Realising the potential of Children in Care

What is a Virtual School?

The Virtual School acts as a local authority champion to promote the progress and educational attainment of Children in Care (CiC) and Young Care Leavers (YCL) 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. VSK is simply an organisation 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 CiC and YCL.
  • 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 child care.

How are we organised?

Virtual School Kent comprises of a Headteacher and the following roles:

Deputy Heads - Standards and Achievement

Operational line managers of their multi-agency integrated team, providing an enhanced service with a ‘team around the child’ and/or ‘team around the school’ approach. They ensure statutory duties and best practice standards are met, particularly in relation to the health and education of children in care, identifying areas of development and challenging strategic and operational practice are a key part of this role.

Assistant Heads - Progress and Achievement

Track and monitor the progress of KCC CiC in their area, co-ordinating and deploying VSK support to raise their attainment according to an assessment of their needs. They quality assure education and transition planning for all KCC CiC in their area, modelling and sharing best planning practice. they supervise CiC training for designated teachers, schools, social workers, foster carers and governors, and act as advocates by positively challenging the practice of schools.

CiC Specialist Nurses

Provide Health Assessments, support policy development and provide training for Social Workers, Carers and Teachers as well as working with individual children and young people to address specific health needs. They work within the Children in Care Specialist Nursing Team of the Kent Community Health NHS Trust.

Fostering Education Liaison Officers (FELOs)

Work directly with carers and parents, empowering them and their children to get the most out of the educational opportunities available to them. They enable positive participation, encourage involvement in the learning environment and focus on preventative and early intervention strategies linking to other specialist services and agencies within the child’s network of support.

Education Support Officers

Work in schools delivering one to one and small group support to raise attainment and build the wider skills of children and young people. They build specialist knowledge and capacity of other support staff.

YR11 Progression Advisors

Support, guide and advise year 11 students on a successful progression towards post 16 education or work related training destinations that match their needs well.

Post16 Support Officers

Work with young people in Years 12 and 13 attending College, training providers, working or those that are in need of accessing a provision.

Post16 UASC Support Officers

Work closely with a number of different organisations to provide Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Young People (UASC) in Years 12 and 13 with education, employment or training opportunities. They also work very closely with the Reception Centres in Ashford and Cranbrook to ensure a smooth transition for the young people from the centres and out into the community.

CiC Education Welfare Officer

Build effective communication channels with schools and other educational providers to compile and maintain accurate data on attendance of CiC. They produce attendance analysis for key stakeholders.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Co-ordinator

Work with Social Workers to identify any children eligible for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and ensure a claim is made and that medical reports and supporting documents are requested. Procedure for Making Applications for Criminal Injuries Compensation on behalf of Children in Care.

Admin Staff

Ensure the virtual school runs smoothly. Provide first point of contact for enquiries and maintain administration support for the service.