The virtual school and educating our looked after children
As Corporate parent South Tyneside Council has a responsibility for all looked after children in the Borough and as with any good parent, education takes a high priority. Education is the key enabler for children to improve their life chances, and this is even more important for looked after children.
We have a group of professionals who support looked after children very closely to make sure they make good progress and make the best of the opportunities on offer. This group is called the Virtual School. The South Tyneside Virtual School was set up in 2008 to raise the achievement of looked after children.
The Virtual School works to support the education achievement of looked after children. Unlike most schools, it doesn't exist in bricks and mortar; children do not attend the virtual school but like other children in the Borough attend the full range of schools. The Virtual School is an organisational arrangement to enable the Local Authority to monitor the progress and attendance of looked after children and coordinate educational support. It doesn't replace the responsibilities of the young person's actual school in their duties to looked after children, but provides additional resource to support and challenge those involved in their education. Each school should have a designated teacher who is responsible for the educational and pastoral issues related to looked after children.
The Head of Looked After Children's Education with the PLACE (Project for Looked After Children's Education) oversees the educational progress of all our looked after children and provides strategic leadership for the Virtual School. The progress of looked after children is monitored as if they were in one school.
Because supporting LAC effectively sometimes means working across organisational and geographical boundaries, we have signed up to the North East Education Protects Network information sharing protocol for LAC410.29KB. We work to this protocol in working with colleagues elsewhere.