Virtual School Handbook
The County Council is determined to ensure that Children in Care and care leavers receive the very best chance possible to go on and lead fulfilled and successful adult lives.
Our pledge is a marker to remind everyone how important and special these children and young people are and of the significant responsibility we have.
The Pledge Easy Read version
Contacts, structure and strategy
The Essex Virtual School has oversight for all Essex children in care from Early Years, throughout their statutory education years and through post 16 further education. The role of the local authority is set out in the DfE document Promoting the education of looked after children Statutory Guidance for local authorities July 2014
The service also maintains an oversight for children from other local authorities placed in Essex schools.
Essex has produced a document to support other LAs
who place children in care in the Essex area.
If you have children that are in the care of another Local Authority, please try to ensure that you are also aware of their Virtual Head details. This is the current list of Virtual School Heads for the Eastern Region.
National Association of Virtual School Heads
Cathryn Adams is a member of the National Association of Virtual School Heads.
The Research and Improvement Priorities 2016/17
1. Establish The National Association of Virtual School Heads and links with key partners.
2. Develop a robust means of measuring attainment and progress based on recent research demonstrating what impacts most on educational outcomes for children in care.
3. Uphold high quality educational provision for all children in care.
4. Research and develop best practice use of Pupil Premium Plus to maximise its impact.
5. Support schools to implement the NICE Guidance on Attachment.
6. Promote engagement with Children in Care Councils and ensure the voice of children in care and care leavers is at the centre of our work.
7. Support the ongoing professional development of Virtual School Heads, Designated Teachers and other professionals working with children in care.
Further details can be found on the website.
Free Music Opportunities for Children in Care
Essex Music Services
Essex Music Services (lead partner in Essex Music Education Hub) and the Essex Virtual School are working together to enable musical opportunities for all Looked After Children (LAC), children subject to a Special Guardianship Order (SGO), Child Arrangement Order (CAO) or Children adopted from care are offered the following musical opportunities by Essex Music Education Hub completely free of charge. This covers school based music tuition, instrument hire and access to ensembles through the Music Schools. Further information and an application form can be found on the Essex Music Service website. Please note the above offer is applicable to music tuition in Essex County Council Schools and EMS community Music Schools; it cannot be used at schools in other local authorities or for at-home provision. For ECC LAC, SGO, CAO or Children Adopted from Care that are receiving their education at another local authority school, please contact the Virtual School who will be able to advise you further.
Essex Music Services now hire hire complete music technology packages to support budding young songwriters, producers and sound engineers!
£20 per term with additional subsidy for low-income families, and completely free to children in care.
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Ofsted Evidence Form S5
Improving outcomes for children in care is a priority for Ofsted and forms part of the school inspection. Inspectors will use the S5 Evidence Form to support their judgement.
Personal Education Plans
It is recommended that the PEP1 is completed in the first three weeks of the term as this will be an essential element of planning and assessment for children in care. In the first three weeks of term new targets following a gap analysis will need to be incorporated into the PEP1 document to enable progress to be assessed at the end of the term. Please remember that the learning objectives should be challenging and reflect targets for the whole term.
Please visit our PEP page for exemplar PEPs, or contact us at email@example.com
Supporting documents from .gov.uk
The gov.uk website contains a wealth of information to support schools and colleges in relation to children in care and it has been handily packaged together on this link.
Included are documents on advocacy, SEND, health and wellbeing, support in education, special guardianship, social care and research.