North Yorkshire Virtual School – Learning Homes and Caring Schools

Welcome to our webpages where we hope you will find all the information you require but should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

virtual school logoWhat is a Virtual School?

The Virtual School consists of all the Children in Care and Care Leavers of North Yorkshire, whether they are placed in a North Yorkshire setting or elsewhere in the country. It is not a teaching institution but 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. The Virtual School also provides advice and information for care experienced young people.

What are Learning Homes and Caring Schools?

The Education of and Care of Looked After Children is symbiotic. The child is core to our thinking and must remain central to both education and care systems. It is important that we work together as a team supporting the child and think creatively, valuing quality relationships and contributions equally of all members of the team. ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ (Aristotle).

The Virtual School works on a value system of empowerment, collaboration and mutual respect. We work most effectively when we have an understanding of each other.

A learning home is where parents/guardians, foster carers, residential home carers and social workers understand how to use their relationships to support a child with their learning. A caring school is where quality relationships are recognised and where teaching staff understand how to support a child who may have Adverse Childhood Experiences in a nurturing, trauma responsive way.

It takes a village to raise a child (Traditional African Proverb).

Learning Homes and Caring Schools is the thread woven through all that Virtual School do. It is the aim of all training and support to encourage this approach.

What we do

The duty of the Virtual School in North Yorkshire is to raise the educational achievement of our children, promote their emotional wellbeing and improve the life chances of a traditionally vulnerable group of young people. We strive to achieve this by providing support within schools and colleges to ensure the children we care for have the opportunity to make the most of their education.

In addition to our work in schools and colleges, we work with the wider Children & Families Service, as well as external organisations, to provide our children in care with all the opportunities and experiences outside of school that we would want for our own children. At the very heart of the Virtual School is the belief that children who enter care, most likely through no fault of their own, should not be detrimentally affected by their experiences but be empowered to achieve their goals and ambitions.

We are a team of highly experienced and dedicated professionals who work to achieve our aims by:

  • Providing direct, educational support to children in care at school when appropriate;
  • Ensuring the educational needs of children in care are well understood through ensuring children have an up-to-date detailed and high quality Personal Education Plan (PEP) using the North Yorkshire ePEP Platform;
  • Ensuring Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) are identified and supported appropriately;
  • Ensuring that the emotional, mental and physical health needs of children in care are understood and supported;
  • Providing training to schools to enable them to better support the varying needs of our Looked After Children across all phases of education;
  • Monitoring the attendance and behaviour of Looked After Children in the educational environment and providing support where needed;
  • Supporting children attending Out of County Schools to ensure that they are receiving a level of education that we would expect for our own children;
  • Working with designated teachers and social workers to support admissions to schools and transitions from one school to another;
  • Supporting children in receipt of part-time provision into full-time provision by supporting the young people’s underlying needs;
  • Working with schools and other settings to reduce exclusions, including preventing children from being permanently excluded from schools;
  • Leading projects and initiatives to give children in our care opportunities to develop themselves both personally and academically;
  • Raising the aspirations and encouraging ambition for children in our care.

Contacts:

Virtual School Head
Email: Julie.Bunn@northyorks.gov.uk
Tel: 01609 532169

Virtual School Team
Email: virtualschool@northyorks.gov.uk 
Tel: 01609 533231 

Virtual School Staff Contacts

Useful resources and further guidance

•    Virtual School Annual Report 2017-2018 (Added June 2020)
•    NYCC Guidance on Personal Education Plans  September 2017
•    NYCC Guidance on the Pupil Premium for Children and Young People in Care Sept 2017
•    NYCC Guidance on Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires
•    The NYCC Adopted Children’s Support Team
•    Services available to adopters in North Yorkshire

Useful weblinks