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Virtual School extend the support by championing the education attendance, attainment and progress of children with a social worker or previously had a social worker. The Elevate project's overall aim is to help produce better educational outcomes, and enhanced personal and social development, so that these children have better life chances.

 

On this page:

  1. Vision
  2. Objectives
  3. Understanding the barriers
  4. Our Support
  5. Useful links

Vision

At Virtual School, we aim to enable children with a care worker or previously had a care worker to overcome any barrier and become confident individuals, effective communicators, successful and responsible citizens and to achieve the educational and life outcomes that they deserve. Our commitment is to provide a toolkit to educational settings to promote and create a high quality, inclusive and broad range of educational and social opportunities for these children and support in all Blackpool schools.  We aim big.

Objectives

We understand that, although we can't work with individual children, we can make a difference by providing support and opportunities that can be used by educational settings and social workers. Our 3 main focuses shape how our support is formed. These are:

  1. Make visible to educators the disadvantages children with a social worker experience
  2. Promote Practices that support children’s engagement in education
  3. Improve outcomes and narrowing the attainment gap so every child can achieve their potential

Understanding the barriers

The Review of Children in need from the DfE showed children in need, on average have poorer outcomes at every stage of education than their peers. They start behind other children in the early years and have a widening attainment gap throughout school. They are also more likely than other children not to be in education, employment or training (NEET) after age 18. Key findings include:

  • Children who have needed a social worker have poorer educational outcomes at every stage of education than those who have not, and taking account of other factors associated with attainment, are up to 50% less likely to achieve a strong pass in English and maths GCSEs
  • Children who are living at home with family on a child in need or child protection plan are just as likely to do poorly in education as looked after children
  • Beyond school, those who had needed a social worker in the year of GCSEs are less likely to enter higher education at age 18 and by age 21, half of these young people have still not achieved level 2 qualifications (GCSE or equivalent)

Our support

  1. Trauma informed training
  2. Together Programme
  3. Alternative Provision Funding
  4. Back On Track
  5. Vulnerable pupils information

Trauma informed training

Due to the increasing recognition of the prevalence and impact of trauma, Blackpool Council have created an opportunity for schools to become trauma informed. A team with a varied background have developed training that is offered in various tiers through staff CPD sessions. 

Through participating in this training, staff will be equipped with new knowledge and skills which enable them to apply trauma and attachment aware strategies in school. For further information on the training, please email virtual.school@blackpool.gov.uk

 

Together programme

The programme offers a range of workshops led in schools as an extra-curricular club for both a child and their significant adult. The range of options schools may currently want to be involved with are:

  • KS1 Reading Together
  • KS2 Getting Active Together
  • KS2/3 Cooking Together

Further clubs will available in the near future. 

Each workshop has a learning focus in which the child and adult work together to develop academic, social and relationship skills as well as sharing enjoyment through specific hands on learning experiences. The aim is to improve family's engagement into school learning The Virtual School are committed to supporting schools to deliver these programmes by providing session plans, resources and/or funding towards the running of the club. For further information or to apply for one of the Together offers please email virtual.school@blackpool.gov.uk

Alternative provision funding 

As part of our efforts to support schools to reduce the risk of NEET for children with a social worker or previously had a social worker, we are offering all Blackpool secondary schools part funding for vocational alternative provisions. Schools can choose places from: 

  • Construction
  • Hair and beauty
  • Cooking

These places are available on Thursdays and Fridays for year 10 pupils starting in September 2022 lasting throughout the full academic year. For further information about this funding email virtual.school@blackpool.go.uk

Back on track

Back on Track’ is for young people who have been identified as being on the edge of exclusion from mainstream education. The aim of ‘Back on Track’ is to have a collaborative approach so that everyone involved in a young person’s life, works together so that the young person can remain in mainstream education. Support is given to the young person so that they understand how they can increase their resilience. It complements the whole school approach to resilience.

Virtual School are committed to fully funding places for those children who have or have had a social worker to support their engagement into education. Application forms can be found on the Blackpool PSHE website. Alternatively contact virtual.school@blackpool.gov.uk for further information about this unique offer.

Vulnerable pupils information

Virtual school are committed to keep schools up to date with which pupils currently receive support from children's social services. Each half term school's DSLs will receive and email with information regarding pupils current support and who their allocated worker is.

If you would also like to be included in these emails, please message virtual.school@blackpool.gov.uk stating your school and the position you hold that setting.

Useful links

Blackpool PSHE website - Latest information about local training courses for schools.

The Platform - The Platform is a new service for 16 to 24 year olds to help them find a job, access training or education.

FYI Directory - Website designed to help you find local support services in the Blackpool area.

SEN Graduated approach - Webpages that provide support and resources to aid the process of meeting the individual needs of all children and young people with special educational needs. 

Safe 4 me - The website provides educators, service providers and parents with information and resources to help educate, guide and support children and young people to keeping safe.