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Headteacher of the Virtual School for Looked After Children

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1 Headteacher of the Virtual School for Looked After Children
Sarah Rivers Headteacher of the Virtual School for Looked After Children November 2014

2 Initiated by Care Matters, Time for Change, all Local Authorities are advised to support raising the educational attainment and achievement of their Looked After Children through the overarching support of a Virtual School. The responsibility for each child’s education, target setting, learning and teaching remains with the schools and settings where they are enrolled. However, it has been found that where another “Virtual” School is able to keep an overview and support Looked After Children’s education, as if they also belonged to that ‘Virtual School’ it has additional, positive benefits for their educational outcomes. Staffordshire established a Virtual School in 2011

3 Children and Families Act 2014
Section 99: Promotion of educational achievement of children looked after by local authorities This Section inserts new subsections into Section 22 of the Children Act 1989, placing a duty on each local authority in England to appoint an officer to promote the educational attainment of looked after children. The provision will have the effect of putting these virtual school heads on a statutory footing and require any local authority who has not already appointed one to do so.

4 Staffordshire Virtual School Structure
Virtual Head Teacher 2 Education Co-ordinators 4 Education Mentors.

5 Governance Located within Families First, Looked After Children and Disability service Has a Governing Body that is being developed further to mirror school governance arrangements, this includes representation from an Independent Reviewing Officer, Principle Social Worker, School Improvement, Foster Carers. Voice of Children in Care through the Children’s Voice team. Foster carers education sub group Reports bi annually to the County Corporate Parenting Panel

6 Inspection date: 14 January 2014 – 5 February 2014
Inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers Inspection date: 14 January 2014 – 5 February 2014 Judgement Good “Educational achievement of children looked after is now near the average for all Staffordshire children, which itself is better than average performance nationally. Most looked after young people attend good schools at a level equal to that of all Staffordshire children, although this remains below the national average. The small number of looked after children not in school have access to suitable alternative education, with good support to assist in re-integration into mainstream schooling. Looked after children in Staffordshire are less likely to be absent or excluded from school than looked after children nationally.” Priority Action: Further improve the proportion of care leavers aged 19 in education, employment or training

7 Virtual School Priorities 2014-15
To reduce the educational attainment gap between looked after children and other children To increase the proportion of care leavers moving into education, employment, training and university/ HE To improve the attendance of looked after children in partnership with LSTs

8 Outcomes that will be measured
Increase in the number of PEPs completed within timescales Quality assurance of PEPs show improving trends Improved outcomes at end of reception, KS1, KS2 and KS4 Increased number of children attaining 2 National Curriculum sub levels of progress Improved rates of attendance Decreased rates of fixed term and permanent exclusions

9 Key data Staffordshire Data 2013 National Data Non LAC 2013
National LAC data 2013 EYFS Good level of development 15% 52% Not available KS1 Level 2 Reading Writing Maths 64% 89% 85% 81% 69% 61% 71% KS2 Level 4 Grammar KS4 GCSE A* to C in Eng /Maths 5 A* to C inc eng/maths 5 A* to C 53% 44% 19% 46% 86% 83% 74% 59% 58% 80% 63% 55% 45% 16% 37%

10 Other Key Data 40% of Looked after children have positive scores on strengths and difficulties questionnaire 61% of children have special educational needs (SA, SA+, Statement) 8.84% have at least one exclusion (National Av 11.36%) 3.5% absence rate over 6 terms (National Av 5%) 18% NEET.

11 Admissions When a child becomes Looked After, it is imperative that their school place is maintained. School offers stability and familiarity, which is vital at this often catastrophic time. There are occasions when circumstances necessitate a move of school. When this happens, everything should be done to assist in securing a new placement. Time is of the essence so as to avoid the child becoming disengaged from education. Schools, including Academies, need to consider how they can best support the admission of Looked After Children and their admissions policy should reflect this. .

12 Admissions Current legislation supporting the admission of Looked After Children requires that: A school place should be found as quickly as possible. Schools’ admission authorities are required to give Looked After Children the highest priority in their admission arrangements and oversubscription criteria; from September 2013 this extends to those who have been adopted, have a Special Guardianship or Residence Order. Schools to continue to treat any pupil placed as an exception to infant class size, as an ‘excepted’ pupil until they leave Key Stage 1 or the number on roll in the affected year group returns to its admission number. LAs have the power to direct schools’ admission authorities to admit Looked After Children.

13 Promoting the Education of Looked After Children: Statutory Guidance June 2014
The local authority, as a corporate parent, does not tolerate drift and delay where children the authority looks after are without an education placement that is appropriate to their assessed needs. This includes using their powers of direction in a timely way rather than delay issuing a direction as a result of protracted negotiation The choice of school requires skilled working between relevant people. It should be based on a discussion between the child’s social worker, their carers and, if appropriate, birth parents. The VSH should normally be consulted to avoid choosing a school that is unlikely to meet the child’s needs. Delegated authority about choice of school should be addressed explicitly in the child’s permanence plan, which is part of their wider care plan. Good and outstanding schools should be prioritised

14 Admissions Staffordshire Social Care Processes
Any change of school placement Social Workers should consult with the Virtual School Agreement of a county manager if they plan to change a child’s school in Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11 A Personal Education Plan (PEP) meeting needs to take place within 14 days at any change of school placement.

15 Looked After Children from Other Authorities
There should be timely communication and effective co-operation with the VSH from other local authorities, particularly in relation to possible education placement changes, school admissions, achievement and exclusions. Promoting the Education Attainment of Looked After Children Statutory Guidance June 2014

16 Pupil Premium £1900 per LAC Pupil
Previously could be accessed after 6 months of being LAC, now from day 1 of being LAC No longer paid directly to school budget, paid to Virtual School £500 per term paid to schools. A Pupil Premium Provision Plan outlines how the funding is used and the impact on achievement Central funding is held to support Looked After Children in exceptional circumstances e.g. at risk of exclusion, emotional wellbeing around transition etc

17 Virtual School Website

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