Virtual School: Our team

Virtual School: Our team

Who are the Virtual School team? Find out more here.

Virtual School Headteacher

The Headteacher’s role is to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction of the Virtual School in supporting Worcestershire Local Authority in the corporate parenting role. The Headteacher also leads and manages the work of the Virtual School and has an overview of all the achievements of children and young people in care in Worcestershire, support pupils, schools and staff.

More specifically the Virtual School Head (VSH) ensures that there are effective systems in place to:

  • maintain an up-to-date roll of its children who are looked after and monitor their education placement, attendance and educational progress
  • inform Head Teachers and Designated Teachers (DT) in schools if they have a child on roll who is looked after by Worcestershire Local Authority
  • ensure every school has a Designated Teacher for child/ren Looked After, who is a qualified teacher
  • ensure that social workers, Designated Teachers, schools, carers and Independent Reviewing Officer (IROs) understand their role and responsibilities in initiating, developing, reviewing and updating the child and young person’s Personal Education Plan (PEP) and how they help meet the needs identified in that PEP
  • ensure the educational achievement of children looked after by the authority is seen as a priority by everyone who has responsibilities for promoting their welfare
  • ensure children are in receipt of suitable, full-time education unless there are exceptional circumstances which have been agreed in conjunction with the VSH
  • ensure all children and young people who are looked after have an up to date, effective and high quality PEP that focuses on educational outcomes
  • report regularly on the attainment and progress of children looked after through the Virtual School Governing Body

Virtual School Headteacher: Matthew Stiles

Virtual School Administrator

The Administrator is the first point of contact for the Virtual School through VS email address and dedicated phone line. The administrator collates a variety of data, produces reports focusing on attendance, suspensions, exclusions, Part time timetables, CLA Missing Education and attainment/progress. In addition, the administrator liaises with Designated Teachers (DTs), Social Workers and other professionals as part of the wider (VS) network and Updates the main Virtual School database (Welfare Call)

Crystal Laurentus-George

Learning Advocates (LA)

The Learning Advocates support Children Looked After placed In and Out of County.

The Learning Advocates facilitate the Personal Education Plan (PEP) process and in partnership with schools and social workers, we are responsible for ensuring every Child Looked After has an up-to-date PEP  which includes individual educational targets set by the child/young person’s school.  Information on every aspect of a child/young person’s progress is recorded within the PEP and monitored regularly by the Virtual School.

The Leaning Advocates work closely with the Designated Teacher within the school or setting and track progress and monitor the appropriateness of pupil premium usage in relation to impact on outcomes.  They also ensure that any barriers to success are challenged, thereby promoting a culture of high aspiration for every individual child/young person in Local Authority care to improve and maximise educational opportunities and outcomes.

Fiona Eades

Fiona Eades

  • Responsible for: PEP process for Children Looked After in years 1-11    
  • Contact details: feades@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk

Paula Hemming

Paula Hemming

  • Responsible for: PEP process for Children Looked After in years 1-11
  • Contact details: phemming@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: Foster carer and IFA training, foster carer newsletter and Designated Teacher Champion hub co-ordinator

Sam Purser

Sam Purser

  • Responsible for: PEP process for Children Looked After in years 1-11
  • Contact details: spurser@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: Liaison with welfare call regarding PEPs and foster carer and IFA training

Mary Williams

Mary Williams

  • Responsible for: PEP process for Children Looked After in years 1-11
  • Contact details: Mwilliams2@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: Careers, NEET prevention for KS3/4 and transition from KS4 to Post 16

Steve Judd

Steve Judd

  • Responsible for: PEP process for Children Looked After in years 1-11, predominantly those being educated out of county
  • Contact details: sjudd@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: Social care training, communications with social workers and team managers on behalf of the Virtual School and UASC lead

Jill Peplow

Jill Peplow

  • Responsible for: PPP process for Children Looked After - post 16 (educated in and out of county)
  • Contact details: jpeplow@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: Post 16, liaison with WCC Careers & Enterprise Company and development of resources for Post 16

Jess Reece

Jess Reece

  • Responsible for: PPP process for Children Looked After - post 16 (educated in and out of county)
  • Contact details: Jfrancis3@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: Post 16, liaison with WCC Careers & Enterprise Company and development of resources for Post 16

Becky James

Becky James

  • Responsible for: PEP process for Children Looked After - predominantly in Reception year (educated both in and out of county)
  • Contact details: bjames@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: Development of website and designated teacher training

Sarah Haigh

Sarah Haigh

  • Responsible for: PEP process for Children Looked After - Pre-School (educated both in and out of county)
  • Contact details: shaigh@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk
  • Lead within the Virtual School: SEND pre-school forum

Gemma Brown

Gemma Brown

Anne Griffin

Virtual School Deputy Headteacher

 

The Virtual School Deputy Headteacher role is to support the Virtual School Headteacher to lead, support and challenge Worcestershire Virtual School (WVS) staff. This includes headteachers, designated teachers, governing bodies, and other partners and stakeholders to secure the best possible educational provision and outcomes for children and young people in the care of Worcestershire Children First.

This includes;

  • delegating for the Virtual School Headteacher where necessary.
  • planning, delivery and evaluating the work undertaken by Worcestershire Virtual School, ensuring a child focused and timely approach of a high standard to improve outcomes for all Children with a Social Worker including; Children Looked After (CLA), Children In Need (CIN) and with a Child Protection Plan (CP), as well as Previously Looked After Children (PLAC).
  • to support Learning Advocates in the facilitation of the Personal Education Plan (PEP) process and in partnership with schools and social workers ensuring every Child Looked After has an up-to-date PEP which includes aspirational individual educational targets set by the child/young person’s school
  • support the identification and promotion of good practice within schools/settings and social care teams relating to the effective educational achievement of children/young people with a social worker.
  • to create, develop and maintain effective partnerships to maximise and improve outcomes for children, particularly for those Children with a Social Worker and Previously Looked After Children identified as having Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.

Virtual School Deputy Headteacher: Kerry Lawrence

Email: klawrence5@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk 

Telephone: 01905 843966

Previously Looked After Children (PLAC) Adviser and Virtual School Social, Emotional and Mental Health lead

The main function of this role is to:

  • Promote the educational achievement of previously child/ren Looked After (Adopted, Special Guardianship, Child Arrangement Order) through the provision of information and advice to their parents and educators.
  • Ensure the educational attainment of children previously looked after is given a high priority in schools, early years settings and alternative provision.
  • Ensure that any barriers to success are challenged thereby promoting a culture of high aspiration for previously looked after children.
  • Provide strategic oversight to ensure operational delivery of high quality social emotional and mental health (SEMH) interventions for Children Looked After (CLA) and Previously Looked After (PLAC).
  • Create, develop and maintain effective partnerships to maximise and improve social, emotional and mental health outcomes for CLA & PLAC.
  • Support, evaluate and monitor (SEMH) interventions for PLAC and CLA to effectively target and mobilise support, intervention and resources appropriately to achieve positive outcomes.

Jade Busby

Post 16

Child/ren Looked After are over represented in statistics collected for all 16 to 18 year olds who are not in Employment, Education or jobs with training (NEETs). Too often poor outcomes arise from a disrupted education or poor attendance with environmental factors impacting on the child rather than the child’s own potential to achieve. The Virtual School has specialist careers advisers who provide advice for Looked After Children.

Careers Advice and Guidance

Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND)

One third of child/ren Looked After have Special Educational Needs and many others will have fallen behind in their education requiring more help. The recognition of the additional challenges faced by child/ren Looked After means that schools may need to put accelerated learning programmes in place so that the gap between the outcomes for child/ren Looked After and their peers can be closed.

Virtual School Governing Body and Governance

The Virtual School, like any other school, has a governing body who hold the Virtual School network to account for its’ effectiveness and impact on student outcomes. The Governing Body is chaired by the Lead Cabinet Member for Education and Skills 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 Children in Care to Worcestershire County Council. More information on Corporate Parenting.

Each member of the Governing Board has an area of responsibility within the Virtual School linking with the relevant member of the Virtual School Team to support and challenge the work that they do. These areas of responsibility for the Governing Board members are detailed in this document.

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