Working with you to raise the educational achievement of looked after and adopted children
What is the Virtual School?
The Virtual School is a specialist service that aims to help looked after and adopted children to achieve by supporting their education and through improving provision in the schools our Looked After Children attend.
Schools and other education providers are responsible for the educational outcomes of the individual Looked After Children who attend their school. Schools and Early Years providers receive Pupil Premium Plus funding to help meet their responsibilities and to deliver the best possible education for children placed in the care of the local authority. Ofsted will also check the progress and attainment of Looked After Children as part of every inspection process.
What does the Virtual School do?
The Virtual School has three main jobs:
- to monitor and track the educational progress and achievement for every child looked after by Worcestershire County Council
- to challenge schools, settings and other professionals where provision is not good enough or where goals are not high enough
- to promote inclusion and equality of access for all Looked After Children which includes raising attendance and stopping exclusions
The Virtual School champions the needs of all Looked After Children and is made up of a network of professionals both within the core local authority and Babcock Prime (the organisation funded by Worcestershire County Council). These individuals bring professional expertise alongside knowledge of the children they work with. Their role is to work alongside schools and social care professionals to make sure that our most vulnerable children can access the education they deserve and identify the different areas of support needed for each child to stay on track with their learning.
The four Personal Education Plan Coordinators' are allocated to specific schools and settings across each area of Worcestershire and Area Learning Advocates for children who live outside of Worcestershire. They make sure that every Looked After Child has an up-to-date Personal Education Plan (PEP) which includes individual education targets set by the child’s school. Information on every aspect of a child’s progress is recorded within the PEP and monitored regularly by The Virtual School. The PEP Coordinators' work closely with the school’s own Designated Teacher for Looked After Children who must make sure that the PEP is fully implemented at school level and that the school us using the Pupil Premium Plus funding to improve outcomes for that particular child. The Virtual School collects individual progress data each half term.
Support for adopted children and those who have previously been looked after
For previously looked-after children, the Virtual School Headteacher will be a source of advice and information to help their parents to advocate for them as effectively as possible. Virtual School Headteachers are not acting as part of the corporate parent role in these circumstances, but are there to help children succeed in their education by providing information and advice to everyone involved with the child.
Virtual School Governing Body and Governance
The Virtual School, like any other school, has a governing body that holds the Virtual School network to account for its effectiveness and impact on student outcomes. The Governing Body is chaired by the Lead Cabinet Member and reports to The Corporate Parenting Board which is a statutory body made up of elected members. The Corporate Parenting Board holds overall responsibility for all of Worcestershire's Looked After Children.
Find out more
You can also call the helpline: 01905 678149