Shropshire Council

Shropshire Virtual School

What is a Virtual School?

The Virtual School acts as a local authority champion to promote the progress and educational attainment of looked-after children so they achieve educational outcomes comparable to their peers. Ensuring that they receive a high-quality education is the foundation for improving their lives.

The school does not exist in real terms or as a building. Children do not attend it - they remain the responsibility of the school at which they are enrolled. The Virtual School is simply a team, which has been created for the effective co-ordination of educational services at a strategic and operational level.

What do we do?

  • Influence policy and develop and improve services for looked-after children;
  • Promote individual achievement and wellbeing;
  • Provide advice, support and training to professionals, schools, colleges and institutions;
  • Improve access to specialist services;
  • Provide access to professional advice and guidance on education, training and employment;
  • Provide additional opportunities for out of school learning and leisure;
  • Facilitate access to early education and childcare.

We are committed and passionate in achieving the best possible outcomes for our children in care. The Virtual School supports children in care to Shropshire Local Authority whether they are living in Shropshire or living in another part of the country. We are their corporate parents and in that role, we serve our children in the following way. We will:

Promote

High aspirations and excellent educational outcomes

Support

Children and young people, carers, schools and settings

Challenge

Anyone who does not deliver on our aspirations

Celebrate

All our successes

The Virtual School team

Each child has an education link within the Virtual school.  We put the needs, perspective and voice of the young person into the heart of our work.

We monitor the educational outcomes for all children in care to Shropshire wherever they are placed.

We work closely with other professionals, together with parents and carers, to ensure that children and young people receive the best possible education. We work to get the support they need to progress and achieve. We monitor the electronic Personal Education Plan process (ePEP).

We provide ongoing support to designated leads in schools to ensure they are skilled, knowledgeable and competent in working with children who have suffered loss and trauma and understand the barriers to learning and how to overcome them.

The Virtual School staff also work closely with school, together with other professionals such as the SEN team, Education Access, Admissions, Educational Psychology Service, social workers and independent review officers.

The Virtual School will promote and champion the specific needs of children in care and work to ensure any professional support is linked and effective.

The Virtual School act as a central contact point for any queries from school and other professional regarding the education of our children in care. The virtualschool@shropshire.gov.uk mailbox is monitored and relevant information sent out including requests and guidance.

The Virtual School Headteacher

The Headteacher’s role is to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction of the Virtual School in supporting Shropshire Local Authority in the corporate parenting role. The Headteacher also leads and manages the work of the Virtual School and has an overview of all the achievements of children in care in Shropshire, support pupils, schools and staff. The Headteacher will challenge and be challenged on behalf our children.

The Virtual Headteacher ensures that resources are utilised to best effect and have maximum impact on outcomes for pupils.

Personal Education Plan (PEPs)

The Virtual School team work with social workers and designated leads to ensure that termly quality PEPS are in place. A quality PEP will have the young person’s view, attainment and progress information; SMART targets linked to learning and where appropriate Pupil Premium spending.

A personal education plan (PEP) forms an essential part of each child’s care plan and forms part of the child’s official school record. Schools and the Local Authority have a shared responsibility for ensuring the PEP is a living and useful document. The PEP is a vital document because it provides a collective memory about a child’s education and when used effectively improves the educational experience of the child by helping everyone gain a clear understanding of the teaching and learning provision necessary to meet the child’s educational needs, this is especially important at any transition points. Successful completion of a good quality PEP will release Pupil Premium + funding for the school to spend on improving educational outcomes for the child or young person.

Further information on ePEP

Pupil Premium for Shropshire Looked After Children

The Pupil Premium Policy document will give you information on the use of the Pupil Premium and how it can be used to effectively narrow the gap in attainment and improve outcomes for our children.

Previously Looked after Children

The Virtual School can give advice and guidance to schools and parents through sign posting and advice. We offer a rolling programme of attachment training based on three levels delivered by Shropshire Education Psychology Service.

For further information, please use the links below:

 

 

Email: virtualschool@shropshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 01743 250124