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 February 2018.
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.
Education and participation strategy for children in care Supporting documentation and information on children in care is available from the Government website and has been handily packaged together on this link. The school Self Assessment Tool has been created to assist school leaders to evaluate the provision and effectiveness raising attainment and supporting children in care. 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.
The Essex Provision Toolkit is a useful resource when considering the additional needs of children. It offers advice and guidance in addressing those needs prior to seeking external support.
Examples of good practice
Pupil Premium Grant Project Funding
A number of bids were received for additional project funding to improve outcomes for children in care. Below are 3 case study reports detailing the outcomes from projects.
Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL)
A briefing pack has been written and is intended to provide clarity about the expectations for the education of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC), the admissions process and how to support them once admitted to school.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) become looked after and may also be a part of your school’s cohort of children in care. Guidance is available here regarding the examination arrangements for these children.
Independent Review Service.
The IRO Service in Essex has been working closely with members of the Children in Care Council to refresh the approach to reviews for children in care. Some changes have been made to the way the the review process in undertaken and how they may affect your participation. Two new supporting documents have been produced to support this.
Mentally Healthy School
Mentally Healthy Schools brings together quality-assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing. Our aim is to increase staff awareness, knowledge and confidence to help you support your pupils.
Sutton Trust and Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential and make the most of their talents. Independent and accessible information through the Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit, summarises educational research from the UK and around the world. This Toolkit provides guidance for teachers and schools on how best to use their resources to improve the attainment of pupils.
Education Endowment Foundation’s list of fifteen key lessons learned in its first six years. It takes just a couple of minutes to read through and is a useful reminder to us all. There are plenty of links to more detailed research including the new report on the attainment gap.
The EEF has published its latest guidance report, designed to support teachers in changing their classroom practice to improve their pupils’ metacognitive skills – in short, their ability to plan, monitor and evaluate their own academic progress so they become better at learning and studying.