Statutory Guidance requires local authorities to appoint a Virtual School Head whose purpose is to ensure the local authority fulfils its statutory duty to promote the education of looked-after children and previously looked-after children. Looked after children are those who are in the care of the local authority, previously looked after children are children who have previously been in care but are now adopted or placed on a Special Guardianship Order, care leavers are young people aged between 18 and 25 who have left care but continue to receive support from the local authority.
The Virtual School Head in Islington manages a service called the Virtual School. The aim of the service is to ensure that the local authority effectively carries it duties in accordance with statutory guidance.
The key functions of the Virtual School are to:
- Monitor and promote the educational progress and achievement of looked-after Children and care leavers
- Ensure that Personal Education Plans are current, relevant and effective
- Promote and advise and on the use of the Pupil Premium Plus Grant
- Support schools and Designated Teachers to develop effective strategies and support for looked-after children and previously looked-after children
- Provide advice and guidance for social workers, parents and carers on issues relating to the education employment and training of looked-after children, previously looked-after children and care leavers
- Commission or fund additional resources to support education of looked-after children and care leavers
- Develop and implement programmes and activities to support the education and learning of looked-after children and care leavers
- Provide information, advice and guidance to looked-after children and care leavers about education, employment and training