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Best practice in supporting Children Looked After (CLA) in Hertfordshire

Herts for Learning has been working with Hertfordshire County Councilís Virtual School for Children Looked After (CLA) to publish a series of case studies on best practice in supporting CLA in Hertfordshire.

The case studies for the Virtual School were written as a result of the Virtual School Headís annual audit of all schools in receipt of Pupil Premium Plus for children looked after by Hertfordshire. The case studies involve nine schools, three primary and six secondary, that have demonstrated success in raising both the profile and progress of Children Looked After. The case studies aim to capture the effective approaches and practice demonstrated in the schools visited and without exception, the chosen schools were ambitious for all of their Children Looked After.

Through the use of effective data analysis and intervention, these schools were able to make informed choices to maximise the impact of the Pupil Premium Plus grant. Whilst the schools were very aware of the needs of CLA, the provision and support clearly formed part of the schoolsí overarching drive for high standards and achievement for every pupil.


Ofsted Report: Pupils missing out on education - low aspirations, little access, limited achievement

Age group: 5 to 16 Published: November 2013 Reference no: 130048


Ofsted Report on the Impact of Virtual Schools on the Educational Progress of Looked after Children - October 2012

This report examines the impact of virtual schools established by local authorities to support and improve the educational achievement of looked after children. The report draws on evidence from cases and from the views of carers; children and young people; professionals, including local authority managers and social workers; and representatives from schools, colleges and the voluntary sector in nine local authorities.


The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers: Education Matters in Care

A report by the independent cross-party inquiry into the educational attainment of looked after children in England


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Archive - Research & News

Designated Teacher Conference 2013

Education Matters: Supporting the Learning Journey for Children Looked After

New Keynote Speaker: Dr Margot Sunderland

Dr Margot Sunderland is Director of Education and Training for The Centre for Child Mental Health London with has over thirty years experience of working with professionals, children and families. Dr Margot was previously a secondary teacher with over ten years experience of working with Children Looked After.

Dr Sunderland gave a speech which was entitled 'Setting Troubled Pupils to Learn'. This gave a research-based introduction to the key relational needs for secure attachment. This included a fascinating insight into the brain science which underpins this.

Designated Teacher Training Conference 2012

The fourth annual training conference for designated teacher's of Children Looked After took place on 17th October 2012. The presentations are available below:

Learn the Child: Helping Traumatised Children to Learn - Kate Cairns
Spending the Pupil Premium: Strategies to Improve Learning - Steve Higgins

For more information on the Sutton Trust Toolkit please use the following link:

The following presentation for the conference called 'Signposts for Success' was created in Prezi software. The files are contained in a zip file. Please follow the instructions to download the zip file and run the presentation. Please note that the zip file is very large and may take a while to download, depending on your network connection.

Children Looked After Shine at University - October 2012

2012 has been a very exciting year for our Children Looked After university students. Not only has the number of care leavers preparing to attend university increased but the number of students graduating has also increased. The Hertfordshire Virtual School has a total of 14 possible new starters into higher education this September.

This has shown that the change of government legislation regarding university fees has not deterred Hertfordshire care leavers aiming high.  They have also achieved above and beyond other local authorities. We have a total of 9 young people graduating this summer in subjects from Business Studies to Forensic Science from universities across the country.

For the first time we had two students who achieved a 1st class honours degree, both from the University of Hertfordshire.  Laura Soper and Camelia Borg have since gone onto securing full time employment. Laura works for a recruitment agency as an onsite account manager, whilst Camelia works for VOICE (Advocacy for children and young people in care) as a corporate fundraising intern. We also had three students graduating with an impressive 2:1 from Liverpool John Moores, University of Hertfordshire and Nottingham Trent University. Three other students achieved a 2:2 overall in various disciplines.  Another student passed her Adult Nursing Diploma from University of Bedfordshire and has been offered a job at Luton Hospital as a Nurse within the Gynaecology department.

Despite all the difficulties from their early life experiences they have managed to persevere and overcome many obstacles. We are very proud of all young people who have graduated or maintained their course at university this year.

We know that they have not just had to face the challenges of university but have continued to deal with experiences from their past that can resurface at anytime causing them a great deal of pain and disruption.

They have all worked extremely hard to get to where they are today and proven that in the face of great adversity, it is still possible to succeed.

They are an inspiration to other young people in care, care leavers and the professionals who work with this group of vulnerable young people.

Hertfordshire’s Virtual School for Children Looked After has Five Young People as Olympic Ambassadors

Children from the Virtual School are all in the care of the local authority. The role of the Virtual School is to support and track the education of young people in their real schools to ensure they meet their true potential. However, like a real school the Virtual School organises different events to allow young people to meet together and their bi-annual magazine ‘Herts and Minds’ included a poster asking for young people to apply to become Olympic Ambassadors for the Virtual School. It was a difficult choice to select the final five to be part of our year long Olympic Project.

I am writing as I would love to become an Olympic Ambassador for the Virtual School for the London 2012 Games. I believe the games will bring long- lasting benefits to Herts, London and Great Britain, not just in the sporting field but socially and in the tourist industry.
Rahmat Khan – Year 12.

I am a 100m sprinter and high jumper and I have won district awards and gold and silver medals for this. I am part of the Ridlins Athletics Club in Stevenage and I attend every week to train.

I have a keen interest in sport and I would like the opportunity to be part of the Virtual School Olympic group to see where the athletes train, the stadiums they will compete in and the motivation they have to take their talents to be part of Team GB.
Dolapo Sarumi – Year 11

Since being recruited in the summer the ambassadors formed a focus group to promote the benefits of the Olympics to young people; to keep them updated about what is happening in Herts and to gather their opinions on the Olympics. Theyhave met and been on an Olympic Park tour with the Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners team and also had lunch with Richard Roberts, Executive Member for Children’s Services. The ambassadors also plan to organise an Olympic style sports day for younger children from the Virtual School so that they can enjoy a fun day of different sports before the games begin.

Designated Teacher Training Conference - 18th October 2011 -'Concerning Children'

The title for the 2011 conference was 'Concerning Children', and, as a training conference, it outlined positive ways of supporting children in school who have had traumatising pre-care experiences as well as support for the complex role of Designated Teacher.  There was a range of interactive workshops and talks from leading professionals.

Marcus Orlovsky was the keynote speaker and is a founder member and director of Bryanston Square.  Bryanston Square offers a wide range of products and services for schools and local authorities focused on rethinking how learning should be structured, delivered and measured, and where it should take place.

Deborah Bone was the second keynote speaker.  Deborah is Lead Clinician and Manager for Step2, winner of the national Nursing Standard Mental Health Award 2011.  Deborah has also created an innovative training and therapy resource called Brain Box that increases understanding about mental well-being.

"Seeing how neuro-pathways become disconnected at times of heightened emotional state enables a better understanding of the brain and how to re-engage with the thinking clever part of the brain."

Workshops on children who self harm, PEPs, Preparing for Ofsted and Managing Transition were held throughout the day.

The Second Annual Day Conference for Primary & Secondary Designated Teachers for Children Looked After

Download Presentation for the 2010 Conference:

Hertfordshire Stability Project Report - Barbara Fletcher 2010

The stability project arose from scrutiny by the Corporate Parenting Panel (in XX) of data on the educational outcomes of Hertfordshire’s looked after young people at KS4, and in particular the impact of different types of change on their educational progress and achievements.

SSE Staff Conference 7th January 2011

Download Powerpoint for the SSE Staff Conference:

Download Case Study from the SSE Staff Conference:

Enriching Education for Children in Care - Conference Report 2002

This is the report of the conference ‘Enriching the Education of Children in Care – Resilience, Potential and Attainment’, held by Hertfordshire Children, Schools & Families (CSF) on Friday, 8th November 2002 at the Fielder Centre, Hatfield.