Virtual school head role extension to children with a social worker


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Link to Department for Education documents here


Supporting note from NAVSH

Virtual School Headteachers have been looking after the learning of looked after children for many years. Local Authorities have been required to have a Virtual School Headteacher since the role became statutory in 2014, but many LAs had a service well before this.

Some Virtual Schools have developed a broader role throughout the pandemic, for example working with children with a social worker to ensure educational continuity by co-ordinating the distribution of laptops; some already had a broader remit that covered a wider cohort than that defined by statute.  

NAVSH recognises the advantage of working with children in need and those with a child protection plan in order to improve educational outcomes, as NAVSH is acutely aware of the impact of this time in a child’s life from the experience of Virtual Schools working with those children who subsequently become looked after. 

Virtual Schools have made a significant improvement in the educational outcomes for looked after children and NAVSH believes that the earlier that Virtual Schools can intervene to advocate on behalf of a child, then the greater the benefits will be for the individual and society as a whole. 

NAVSH has appreciated the collaborative and consultative approach that the DFE has employed to develop this new offer. 

Patrick Ward, Chair of NAVSH, said

“It is particularly pleasing to note that sufficient additional resources have been allocated to deliver on the aims identified.  It has been refreshing to work in partnership with the DFE and colleagues from ADCS to make this happen.  I hope this successful way of working continues for the benefit of the children in the future.”