PAC-UK and Adoption UK have published two complementary education guides, for school staff and adoptive parents respectively, to help ensure adopted children get the best possible educational start in life.

The guides explain why these vulnerable children may need additional support in school, what educational entitlements they can attract and what support is available for them.

PAC-UK’s guide for school staff 'Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children: A guide for school staff' covers a range of topics including: what we know about our children in education, a background to early developmental trauma, whole school approaches, and support for schools and families.

Adoption UK’s guide 'Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children - A guide for adoptive parentsincludes information about Virtual School Heads (VSHs), Designated Teachers (DTs), Priority School Admission, Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) and dedicates two pages to Intercountry Adoption and Schools.

Commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), the guides explain how The Children and Social Work Act 2017 enhances support for previously looked after children. PAC-UK’s guide includes the views of adopted teens on how their experiences in school could be improved whilst Adoption UK’s has advice from adoptive parents, who adopted both domestically and from oversees.

Adoption UK members’ concerns that their children are struggling to cope with the pressures of secondary school were recently validated by official figures which show they are twice as likely to receive poor grades at GCSE level compared to their classmates. Fewer than one in four (23 per cent) adopted children secured five or more A*- C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, in 2016, statistics published by the DfE show. The figure for non-looked after children was 53 per cent.

Sue Armstrong Brown, Adoption UK’s chief executive, said: “We know adopted children are amongst the most vulnerable group in society. Adoption is not a silver bullet for previously looked-after children as the effects do not simply disappear overnight.”

“We’re well aware that adopted children have high levels of need, stemming from their experiences prior to adoption. Many will have suffered trauma, neglect and abuse, the emotional impact of which may act as a barrier to their progress at school. This is why it’s imperative that all adoptive parents with school-age children get sight of this guide - so they can access the tools and advice available to help their children progress through education.”

PAC-UK’s guide is accompanied by easy to use resources that can be implemented in individual classrooms or across whole schools. The guide and all of its resources can be downloaded free.

Peter Sandiford

“This guide will help teachers make a real difference to the educational outcomes of adopted and permanently placed children who so often struggle in the learning environments of schools. It is informative and easy to use whilst being crammed full with helpful, practical resources, reflecting the increased awareness of the needs of adopted and permanently placed children in education. PAC-UK is proud to have produced this guide and accompanying resources in conjunction with the Department for Education.”Peter Sandiford, PAC-UK CEO

You can read Adoption UK's Press Release here

PAC-UK & Adoption UK Guides and Resources

PAC-UK: Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children - A guide for school staff
Adoption UK: Meeting the needs of adopted and permanently placed children - A guide for adoptive parents
PAC-UK Cards - 4 up
PAC-UK Case Studies
PAC-UK Flyer - Supporting adopted and permanently placed children in school
PAC-UK Poster - We want you to know

The above guides and resources are now listed on PAC-UK's and Adoption UK's Education Resource pages.

Press & Media Enquiries

For all PAC-UK media enquiries or to speak to a member of the Press Office please contact Leon Elias on 020 7284 0555 or email

For all Adoption UK media enquiries or to speak to a member of the Press Office please call 01295 752960 or email

PAC-UK's Education Service offers a range of services and resources to enable schools, parents and guardians and education and social care professionals to meet the needs of permanently placed children.

Adoption UK also has a range of resources designed to make education a successful environment for children who have suffered early trauma, neglect or abuse.