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Where will I live?
We understand that moving into a new home can be upsetting and want you to feel comfortable, safe and happy so if you are moving into a new home here are some ideas of what you can do to make it easier. Think about any questions you might have about where you are moving – you could write these down. These might be about your bedroom, the food you will eat, pocket money, school, when you will see your family and any other that you might want to know.
If you are not happy or are worried about something – please tell someone you trust. No one will be cross with you.
Find out more information about the places where you may live.
Contact with family and friends
Did you know you can stay in touch with your family and friends when you go into care?
If you want to see your family and friends after you’ve left home you still can. Just tell your social worker and they’ll organise it for you. But if seeing your family would make you feel unhappy or unsafe, your social worker can think of different ways for you to keep in touch. You may be able to talk to your family and friends on the telephone or you may go to a family centre to see them.
Your foster carer might let you have a friend over for a visit or to sleep over, as long as this is OK with your social worker and the other professionals who are thinking about you.
Sometimes you might not be able to see your family but your social worker will always tell you why this is.
Your Social Worker
Before you go into care you’ll meet somebody called a social worker who will help you with any problems you’re having and keep you safe.
Social workers want what’s best for you so they are the best person to speak to about your wishes and needs. They will tell you why you are in care and help you understand the reasons why some choices have been made for you.
They will also make sure you keep in touch with all the people who are important to you, like your family and friends, while you’re in care.
Your social worker will help you by:
- coming to see you regularly and listening to all your thoughts
- making sure you’re safe and happy
- letting you know how your family are, if you decide to want to know
- helping you to have contact with your family, if this is safe and you want to
- being there to listen to your problems, celebrate your achievements and share all the important moments in your life.
At your school, there will be a special teacher for looked after children. You can talk to them or another teacher you like or trust. They can make sure that any problems you have in school are sorted and can arrange for extra help and support for you, they won't 'single you out' because you are looked after - it’s their job to help you get the best out of school.
The Virtual School Team
The Brent Virtual School for Looked-After Children aims to improve the educational outcomes of all young people in our care.
The Team is responsible for improving the educational outcomes for Brent looked after children, placed both in and out of the borough. The virtual school provides:
- additional tuition when you need extra support
- Easter booster classes for KS2 SATs and GCSE's
- The Letterbox Club:
- a colourful parcel of books, maths activities, stationery and other complementary materials are posted to your home once every month for six months, from May to October
- extra curricular activities in partnership with range of agencies including:
- Theatre and arts workshops
- Sports projects
The virtual school also helps and supports you in your education by:
- informing schools, carers and social care staff on your progress, attendance and attainment
- advising on educational provision, special needs, admissions and exclusions.
- offering a range of training to ensure you are supported well.
Training is offered to:
- social workers
- residential unit staff
- designated teachers
- newly qualified teachers
- school governors
The Personal Education Plan (PEP) is the part of your care plan that looks at your educational needs. It is a record of what needs to happen to help you get the best out of your education and help you fulfil your potential. The PEP should include details of the things you do well (strengths) and things you need some help with, along with educational progress, short-term and long-term goals.
All looked after children and young people of school age have a PEP. If you are not aware of your Personal Education Plan, or you want to have your say in it, please talk to your social worker about it. Your views and contribution are an important part of the PEP.
The PEP meeting should involve your social worker, teacher and key staff working with you in school and your carer. Sometimes other people may also attend such as one of the Advisory Teachers in the Virtual School. Everyone will look at how to help you get the most out of school.
There will be a PEP initiated for you within 10 days of becoming looked after or if you move to a new school.
Some children may need extra help in school with certain subjects such as Maths, English or Reading. Your PEP will say what extra help you need. You should expect full support from your carers and teachers especially with things like homework and revision.
Remember you do have a say in what school you go to - if you don't get into your choice of school you can appeal. Ask your social worker about this.
Your PEP will be reviewed every school term to keep it up to date.
Does it really matter?
YES! School is REALLY important.
School gives you the chance to learn and the chance to get more out of life.
Getting an education has a huge impact on your future, so expect full support from your carers, teachers, and social worker, and advocate. We want you to get the very best out of school so you can get those qualifications to open the doors to further study, jobs and careers!
You may have to move schools when you are being looked after because your placement is too far away - a move can be difficult. But you may see it as a new chance or fresh start. You can make new friends and you may even be taught in a different way. If you are concerned about moving schools, please speak to an advocate.
Meet the Virtual School Team
- Head teacher, Janet Lewis, Head of Virtual School, 020 8937 3813
- Deputy Head teacher, Susan Lofthouse, 020 8937 6793
- Advisory Teacher Primary, Emma Gavin, 020 8937 1536
- Advisory Teacher KS3, Margaret Curtin, 020 8937 4318
- Advisory Teacher KS4, Nayna Joshi, 020 8937 4377
- Data Analyst, Priya Upadhyaya, 020 8937 4329
- Education Psychologist, Elizabeth Hannah, 020 8937 3212
- Year 11 LAC Life Coach, Connexions Team. Ben Kwofie,
Contact the Virtual School Team
Get in touch with us Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm.
Telephone: 020 8937 4329
Address: Brent Virtual School for Looked after Children, Brent Civic Centre,Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ
Other Brent education services
Education other than at School and the Inclusion Support Team (EOTAS)
EOTAS ensures all children of compulsory school age who have been permanently excluded from school or are without a school place for whatever reason receive up to 25 hours of appropriate education per school week.
The Inclusion Support Team
A multi-disciplinary team of education and mental health professionals who take referrals for individual pupils from Brent schools and work to support the pupil, their family and relevant school staff to prevent the pupil from being excluded from school.
Education Welfare Service
Works with schools to ensure that all children of compulsory school age attend school regularly.
Learning and Inclusion Resource Team
Leads on the commissioning of provision for children educated other than at school and on services for the Inclusion Support Team and the Virtual School.
Specialist Nurses for looked after children
There is a small team of specialist nurses for looked after children. Their job is to make sure that you, your carers and your social worker have all the information you need to keep you healthy. They will carry out a health assessment to check you are well and if you need any specialist help or referrals to other medical services, any information or support.
Every looked after child and young person is offered a full health assessment, called an Initial Health Assessment (IHA), when they first come in to care and then a Review Health Assessment (RHA) every year if you are over 5 years old and every 6 months if you are under 5 years old.
The RHA checks if you are up to date with the recommendations from the IHA care plan, or a previous RHA care plan, and reviews your current state of health and wellbeing. They will also find out if your health needs are being fully met by talking to other people such as the school nurse and your doctor if required.
Specialist nurses also offer advice about keeping healthy.
Health advice and support
Did you know, you can get health advice and support from Looked After Children's Nurses.
They can help you with:
- healthy eating
- quit smoking
- relationship worries
- skin problems
- internet safety
- emotional wellbeing
- behaviour problems
- growing up - body changes
- sexual health
- sexual and gender identity
- drug or alcohol misuse
- medical matters, for example, asthma, diabetes or if you have a long term illness of any kind.
Meet the Looked after Children's Health Team
Lead Doctor for Looked After Children
Dr Sepali Wijesinghe
Telephone: 020 8795 6344
Community Paediatricians for Looked After Children
Dr Arlene Boroda
Dr Katalin Schneider
Telephone: 0208 795 6344
Mobile: 07909 008 940
Mobile: 07909 008 955
Mobile: 07909 008 941
Telephone: 020 8795 6344
Leaving care and my health
If you are 15 or older, Looked After Children nurses will complete a health passport to give you called "Your Health Passport". The Health Passport will give you information about your health from your health records.
The information will include injections you have had, your birth, your health and development, any medicines you take, illnesses you have had, if you are allergic to anything, or if you see any doctors.
You will need to keep the summary in a safe place as you might need your health information when you are older.
If you are 18 and have not received your Health Passport summary, please let us know and we can provide you with one. Its important information for your future.
Need some health advice?
If you are a looked after young person and would like to speak directly to a specialist nurse, you can contact us Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm on 020 8795 6344 or email your question / concern to us.
It’s a legal requirement that looked after children and young people are reviewed regularly to make sure you are properly cared for. Laws, such as the Children Act say that children and young people must be asked what their wishes and feelings are about the things that affect their lives.
What is a review?
A review is a meeting where you and the people who care about you formally get together to look at how you are finding things since you became looked after.
Your first review must be held within four weeks of you being looked after by the council. The second review must be three months after that and then every six months.
The reason for having a review is to make sure that everything is being done to make you safe, healthy and happy in a stable environment.
The law says that you must be told about any changes that will affect you after the review.
The most important person at your review is you. Young people go to reviews. They want to know what’s going on and have a say about what will happen to them.
Remember it’s your review and your views must be listened to. You can have your review anywhere, anytime, it’s your choice! But be sensible!
What’s is an IRO? – Independent Reviewing Officer
The IRO is the person in charge of your reviews. They check that you are being well looked after and must make sure that everyone knows your views.
They should speak to you about your views before the review and help you to run the review in your own way. They will also help you to plan who you want to invite to your review.
If you're not happy with something in your care plan or pathway plan you can ask for a review at anytime. This is because the law says these things must be talked about regularly and that your views must be heard.
Your review is important for you, as it is your chance to say what you are happy or unhappy with.
What can I do if I have a problem?
Try talking to someone who is close to you. This could be:
- a friend
- a relative
- a teacher
- your foster carer
- your social worker
- an advocate.
You have the right to make a comment or a complaint about services or accommodation you have received. You might have a suggestion about how things might be done better. You can also get help from the Children's Commisioner website.
Advocate: someone who is independent of the Council, who will help you to make your complaint and deal with the Council.
Don't be put off - it's your right to have your say.