BARNET VIRTUAL SCHOOL
The Barnet Virtual School supports the education of all young people who are looked after by the borough of Barnet and all those who have been previously looked after up to the age of 25. Visit the Barnet Virtual School website to learn more about how they help to support looked after children and young people in Barnet, as well as some useful information and resources.
Virtual Schools are not teaching institutions in the traditional sense – there is no building and children do not attend. Rather they act as local authority champions to promote the progress and educational attainment of children and young people who are or who have been looked after (also known as in care) so that they achieve the best educational outcomes possible. Ensuring that these young receive a high-quality education is the foundation for improving their lives.
What we do
Champion the educational needs of children and young people who are looked after by Barnet
Promote aspiration for educational achievement by demanding it is a priority within the lives of looked after young people to improve outcomes and life chances.
Ensure our children and young people have access to the best possible education and every chance to progress and realise their individual potential.
Monitor the educational progress of all Barnet young people in care whether they attend schools in or out of borough, as if they were attending a single school
Assess and review Personal Education Plans (PEPs) to raise attainment for those in care to Barnet - providing advice, guidance and support for intervention where this is needed.
Provide additional opportunities for out of school learning and leisure through enrichment activities.
We are keen to support schools and understand that sometimes situations can be challenging. For Designated Teachers (D.T.) in schools, it is sometimes hard to know where to get support. As well as being at the end of a phone, we offer ‘New to Designated Teacher training’ as well as termly network sessions for D.T.s and a regular newsletter. Whether you are in borough, or in one of our many schools far away from Barnet, we are very keen to see you at training and you will be given a warm welcome, information and support. We encourage D.T.s to get in touch with us at the earliest sign of any difficulties so we can work together to minimise exclusions. We can also organise training for schools to support the education of looked after children.
We provide support and training for our Foster Carers too and urge them to get in touch for advice if they need any help with understanding the school system or with regard to their young person’s educational progress. We have specific interventions and training for Foster Carers which we encourage them to attend.
We have close working relationships with Social Workers and are here to inform on any educational matters. Our Social Workers contact us as soon as a young person comes into care so that we can minimise the time out of education and ensure a high quality, well-matched school is in place. We work together with Social Workers to minimise moving schools and disrupting education as far as we possibly can.
Lastly, and most importantly, our young people. As well as supporting and championing the education of all our young people who are looked after, we provide a range of enrichment activities in a variety of areas. We also have two dedicated Post 16 caseworkers who are there to offer support and advice on the next steps after school.
From September 2021 to August 2022, the responsibilities of the Virtual School have extended to all children with a social worker in an strategic and advisory capacity only.
As a Designated Teacher, you play a key role and can really make a difference to young people in care. Click the link to learn how you can best support children and young people in care.
The Barnet Virtual School has created resources about the British Education System for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children arriving in the UK. The resources are available in five languages: English, Arabic, Dari, Kurdish, and Pashto.
100% OF USERS SATISFIED WITH VIRTUAL SCHOOL SERVICE
October 2021 Satisfaction Survey