Vulnerable Children and Young People – Contingency Planning Guidance

Date published: 22 February 2022

Supporting Vulnerable Children and Young People (VCYP) – Contingency Guidance for Schools and other Education Settings

The position of the Department of Education is that schools should remain open as normal and any divergence from normal operation of school life should only be as a last resort. 

Where possible schools/education settings should maintain face-to-face learning to ensure that children/ young people receive the highest standard of education.




This guidance is designed to set out the expectations on how vulnerable children and young people (VCYP) should be supported in the event that it is necessary to deliver remote learning (short term).

For the purposes of this guidance, Vulnerable Children and Young People are defined* as:

  • A child who has an assigned social worker because he or she is a child in need, in need of protection (or on the child protection register) or a child who is looked after.
  • A child who is in need, including in need of protection, but whose need is not known to statutory services.
  • A child who is ‘on-the-edge’ of receiving support from children’s social services.
  • A child who is receiving support from, or has been referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
  • A child who has a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN), a child who is accessing Education Other Than At School (EOTAS), or a child who normally accesses Nurture Groups.
  • A young person who was previously a ‘child looked after’, whether or not they are receiving support from statutory services.
  • A child/ young person who has been placed for adoption.
  • Asylum seeking and refugee children, and children whose parents have no recourse to public funds
  • A child/ young person identified as from the Traveller or Roma community

* Further notes on definitions are contained within the document


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