Shropshire Council

Shropshire Virtual School

What is a Virtual School?

The Virtual School acts as a local authority champion to promote the progress and educational attainment of looked-after children 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 doesn't exist in real terms or as a building. Children don't attend it - they remain the responsibility of the school at which they're enrolled. The Virtual School is simply a team 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 looked-after children
  • 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 childcare

We're committed and passionate in achieving the best possible outcomes for our children in care. The Virtual School supports children in care to Shropshire Local Authority, whether they're living in Shropshire or living in another part of the country. We're their corporate parents, and in that role we serve our children in the following way. We will:

Promote

High aspirations and excellent educational outcomes

Support

Children and young people, carers, schools and settings

Challenge

Anyone who does not deliver on our aspirations

Celebrate

All our successes

The Virtual School team

Each child has an education link within the Virtual school. We put the needs, perspective and voice of the young person into the heart of our work. We monitor the educational outcomes for all children in care to Shropshire wherever they're placed.

We work closely with other professionals, together with parents and carers, to ensure that children and young people receive the best possible education. We work to get the support they need to progress and achieve. We monitor the electronic personal education plan process (ePEP).

We provide ongoing support to designated leads in schools to ensure that they're skilled, knowledgeable and competent in working with children who have suffered loss and trauma, and understand the barriers to learning and how to overcome them.

The Virtual School staff also work closely with schools, together with other professionals such as the SEN team, Education Access, Admissions, the Educational Psychology Service, social workers and independent review officers.

The Virtual School will promote and champion the specific needs of children in care and work to ensure any professional support is linked and effective.

The Virtual School acts as a central contact point for any queries from schools and other professionals regarding the education of our children in care. The virtualschool@shropshire.gov.uk mailbox is monitored, and relevant information is sent out, including requests and guidance.

The Virtual School headteacher

The headteacher’s role is to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction of the Virtual School in supporting Shropshire Local Authority in the corporate parenting role. The headteacher also leads and manages the work of the Virtual School, and has an overview of all the achievements of children in care in Shropshire, support pupils, schools and staff. The headteacher will challenge and be challenged on behalf our children.

The virtual headteacher ensures that resources are used to best effect and have maximum impact on outcomes for pupils.