Swindon Virtual School
What is a Virtual School and what is its purpose?
The Virtual School does not exist in real terms as a building, and children and young people do not attend. They remain the responsibility of the school at which they are enrolled.
The Virtual School works in partnership with the child or young person’s school/educational setting to ensure that they are supported to fulfil their potential at all stages of their education, and to give them the best opportunity to be successful in their adult lives. Whilst looked after children attend different schools/settings across Swindon and in other local authorities, the Virtual School monitors their attendance, attainment and achievement, and makes sure that their educational success is a top priority in their care planning.
Children who are looked after attract additional funding to support the targets or outcomes set out in their Personal Education Plans (PEPs). This is called Pupil Premium Plus and is administered by the Headteacher of the Virtual School.
How we support children in care and care leavers
The Virtual School Head (VSH) is responsible for:
- maintaining an up-to-date roll of looked after children for whom the local authority is responsible
- having knowledge and information about every looked after children attending the local authority schools
- informing head teachers and designated teachers in schools if they have a looked after child on roll
- supporting the identification of, and access to, school places for looked after children
- knowing how looked-after children are doing academically
- gathering information about their education placement, attendance and educational progress
- monitoring progress and achievement, identify where individual or groups of looked after children are underperforming and work with school to address any issues
VSHs are also responsible for managing pupil premium funding for the children they look after and for allocating it to schools and alternative provision (AP) settings. These are places that provide education for children who can’t go to a mainstream school.
Children who have been in local authority care for 1 day or more attract £1,900 of pupil premium funding.
VSHs are also responsible for managing the early years pupil premium (EYPP). They are in charge of giving the premium to the early years providers that educate looked-after children (children in local-authority care), who are taking up the free early education entitlement for 3- or 4-year-olds.
The pupil premium must be used for the benefit of the looked-after child’s educational needs as described in their personal education plan (PEP).
The Virtual School Headteacher and the school or educational setting must be able to demonstrate how the pupil premium and EYPP funding is raising the achievement of looked-after children.
How to contact the Virtual School team
Our team includes staff from a range of services working together to promote and support the education of children in care. Please contact us using the below information.
Telephone: 01793 464335
Headteacher Swindon Virtual School
Lead Consultant Swindon Virtual School
Information for carers, social workers and elected members
- Guidance for social workers - The PEP process (Doc)
- Foster carers and Swindon virtual school for children looked after (Doc)
- Attachment behaviours and what you might do (PDF)
- Virtual school attachment guidance (PDF)
- Questions for social workers to ask at PEP meetings (PDF)
Information for schools, settings and governors
- Welfare Call ePEP portal
- DFE guidance - Who are looked after children (Doc)
- The PEP process - A guide for designated teachers (Doc)
- Swindon virtual school - Guidance for LAC (Doc)
- Swindon virtual school - Register of children looked after (Doc)
- Designated teacher annual report to the Governing Board template (Doc)
- Swindon virtual school checklist for designated teachers (Doc)
- Swindon virtual school children looked after information for Governing Board (Doc)
- Swindon virtual school checklist for Governors (Doc)
- Model policy for the education of children looked after in Schools and settings (PDF)
- Swindon virtual school pupil premium toolkit (PDF)
- Teaching and learning interventions (PDF)
- Swindon virtual school trauma guide (PDF)
- Guidance for schools on reduced timetables (PDF)