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Children in care to receive more dedicated educational support

Published: Wednesday, 27th October 2021

Children in care to receive more dedicated educational support

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has set out plans to give more education support to children and young people in care.

The Stoke-on-Trent Virtual School works within the city council, on behalf of children and young people in care. The team support schools, social workers, and young people to ensure that every child in care and care-leaver gets the high-quality education they deserve.

From spring 2022 the Virtual School will operate an enhanced universal service offer for all children aged 2 to 18 in care, whether they are placed in Stoke-on-Trent or elsewhere. Virtual School practitioners will work with teachers and social workers, and deliver a wide range of training. The voice of each individual young person will continue to be at the heart of the Virtual School’s practice going forward, as the council expand the service to meet the needs of the city. As well as monitoring the cohort as a whole, the Virtual School will enhance its monitoring of individual attendance, attainment, and progress of all children in care, and provide advice and support to social workers and teachers.

Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for the economy and education, said: “Improving outcomes for children and young people is our number one priority and we aim to provide the best opportunities for every child in our city.

“The Virtual School has been supporting the education of our children in care across the city since 2014. During that time, we seen some major changes to the demographics of the city and the number of children in our care has increased. We are passionate about supporting children in care and helping exceed their educational potential, and for this reason we invited the National Association of Virtual School Heads (NAVSH) to advise us on how our Virtual School should respond to this changing landscape. Using their recommendations, our Virtual School Governing Body have developed a plan for how the service will develop and evolve in the spring and summer terms of 2022. By redesigning our Virtual School service, we are making sure and children and young people in care receive the best education possible.”

As part of the service redesign the city council is now recruiting for a number of new posts to work within the Virtual School. From practitioners to coordinators, the service will employ 17 full-time equivalent staff compared to the previous 3.4 full-time equivalent staff.

The council is looking for candidates with extensive experience of working with vulnerable young people, who have a good knowledge of the education system and curriculum requirements. People can view the roles available by visiting www.stoke.gov.uk/jobs and searching ‘Virtual School’, applications close November 7, 2021.

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people said: “Stoke-on-Trent is on the up and now more than ever is an exciting time to join children and family services within the local authority. Ensuring young people in care get support is vital. Our Virtual School team is growing, and we are looking to recruit committed, motivated and experienced professionals to make a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable young people in our city.”