The virtual school exists to ensure that children and young people in care have access to good quality education, providing them with improved life chances.
We expect that every child in care will:
- have a school place
- have a current Personal Education Plan
- attend a full time educational placement
- achieve their potential
- have access to impartial quality careers guidance
It is our responsibility to:
- promote the attainment of children in care
- raise awareness of the importance of education and lifelong learning with all people associated with children in care
- help create opportunities for children in care to achieve success in their educational careers
- work closely with all agencies to improve educational opportunities for children in care
- provide advice for parents, carers and guardians of previously looked-after children
Research shows that pupils who attend school regularly achieve higher grades than those who do not. Also, for a child in care, school can be the only constant in their life.
The virtual school, therefore, is committed to every child in care receiving a full time education.
The virtual school will:
- monitor the attendance and transition of children in care, using data from Welfare Call
- support parents, carers and social workers in accessing appropriate educational provision children in care
- support carers, pupils and schools in achieving regular school attendance
- offer support and advice to carers, social workers, schools and pupils on all aspects of school attendance and admission
Coming to school everyday really matters and makes a big difference.
Holidays in term time
- pupils who miss 2 weeks of school in a year miss 5% of their education
- by taking holidays during term time, pupils miss not only vital parts of their education, but other social and sporting activities
- it can be extremely hard and disruptive for a pupil to catch up on missed work
The Virtual School Head has to be in agreement before a child in care is taken out of school during term time.
Many schools make use of ‘internal exclusions’, while this still creates an opportunity for learning this must not be used as along-term solution.
Bedford Borough Virtual School will ensure that systems are in place to identify children where engagement is decreasing before the lack of engagement starts to impact their child’s progress.
The Virtual School will ensure that all relevant agencies comply with and uphold the statutory guidance on school exclusions.
To reiterate, in line with the statutory guidance, headteachers at the placement school must avoid permanently excluding any looked after child where possible.
When Bedford Borough Virtual School are informed of a looked after child’s behaviour which could lead to an exclusion, they will implement a course of action to ensure that permanent exclusions are avoided at all costs. Solutions may include, finding an alternative education provision suitable for the child’s needs or implementing a course of mentoring to help address the reasons behind this behaviour or other interventions that will help address this.
Local authorities and schools must have regard to the Department’s statutory guidance Exclusions from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England. In line with that guidance, head teachers should, as far as possible, avoid excluding any looked-after child. The Virtual School Head should build relationships with Governing bodies, head teachers and designated teachers to support this. Virtual School Head's should ensure that carers and social workers know where to seek advice about their role and responsibilities regarding exclusions.