually by Scottish Government.
Children’s Social Work Statistics 2017/18: published by Scottish Government and provides equalities data for looked after CYP, child protection and secure care.
CELCIS Knowledge Bank: bank of academic reports, blogs, practice papers and helpful resources relating to care experience.
Corporate Parenting (Who Cares? Scotland) Learning Hub: source of resources on corporate parenting and advocacy (run by Who Cares? Scotland.
Pupil Inclusion Network Scotland: source of reports, publications and resources relating to inclusion.
Propel: Website with advice for teachers and care leavers on higher education.
Children and Young People’s Voice
Engaging With Families (2018): suite of resources to support practitioners to engage with families.
Let’s Learn Together (2018): guide for parents and teachers of adopted children in Primary School.
Corporate parenting-turning legislation into practice together: Scottish Government Report 2018: how looked after CYP have benefitted from corporate parenting support.
Preventing Offending: Getting it right for children and young people Progress Report 2017: Scottish Government report on youth justice strategy (2015) progress.
Designated Manager Survey: Summary Findings (2017): How schools support Care Experienced CYP.
Careers Information, Advice and Guidance services and post transitions: views of Care Experienced young people (2016) Skills Development Scotland.
Social Inequality, Can Schools Narrow the Gap? (2014): evidence about how poverty affects educational attainment, and what can be done to tackle this.
Closing the Attainment gap in Scottish Education (2014): what teachers, schools, local and national government and other education providers can do to close the educational attainment gap associated with poverty in Scotland. See also
Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund: national operational guidance: This fund specifically supports raising attainment for Care Experienced CYP.
Improving Educational Outcomes for Children Looked After at Home: Use of 'Improvement Methodology' (2014 updated 2019).
Scotland's first nation-wide survey of Care Experienced students in Scotland's colleges and universities: Students with care experience need access to practical, emotional and financial support.
Corporate Parenting: Case Studies (mostly videos).
Corporate Parenting Promising Practice (2019): a collation of examples of current practice.
Looked After and Learning (2015): A self-evaluation resource to support schools to improve learners journey.
How good is our school? 4 (2015): current self-evaluation tool for schools (part of a suite of ‘HGIO’ tools).
CELCIS: training and events.
CELCIS Education Forum: network to support education authorities and practitioners.
Children in Scotland: training and events.
Corporate Parenting Learning Hub: guidance material for corporate parents.
We Can and Must Do Better: professional learning units and resource bank.
Who Cares? Scotland: national voluntary organisation providing membership and independent advocacy for Care Experienced people. Their vision is for a lifetime of equality, respect and love for Care Experienced people.
CELCIS: the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection in Scotland (formerly for Looked After Children in Scotland), based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Pupil Inclusion Network Scotland (PINS): inclusion network supporting the voluntary sector and partners in work with learners who are vulnerable or excluded.
Scottish Funding Council: Inclusion priorities for care-experienced people.
Association of Directors of Education in Scotland: Directors of local authorities with responsibility for education. All Local Authorities are corporate parents.
Enquire: Organisation tasked by Scottish Government to offer advice on ‘additional support for learning’ for practitioners, parents and young people.
(this is not an exhaustive list, see
- Scottish Government Corporate Parenting
- Skills Development Scotland
- Scottish Qualifications Authority
- Scottish Social Services Council
- Scottish Prison Service
- Scottish Sports Council
- Association of Directors of Education in Scotland
- Colleges Scotland
- Care Inspectorate
- Children’s Hearings Scotland
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland
- Disclosure Scotland
- Social Security Scotland
- Creative Scotland
- Police Scotland