Welcome back to
the start of the new school year. I hope you have all had a good break. It’s
strange that the summer holiday which is, in essence, a half term, passes so
As partners of
the Essex Virtual School I want to take this opportunity to remind you of our shared
priorities to improve the educational outcomes for children in care:
- Raise attainment and accelerate progress for children in care across all key stages
- Improve school attendance and reduce exclusion
- Improve the quality of Personal Education Plans
- Support school leadership to enhance a shared objective of improving life opportunities through education.
- Provide access to advice, support and intervention for children adopted, Special Guardianship Order and Child Arrangement Order to schools and families
School has added a priority following the passing of the Children and Social
Work Act 2017. This means that the Virtual School will have an additional
responsibility to support schools and families of children that are adopted, or
subject to either a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) or Child Arrangement Order
(CAO). We are waiting for the DfE to publish the guidance to accompany the
legislation. Included within the law is the requirement for schools to have a
named Designated Teacher for this group of children. As a Virtual School we will be developing our
offer and ensuring that school staff have the right skills and knowledge to
support these vulnerable learners.
We have further
training planned this coming year, in October there is training for Designated Teachers which covers
everything you need to know to fulfil your role and in particular improving the
quality of Personal Education Plans.
There is also a
link to a range of training opportunities for Early Years practitioners via the website.
There are also further
training days on Attachment Aware
Schools. This training has been in demand and over-subscribed. The spring 2018 session is scheduled for 6 February. PLease visit our Designated Teacher training page or the current training opportunities link above. Designated Teacher training is scheduled for March 2018 and further details will be released soon.
One thing that our children and young people in care often say is that
they would like more support at home for learning. As a result of what children
and young people have said, the Virtual School has recently purchased access to
Britannica School, from Encyclopaedia Britannica for all children in care aged between 4 and 18 years old. This is
an on-line resource that is accessed via a portal. The resources are tailored
to different age groups and the school curriculum. We are communicating with Designated Teachers
at school and carers to encourage children and young people to make use of this
resource and to support them to do so.
Our first Governors
meeting for this academic year took place on 20th September. On the
agenda is a review of the Virtual School SEF and Development Plan along with a
review of Pupil Premium Plus. In
addition we will be considering the feedback from the Ofsted pilot inspection
that took place in August 2017. Minutes from the governors meetings are
available on the Virtual School website.
Best wishes for
a successful new year,