Improving the educational outcomes for children in care is a priority for national and local government. The evidence is clear, whatever else goes wrong in children's lives, their life chances are significantly improved when they achieve positive educational outcomes. Local authorities and their Director of Children's Services are the corporate parents for children in care. They have statutory, moral and professional responsibilities to maximise their health, social, educational and economic outcomes.
Kirklees Virtual School will:
- work with statutory and key partner agencies to ensure that the best possible outcomes are achieved for looked after children;
- increase the educational outcomes and narrow the learning gap of looked after children in the care of Kirklees by challenging schools to provide the highest levels of support and ambition for them;
- enable our looked after children to access broad and rich learning experiences and be rounded, resilient and ready, in line with the Learning services ambition for all its children.
Kirklees Virtual School is required to have detailed knowledge of the children on its school roll and the services they are receiving. It will use this information to support and intervene appropriately to raise individual outcomes. To inform its understanding, the Virtual School will regularly analyse the impact on attainment and progress of such factors as:
- time in care and age on entry;
- number and type of care placements;
- number of school placements;
- any additional learning needs and the nature of these;
- free school meal eligibility;
- type of school attended and Ofsted rating;
- number and length of exclusions;
- aggregate amount of absence from school;
- number of social workers whilst in care.
The Virtual School will use this information to support the Director of Children's Services, lead Member for Children's Services, and the Corporate Parenting Panel in undertaking its statutory duties.
Kirklees Virtual School will identify benchmarking data and good practice to enable services to "narrow the gap". It will monitor the achievement and progress of the cohort to apply a RAG (red, amber, green) rating that identifies children at significant risk of under-achievement and:
- prioritise the deployment of its own resources to support them using evidence-based interventions and to encourage multi-agency approaches to the needs of looked after children;
- influence the work of schools and other education providers through its close links with the Kirklees Learning Service;
- influence other children's service professionals, and through them carers, to ensure their practice minimises the risks to the educational outcomes of looked after children.
Kirklees Virtual School will use the Personal Education Planning process to ensure:
- its understanding of the pupils on its roll is accurate and up-to-date;
- the deployment of Pupil Premium Plus encourages effective planning and improvement in the attainment and progress of children.
Kirklees Virtual School will challenge and support schools to ensure that the Pupil Premium Plus funding is used to improve outcomes for individual pupils.
Kirklees Virtual School will ensure it has sufficient intelligence about looked after children at all transition points so that it can ensure they receive the support they need swiftly. This will include having appropriate systems in place to share information with services supporting the transition and to meet statutory duties.
Kirklees Virtual School will ensure the voice of the child is heard, and has influence, within the personal education plan and will encourage children and young people in care to participate fully in plans that concern them.
Contact the Virtual School Team
You can contact the Virtual School Team if you are working with young people in care or care leavers.
You can raise concerns about their education or request additional support.
You can also request support for yourself, or your team, to support the education of the children you work with.
The Virtual School Team can provide:
- information, advice and guidance;
- training on the role of corporate parents;
- training on championing the educational attainment of looked after children and care leavers.