Virtual School for Children in Care
Our aim is to enhance the life opportunities for children in care by supporting their education and enabling them to achieve the best they can.
What is the Virtual School?
Sometimes children and young people cannot be looked after by their parents or relatives.When this happens the local authority steps in to act as parents and the child becomes "looked after".
The Virtual School aims to support children and young people in care to enable them to make the very best of their education.
The school was established in September 2010. It aims to support all school-age children looked after by Brighton and Hove City Council, including children and young people who are being education in other local authority areas. While the school has responsibility for children of statutory school age, we recognise that early intervention is vital. Wherever possible we work with our Early Years providers to help ensure the needs of these children are also met.
We recognise that education does not end at 16 and we are working hard with the 16+ Team and our local Post 16 providers to ensure support for children in care moving on to higher and further education.
Most children in care will attend a mainstream primary or secondary school and being part of the Virtual School will not affect this. We monitor the progress of all pupils and are there to provide additional support when it is needed.
What do the Virtual School do?
The Virtual School collects information about educational progress. If a child or young person is not meeting national targets for progress we are there to help.
Below is a list of some of the things we can do to support children and young people and our partners
- Monitor all educational targets and encourage high aspirations
- Listen to the views of children in care and use their feedback to improve our service to them
- As advocates we will challenge decisions that may have a negative impact on a young persons progress
- Track the attendance of all children in care of Brighton & Hove City Council, including those placed in other local authorities
- Signpost children to organisations and activities they are interested in as well as providing our own range of after school clubs
- Celebrate the achievements of children in care
- Arrange for students in Key Stage 4 to have home tuition to support their learning
- Manage additional funding, including Pupil Premium that can be used to support children in care
- Deliver training and support to designated teachers and other professionals
- Provide advice and support to foster carers
- Provide advice and support to school staff, social workers and professionals
- Help evaluate the quality of educational provision
Why do we need a Virtual School?
While many children in care do very well at school, a significant number have had such major disruptions to their learning that they fall behind. This has a huge impact on their future life chances. The Virtual School aims to raise the profile of children in care, so that everything is done to ensure they have a successful education and achieve the best they can.
At the Virtual School we aim to ensure that our young people:
- Achieve educationally to their full potential
- Are not excluded from school
- Maintain a high level of attendance
- Enter employment, education, or training when they leave school
- Are less likely to be dependent on services such as housing, drug and alcohol misuse and health when they move to adulthood
Further information about the Virtual School
- Looked after children policy [PDF 35kb]
- Information on education funding for children in care
- Adopted children and education
- Personal Education Plan (Statutory school age)
- Personal Opportunities Plan document (16+)
- Fostering and Adoption team
- Support Through Care team
- Services for disabled children
- Virtual Schools newsletter - January 2015 (PDF 797kb)
- An introduction to Virtual Schools (PDF 365kb)