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?

Brighton & Hove’s Virtual School was established in 2011 with the aim of tracking the educational progress of over 300 children in care including attainment, attendance and exclusion as if they were on one school roll. The school is ‘virtual’ in the sense that students do not actually attend as most go to school in Brighton & Hove or in other local authorities. In many cases there are no issues, however, Children in Care as a group do not perform as well educationally as their peers.

The aims of the Virtual School are to disseminate good practice proactively by supporting schools, carers and social workers to encourage our children to have high aspirations during their school career and in progression to further and higher education. The Virtual School will put in place or streamline appropriate systems and structures to aid achievement of these children. The Virtual School will also intervene where pupils are not making appropriate progress.

The Virtual School already has a team of committed professionals with a wide breadth of expertise. In the last two years children in care at KS4 and KS2 achieved significantly improved results. The Virtual School is now keen to sustain further improvements and further narrow the gap between Children in Care and all children working in partnership with a range of partners including schools, colleges, universities, carers and social workers.

The Virtual School works mainly with Children and Young People aged 2 to 18.

What does the Virtual School do?

The Virtual School collects information about educational progress. If a child or young person is not meeting age related expectations or making good progress, then the Virtual school will support. Below is a list of some of the things we do to support children and young people and our partners:

  • Provide training and challenge to a range of organisations and professionals
  • Raise awareness and encourage high educational and future aspirations for Children in Care with organisations and professionals
  • Listen to the views of Children in Care and use their feedback to improve services to them
  • Collate accurate data on Children in Care so their educational progress can be tracked and monitored. This data will be used to inform early and effective interventions where appropriate, and will be put in place in partnership with the school.
  • Ensure Pupil Premium is distributed and then used effectively to maximise educational outcomes.
  • Have oversight of the Personal Educational Planning system ensuring that PEPs are highly effective and completed termly.
  • Signpost children to organisations and activities they are interested in as well as providing a range of after school clubs
  • Celebrate the educational achievements of Children in Care
  • Arrange for students of all ages to have extra tuition to support their learning
  • Provide advice and support to foster carers, school staff and social workers

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 the aim is to ensure that all children and young people in care:

  • 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

Further information about the Virtual School

Guidance on Education of Children in Care
A3 Overview of the Virtual School
Introduction to the Virtual School Headteacher (PDF 365KB)
DfE Statutory Guidance for Governors
Raising attainment for LAC - Primary
Raising attainment for LAC - Secondary
CiC competent school checklist

Funding

Information on education funding for children in care
The Pupil Premium for CiC - Spend financial year 2014-15 (PDF 20KB)

Training

Our Training Offer - Academic Year 2015/16 (PDF 61KB)
Attachment Aware Brighton (PDF 28KB)

Educational Plans

Personal Education Plans
PEP Process
Personal Opportunities Plan document (16+)

Adoption

Adopted children and education

Links to other teams/services

Fostering and Adoption team
Services for disabled children