The Role of the Walsall Virtual School Head
Walsall Virtual School Head, has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that arrangements are in place to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of the authority's children in care, including those placed out-of-borough. The Walsall Virtual School Head should also ensure the educational attainment and progress of children in care is monitored and evaluated as if those children attended a single school.
The Walsall Virtual School Head should ensure that there are effective systems in place to:
maintain an up-to-date roll of its looked-after children who are in school or college settings, and gather information about their education placement, attendance and educational progress.
ensure sufficient information about a child's mental health, SEN or disability is available to their education setting so that appropriate support can be provided.
Inform headteachers and designated teachers in schools if they have a child on roll who is looked after by the Walsall Virtual School Head's local authority.
Ensure social workers, designated teachers and schools, carers and IROs understand their role and responsibilities in initiating, developing, reviewing and updating the child's PEP and how they help meet the needs identified in that PEP.
Ensure up-to-date, effective and high quality PEPs that focus on educational outcomes, and that all looked-after children, wherever they are placed, have such a PEP.
Avoid drift or delay in providing suitable educational provision, including special educational provision, and unplanned termination of educational arrangements through proactive, multi-agency co-operation. Where this requires negotiation with other authorities this should be completed in a timely manner and with the best interest of the child as paramount.
Ensure the educational achievement of children looked after by the authority is seen as a priority by everyone who has responsibilities for promoting their welfare; and
Report regularly on the attainment, progress and school attendance of looked-after children through the authority's corporate parenting structures.
Role of the Virtual School Head for previously looked after children
Virtual School heads have a responsibility to promote the educational achievement of previously looked after children, who attend a school in their authority by providing information and advice to parents, educators and others who they consider necessary
Virtual school Heads role extension - Sept 2021
From September 2021 virtual school heads will be responsible for promoting the education of all children with a social worker.
This means they will help to:
Make visible the disadvantages that children with a social worker can experience, enhancing partnerships between education settings and local authorities to help all agencies hold high aspirations for these children.
Promote practice that supports children's engagement in education, recognising that attending an education setting can be an important factor in helping to keep children safe from harm.
Level up children's outcomes and narrow the attainment gap so every child can reach their potential. This will include helping to make sure that children with a social worker benefit from support to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Virtual Heads are not being asked to:
Work with individual children and their families - including tracking and monitoring the educational progress of individual children or providing academic or other interventions.
Respond to requests from parents or carers to offer advice, intervention and support in relation to individual children with a social worker.
Take responsibility for children with Special Education Needs and Disability
(SEND) who do not require or need a social worker.