​WHO IS IN THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL?

 

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WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE?

The purpose of the Virtual School is to enable:

All children and young people in care in Halton to become resilient and effective independent learners, so that they can achieve their full potential and become full and active participants in society.       

 

WHAT IS THE VISION OF THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL?

Like all schools, the Virtual School has a vision that underpins all our aspirations and work with each child and young person in our care:

 

 Step 1:                        Visualise your dream

​Children and Young peopleProfessionals

​We want to support you to identify your dreams both in school and in your future career.  Your dreams can be in the present or in the future.  We want to support you to fulfil your true potential.  Tell us what you would like to achieve and we will try to help you to do that.

​We want to work with you to support the children whenever they identify something they would like to do that will make a difference to their educational outcomes and long-term aspirations.  Record their wishes and aspirations on the PEP and we will try to support them.

 

Step 2:                        Dare to try

Children and Young people​Professionals

We want to offer you opportunities that will allow you to develop new skills and have new experiences so that you can try things out and make informed decisions about what you want to do.  We want to enable you to take part in fun learning activities so that you get the chance to practice your learning in different ways.

We want to support you in providing additional learning opportunities and support so that together we can close the educational gap for the children in our care.

 

Step 3:                        Learn to release your potential

Children and Young people​Professionals

We want to offer you opportunities that will allow you to develop new skills and have new experiences so that you can try things out and make informed decisions about what you want to do.  We want to enable you to take part in fun learning activities so that you get the chance to practice your learning in different ways.

We want to support you in providing additional learning opportunities and support so that together we can close the educational gap for the children in our care.

 

WHAT DOES THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL DO?

 

For all Halton children in care, we put our vision into practice by aiming to:

 

  • Raise their educational attainment and close the gap between them and their peers.  This includes effective and appropriate use of the pupil premium plus.

  • Ensure that they make at least expected levels of progress and try to accelerate this progress to ensure that each young person achieves their full potential.

  • Ensure that they have an up to date effective Personal Education Plan (PEP) that tracks their progress and provides the support required to enable them to reach their academic targets.

  • Improve their overall attendance and reduce rates of persistent absence.

  • Reduce the number of exclusions, both fixed term and permanent, and to ensure that those young people who are excluded receive at least their statutory entitlement to support and re-integration during this period.

  • Ensure that each young person is attending the school that is most appropriate to meeting their needs.  In addition, wherever possible, to attend a school that has been categorised by Ofsted as providing a good or better education.

  • Minimise, and where possible, remove social, emotional, behavioral and attachment factors that may prove to be barriers to accessing the curriculum.

  • Improve continued participation in education, employment and training opportunities for care leavers.

  • Promote equality of opportunity.

  • Ensure that their views are fully considered in decision-making and inform developments in relation to service provision and delivery.

 

This means that we do the following:

  • Track their attendance, attainment and progress.

  • Provide good quality data to support the work of the LA in promoting the educational achievements of children in care.

  • Monitor and quality assure the completion of PEPs.

  • Manage, monitor and quality assure the use of the pupil premium plus so that it improves the educational outcomes of each individual child in care.

  • Provide appropriate individual support packages for identified children in care who are not performing in line with their predicted progress, through a variety of interventions.

  • Provide training, support and guidance to a range of professionals working with children in care, in particular, Designated Teachers, Governors, social workers, foster carers and other professionals.

  • Get involved when things go wrong, by offering support, advice and guidance.

  • Challenge schools who are not meeting the needs of children in care.

  • Challenge care-planning decisions that do not appropriately meet the educational needs of the children in care.

  • Celebrate the successes and achievements of our children in care.

 

In addition to this we also provide key value added interventions:

  • 1:1 sessions provided by the Education Support Workers

  • 1:1 tuition on a variety of subjects provided by qualified tutors

  • Skill based activity programme that targets areas of underachievement and development across cohorts.  The targeted areas and young people are identified through scrutiny of PEP targets and the activity days are coordinated by the Education Support Workers, delivered in collaboration with appropriate partner agencies

  • Allocation of Personal Education Allowance to support educational attainment and achievement.

  • Literacy and numeracy support for any identified young person regardless of curriculum year, via a half termly book, writing and activity pack

  • Personalised activity packs that foster carers and young people can enjoy together that are focused on embedding and supporting the PEP targets.

  • Aspirational programmes linked to post 16 and higher educational opportunities

 

WHY IS IT CALLED A VIRTUAL SCHOOL?

 

The Virtual School is not a physical school, it does not have premises, the children and young people in care are actually on roll at and attend their lessons at other schools.  The 'virtual' nature of our school refers to the fact that we see all our children and young people in care, from 0 – 25, as part of one single specific school that is just for them and is designed to promote and champion their educational needs.  The Virtual School does not replace the responsibilities of the child or young person's actual school, but it provides additional support and challenge.  We collect data on progress, attendance and behaviour in order to monitor the performance of the children in our school, and we work with all schools to target support for those who have been identified.

It also refers to the multi-agency working relationships that underpin the work of our school, for example, early year's providers, schools, further and higher education establishments and various services within the LA.  Each of the agencies and teams that currently operate within the Virtual School are committed to working to achieve the Virtual School's vision statement and prioritise children and young people within their own service delivery.

Unlike a physical school the Virtual School does not have a discreet Governing Body.  However, oversight and governance of the Virtual School is primarily undertaken by the Children in Care Partnership Board.  In addition to this, the Head teacher of the Virtual School provides regular reports to the Children in Care Council, Head teachers, senior leaders, elected members and HSCB.