Virtual school for looked-after children
What is a Virtual School?
A Virtual School acts as a local authority champion to bring about improvements in the education and outcomes of Looked after Children (LAC) and Young Care Leavers (YCL) and to promote their educational achievement as if they were in a single school. Our key objective is to ensure each LAC receives a high quality education which will give them a secure foundation as they move into adulthood.
Brent Virtual School (BVS) 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. BVS is simply an organisation which has been created for the effective co-ordination of educational services at a strategic and operational level. On average Brent has around 200 LAC of statutory school age, of which approximately 50 per cent are educated in schools in Brent.
BVS also has a role in promoting the education of children and young people who are post LAC and may have been adopted or subject to a special guardianship (SGO) or child arrangement order. The key role with post LAC is to offer advice and guidance to schools and carers.
What does BVS do?
- Promotes the importance of a high quality education and high expectations for all LAC and YCL
- Influences policy and develops and improves services for LAC and YCL
- Promotes individual achievement and wellbeing by RAG rating our LAC cohorts and ensuring that the right children and young people are targeted with the right intervention at the right time
- Provides advice, support and training to a wide range of professionals both in education and social care
- Improves access to specialist services, mental health assessments and treatment
- Provides access to professional advice and guidance on education, training and employment
- Provides additional opportunities for out of school learning and enrichment
- Facilitates access to early education and child care
- Produces an Annual Achievement Report
- Reports on outcomes for LAC
- Organises an annual Celebration of LAC Achievement Event.
BVS is governed by Brent’s Corporate Parenting Committee.
How is it organised?
BVS comprises of the following roles:
Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher
Together the Head teacher, who is also Head of Inclusion, and the Deputy Head teacher provide strategic and operational leadership and management to the BVS team ensuring that all statutory duties are met and that all Brent LAC and YCL receive appropriate support and intervention. They also oversee the allocation of the Pupil Premium Plus (PPP).
The Advisory Teachers track and monitor the progress of Brent LAC in their cohorts, with a particular focus on those RAG rated as RED, co-ordinating and deploying BVS support to raise their attainment according to an assessment of their needs. They quality assure statutory Personal Education Plans (PEPs) for LAC in their cohorts. They work with social workers, foster carers and the school’s designated teacher (DT), who has a statutory role within schools that mirrors that of the virtual school head teacher, to ensure that high aspirations and challenge is demonstrated in the PEP. They contribute to training for designated teachers, schools, social workers, foster carers and governors, and act as advocates by positively challenging the practice of schools.
The Advisory Workers carry out the same role as the advisory teachers apart from contributing to training. Advisory workers do not have Qualified Teachers’ Status (QTS).
Year 11 Life coach
The Life Coach works to support all Year 11 LAC with their transition to post-16 education and training.
Personal Advisor for Post-16
The Personal Advisor for Post 16 works with the key stage 5 cohort, carrying out PEPs for those in education or training and working with other professionals, in particular social care colleagues, to encourage those not in education, employment or training to re-engage.
The Education Psychologist carries out assessments of identified LAC to support applications for statutory assessment. They also contribute to our training programme.
Finance and Admin Officer
The Finance and Admin Officer is responsible for processing all financial payments for BVS, including the payment of PPP to schools. They also support our enrichment programme and other student focused activity.
The Data Analyst supports the team, schools and social care colleagues with a wide range of data and information. This includes the maintenance of detailed LAC Pupil Tracker.
Please contact our team for more information by emailing EducationForLAC@brent.gov.uk
Things to read
- Promoting the education of looked-after children
- Statutory guidance for looked-after children in local authority-maintained schools
- Pupil premium 2021 to 2022: conditions of grant
- Children adopted from care and the pupil premium: template letter
- Guide to submitting 2020 to 2021 Looked after children return
- Promoting the education of children with a social worker