“Aim to champion children! Professionals working with children and young people who are or who have been in care”
When we talk about a school, we assume a physical building that children attend. However, with Virtual Schools this is not the case. The building does not exist in real terms, but it is very much real.
Virtual Schools is made up of a collective of professional specialists who remain the responsibility of the school at which they are enrolled in and these schools are found throughout England.
Virtual Schools promote the progress and educational attainment of children and young people who are or have been in care, allowing them to achieve the same educational outcomes as their fellow peers.
In doing so this ensures that the pupils/students receive a high-quality education, the steppingstones to every child so that their life can improve and become more independent.
Sarah Howell, Assistant Head of North Kent said:
“I am passionate about equality of opportunity and provision, as well as the health and well-being of young people”.
One of the largest schools, is Virtual Schools Kent having over 1,000 children in the local authority care. Many of these children in the care of Kent are all equipped with Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP).
“We influence policy, promote individual achievement and wellbeing, provide advice, support and provide professional advice and guidance on education, training, and employment” said Carole Bailey Assistant Head of Virtual Schools South Kent.
Carole Bailey is a former Headteacher of King Ethelbert’s Secondary. She was in fact the first teacher to bring the school out of a negative OFSTED category and under her passion and guidance it was lifted to an OFSTED outstanding – the first secondary school in Kent to be given this award.
Mrs. Bailey says: “I have chosen throughout my career to work in schools in challenging circumstances and sought to provide opportunities to better life chances for disadvantaged young people”.
Virtual Schools exist for the championing of the children and who are looked after by the local authority. Some children have had traumatic experiences throughout their childhood throughout no fault of their own and have been brought into social care.
Under Mrs. Bailey’s supervision there is a team of specialised professionals such as Educational Support Officers, Fostering Educational Liaison Officers and Educational Welfare Officers.
“Virtual Schools support all children in care in the local area, that could be through individual advice, joint projects with other schools. Virtual Schools have a real expertise in that one specific area” Said Jacky Cador, SENCo at Portal House School.
Every child deserves the same chances and opportunities as their peers. With Virtual Schools put in place, it gives these children the support and guidance they need to have a happy and high-quality experience in schools all across England.