Welcome to The Virtual School
Virtual School, real lives & learning
A message from our Head
Welcome to the Virtual School website, here is just a glimpse into the work we do and services we provide to support Gloucestershire's Children in Care, our schools, foster carers and other professionals.
This website aims to be a focal point for everyone working with Children in Care and Care Leavers. It is a place to access information, advice and guidance, link and share best practice and gain a complete picture of the multi-agency work which goes on in support of our young people.
Education matters to all children, it is crucial to their well-being and improves their life chances. For children in the care of Gloucestershire who have previously faced challenging situations it is even more essential to do all that we can to support them.
Gloucestershire County Council has corporate parenting responsibility for children in care and, like all parents, valuing and supporting children's education is one of the most important contributions the Council can make to their lives. The Virtual School for Children in Care, therefore, has high aspirations for these children to help them maximise their access to education and have the chance to achieve their full potential.
Our Virtual School is not a teaching tool or online learning environment. We do not replace the school or educational provision for children in care. We are a statutory service which exists to support and challenge all those involved in the education of children in care. We work primarily with school age children and use the Personal Educational Plan as a vehicle for raising standards. We also support post 16 learning and early years and have specialist staff leading these areas.
What Do We Do?
As a 'Corporate Parent' for Children in Care, our role is to champion the educational needs of our young people. This involves monitoring progress and attendance, supporting our young people and professionals around them, quality assuring Personal Education Plans (PEP), planning targeted interventions and celebrating achievements. To do this, we work together with schools, carers, social workers, health professionals and education professionals, to help children achieve their full potential.
We aim to offer practical support for children, young people and their carers throughout their education. We are also there to support at specific times such as the transfer to primary or secondary, moving schools, exclusions and gaining appropriate support for any special educational needs.
During the academic year, three Personal Education Plan meetings are held to make sure that everything is in place for the young person to achieve their full potential as their education progresses. These meetings, usually held at the school, involve the young person, the social worker, a representative from the school, the carer and usually the Virtual School allocated worker.
The Virtual School will challenge and offer support to young people and professionals to ensure that the best possible progress is made by the young person, in the best possible educational placement.
In addition to the direct educational supports that we offer, the Virtual School also values wider achievements and learning so we offer a host of opportunities including Children in Care Council, targeted summer activities, study skills support conference and horse riding academy. We are also going to develop ASDAN to accredit skills. We also work closely with other partners and promote activities in children and young peoples localities such as the summer reading scheme through the libraries, work experience opportunities on the "Work it out Project", the National Citizenship service (NCS), Princes Trust programme and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.
I hope that you will find this website useful and I would welcome any feedback or further contributions as we continue to develop it so that it meets all of your needs.
In the meantime, have a look at this video to tell you more about the impact we have...