Members in Care Sector
Adopters & Special Guardians
The DfE Guidance ‘Promoting the Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children’ (March 2018) states:
The role of the Virtual School Head for previously looked-after children is to promote their educational achievement through the provision of information and advice to their parents, educators and others who the VSH considers necessary.
This means the Virtual School Head must:
- respond to parental requests for advice and information – e.g. advice on school admissions in their area. Where appropriate, the VSH should sign-post parents to other services that can offer advice and support;
- respond to requests for advice and information from providers of early education, designated teachers in maintained schools and academies, and providers of alternative provision in their area in respect of individual children supported by the local authority. In particular, the VSH should develop/ build on existing good working relationships with designated teachers for previously looked-after children in their area; and
- make general advice and information available to early years settings and schools to improve awareness of the vulnerability and needs of previously looked-after children. This should include promoting good practice on identifying and meeting their needs, and guidance on effective use of the PP+.
Children in Care & Care Leavers
There are many people who can help support your education if you are in care or a care leaver. There are those people around you at home and at school that can help but also your social worker and other professionals.
If there are any difficulties with your education or you just want some extra help then you, or those around you, might get some support from The Virtual School Head in your local authority (the one you are in the care of).
The Virtual School is the term given to the way the local authority checks that looked after children and young people are doing well in their education.
It’s called a Virtual School because it monitors all looked after children in their different school and imagines them as pupils of one ‘virtual’ school. It collects information about the progress looked after children are making and can provide help, advice, funding through the Pupil Premium and support to make sure everyone reaches their full potential.
Foster Carers & Residential Staff
The role of the carer is paramount in supporting the education of looked after children. Carers should ensure that the child has appropriate access to learning and is encouraged to make best use of it and fulfil their potential. Though not always explicitly stated in the placement agreement this should include:
- working closely with the child’s school or other educational placement.
- taking an active interest in the child’s homework.
- encouraging a child to value learning.
- supporting a child’s attendance at school.
- advocating for the child’s individual needs.