There are changes to the way our schools, education and services are running at the moment, because of COVID-19. These changes include: assessments being completed virtually, socially distanced face to face meetings and some services only being available over the phone or email
The Virtual School team is located within Learning & Skills Services.
We are responsible for improving the educational attainment of all Children Looked After in the authority; including those that have been placed in schools in other authorities.
Within the local authority the Virtual School Head Lee Martin is the statutory lead [Children and Families Act 2014] with responsibility for ensuring that arrangements are in place to improve educational experiences and outcomes.
What is a virtual school?
The Virtual School acts as a local authority champion to promote the progress and educational attainment of children and young people who are or who have been in care so that they achieve educational outcomes comparable to their peers.
Ensuring that they receive a high quality education in good or outstanding schools.
The virtual school does not exist in real terms, or as a building. Children do not attend it - they remain the responsibility of the school at which they are enrolled. The Virtual School is simply an organisation which has been created for the effective co-ordination of educational services at a strategic and operational level.
What do we do?
- influence policy, develop and improve services
- promote individual achievement and wellbeing
- provide advice, support and training to professionals, schools, colleges and institutions
- improve access to specialist services (Education Psychology Service)
- provide access to professional advice and guidance on education, training and employment
- support aspirational learning pathways
- act as a corporate parent
- provide challenge on school exclusions.
To deliver our priorities we:
- monitor progress, provide management information and track data so we can highlight where support is needed
- monitor the daily school attendance of children Looked After
- ensure that all children in care have an effective, high quality Personal Education Plan (PEP)
- provide training and support for our partners to assist them in undertaking their roles to support looked after children
- provide direct support in school through designated teachers
- seek the views of Looked After Children and Care Leavers and develop new ways of communicating with them
- provide information and guidance on current legislation and practices in relation to looked after children
- provide advice support and guidance for PLAC.