Looked after children (or children looked after) are the children that are subject to Care Orders and those who are voluntarily accommodated who live with foster carers, in residential homes or remain with their family.
In these cases the local authority acts as their corporate parent, responsible for their care and support. The Virtual School takes the lead in ensuring that all of our looked after children who are of school age have the best educational opportunities possible and that there is consistency of approach across Salford schools.
We work in partnership with schools, social workers and other professionals to ensure that:
- all Salford looked after children have an appropriate school place
- all Salford looked after children have a high quality Personal Educational Plan
- all Salford looked after children achieve good outcomes
- the educational achievement of looked after and some categories of previously looked after children is prioritised
What service does the Virtual School team offer?
Our main focus is looked after children, but we also provide an advice and guidance service for certain categories of previously looked after children (those who are adopted, subject to a Special Guardianship Order, or a Child Arrangement Order, straight from care). Our work with previously looked after children is detailed here.
For looked after children, we collect, monitor and analyse attendance, attainment and progress data to help us to prioritise our work.
We work closely with schools, social workers and other professionals to offer:
- oversight and management of the Personal Educational Plan (PEP) process
- advice on PEP targets and suitable interventions
- scrutiny of Premium Plus Grant which is awarded to schools to support their cohort of looked after children
- a wide range of advice and training for designated teachers and other school staff relating to education and emotional health and wellbeing of looked after children, e.g. attachment
- fast referral routes to our commissioned educational psychologists and speech and language therapist
- casework, with VST teacher advisors advocating for individual children and their education
- support and challenge to headteachers and designated teachers to ensure compliance with their statutory responsibilities
- support to social workers by providing consultation, advice and training around admissions, exclusions, progress and attainment, the PEP process and targets and good practice around a school’s use of the Pupil Premium Plus Grant.
- support to social workers to navigate sometimes complex educational issues, including cross-authority protocols, including liaison with other virtual schools
Meet the Virtual School team!
How can you contact the Virtual School team?
You can email any of the Virtual School team officers using the email addresses above or you can contact Dawn Jemmett on 0161 779 7924 for more information or to speak to one of the team.