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Hertfordshire Virtual School logoThe Virtual School Team

The Hertfordshire Virtual School is a way of bringing together the information about children and young people who are looked after as if they were in a single school so that their progress can be closely tracked and supported and intervention can be targeted in a more strategic way.

Our work is focused on achievement for children and young people looked after (CLA) in the primary, secondary and special sectors as well as with care leavers.

Our team of education advisors and education support workers offer an extensive support to schools working through the statutory designated teacher for children looked after.  The range of support offered can be for individual staff members and children or whole staff groups including school governors and cluster groups of schools.  We can provide consultancy, training and bespoke support on all aspects of the implementation of the statutory guidance on the education of children in care.  This includes advice and guidance on the special and additional educational needs of children in the care system as well as intervention and support to enable vulnerable children to remain on track.

Our practice is informed by our comprehensive experience working with this very vulnerable group of children and alongside partner agencies in social care and health.  The Virtual School team have an in-depth understanding of national guidance and statutory requirements, current research and best practice in schools and other local authorities. 

We focus on promoting high aspirations and excellent outcomes for pupils through high quality joint planning that aims to support the child and the school to achieve better outcomes.

We also work with school leaders and governors to:

  • ensure that the school is able to fully implement the statutory guidance on the role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for children looked after
  • make full use of the additional funding available for children looked after to support better progress for them
  • work together better with partner agencies
  • extend principles used to support this vulnerable group to wider categories of children who need focused support
  • evaluate and analyse strengths and areas for improvement through a bespoke self assessment that is particularly valuable when preparing for inspection.

What can we offer?

  • a comprehensive training package
  • information and guidance
  • extensive expertise and practical solutions
  • additional support in school.

We can :

  • support the inclusion and induction of very vulnerable children in school
  • support the CPD of teaching and support staff to enable better management systems for the social and emotional impact on learning of pre-care experience
  • set up effective systems and processes that  focus on pupil progress, so that the attainment gap  between vulnerable learners and all learners is narrowed
  • provide support networks and focused development meetings for designated teachers
  • support pupil progress through  enabling better collaboration, providing information and training for the team around the child, by planning and monitoring  progress towards targets and by providing direct support to children
  • develop confidence in working within a professional network of partner agencies to achieve the best possible outcomes for very vulnerable children.
If you would like any further information on the Virtual School please contact:

Felicity Evans, Head of Achievement for Children Looked After on 01992 555926.

Promoting Achievement for Children in our Care

  • children looked after studying Children in care perform less well academically than any other group of children. Therefore, improving outcomes for children in care is a vital priority
  • There are around 60,000 children in care in England at any one time although it is a rapidly changing group as they move in and out of care.  Hertfordshire has 1000 with 680 of school age
  • These children are taken into care for their own protection but once in care many do not receive a quality learning experience
  • The gap between these children and all other children is wide. In 2007/8 70% of all children achieved 5A*-C but only 7% CLA achieved the same level
  • The current levels of attainment can be transformed by rigorous tracking and intervention where necessary, personalised support and one to one tuition
  • Research reveals that the day to day support from a teacher continues to be the key determinant of success
  • Designated teachers have a statutory role within each school and are responsible for developing and reviewing the education progress of the child and in partnership with others, helping them to achieve and enjoy.
The Virtual School - Priorities for 2015-16
The Virtual School - Leaflet 2016
The Virtual School - Contact Details 2016 in schools only
The Virtual School - Structure Chart 2016