Virtual School for Looked After Children
Helping children in care achieve their potential
What is a Virtual School and what is its purpose?
The Virtual School does not exist in real terms as a building, there are no teachers and children and young people do not attend. It is a service provided by dedicated professionals within the Local Authority whose work it is to promote and co-ordinate educational support for Looked After Children and Care Leavers to succeed at nursery, school, college and university; or any other place of learning.
Our purpose is to ensure that all professionals who work with Looked After Children and Care Leavers have high educational aspirations for them so that our pupils and students are given the best opportunities to engage, progress and achieve to their full potential.
Who are we and who do we work with?
We are a team based at the Town Hall who are able to call on the specialist services from other departments to assist as required. We work closely with social care teams, foster carers, schools and other providers who support pupil’s educational needs.
What do we do and how do we do it?
From the moment a child or young person enters the care of the Local Authority we allocate them with a specialised support officer to work with colleagues and understand each child or young persons educational needs including any challenges they may face. That support officer then provides advice and support to enable them to access the best possible educational provision according to their needs. They also have regular contact with schools, academies, colleges, training providers and universities and close liaison with Designated Teachers and Designated Persons.
On a regular basis we coordinate and process Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings and associated documentation. As part of the PEP the support officer will analyse attendance, progress and achievement data in order to track, monitor, support and challenge all those involved in the pupil’s education and welfare. We also allocate, track and monitor the use of Pupil Premium Plus funding and its impact. In addition we may also arrange access to additional learning opportunities or specialised alternative provision including one to one tuition.