What is a child with a social worker?

We will work with any family/child who has a social worker- e.g on a CIN or CP plan or has had a social worker in the past 6 years.

What are the expectations of the Virtual School for children with a social worker?

We can provide advice and guidance to schools, police, youth offending services, our Family and Adolescent Support Service (FaASS) and social workers.

What kind of advice and guidance does the Virtual School offer?

We can advise about attendance issues, suspensions, contextual safeguarding concerns, safe mapping of education placements and anything else to do with education outcomes for children with a social worker.

What if a child has SEN and is known to social care?

We will work to support any child with a social worker from the age of 0-18 inclusive of those known to SEN services or with an EHCP. This includes children registered as Electively Home Educated (EHE).

Can families refer to the Virtual School for support?

Any family with a social worker wanting advice and guidance about education support can reach out to the Virtual School.

Does the Virtual School attend meetings for children and families?

Most of our work is done outside of professional meetings but we can attend professional forums to provide advice and guidance. Our work is not case based.

Do you work with all children with a social worker who attend school in Greenwich?

We work with any child with a social worker who lives in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. If a child lives in a different borough but attends a Greenwich school their home local authority will provide the same oversite through their Virtual School.

What if a child was known to social care in another borough but now lives in Greenwich?

If a child was known to social care in the past 6 years outside of Greenwich we would support them as if they had been known to social care in Greenwich.

Do you work with all schools in the borough?

Yes. We work with mainstream primary and secondary schools, SEN schools, Alternative Provisions, Independent schools and with children registered as EHE.

How long is a child with a social worker supported by the Virtual School?

We do not work on a case by case basis but we understand that advice and guidance can come in many shapes and forms. It may be the case that ongoing support will be needed as children navigate through their education journey. We will provide advice and guidance at all stages of a child’s learning.

Do children with a social worker receive additional funding through the Virtual School?

No. We provide advice and guidance only.

How do I find a child a school place?

Greenwich admissions department prioritise the admission to school of all children in care. Greenwich’s In Year Fair Access Panel facilitates the prioritisation of children in care in cases where a school needs to admit over numbers. We support the admission process through working with social workers and foster carers to secure education provision outside of Greenwich.

Who do I speak to at the school if I have a concern?

Each school has a statutory obligation to have a designated teacher for children in care who should be the first contact point. They may however delegate the responsibility to a head of year who would know the student better. If there are any difficulties contact the head teacher so they can assist and guide you.

How can a child or young person be supported to do well in education?

  • Education progress is monitored
  • Attendance is above 92%
  • They arrive at school on time
  • They have appropriate targeted support, if required
  • Is supported with homework
  • Has access to resources and opportunities

When can I take my child on holiday?

Holidays should only be taken during school holidays periods.

Why shouldn’t a child go on holiday in term time?

It has been proven that children who miss a lot of school do less well in their education. Even one day off can be disruptive, and that term-time holidays can have a lasting impact on learning.

What is an exclusion?

An exclusion occurs when the head teacher has decided that as a result of a child’s behaviour they can no longer attend the school either permanently or for a specified period of time (suspension). The exclusion has to be in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy and national guidance on exclusion. In September 2022 the Department for Education published updated guidance around school suspensions and exclusions. This document is available here.

Please click here for the Royal Greenwich Exclusion Policy 2022-23.

In most cases exclusions should be used as a last resort and schools should be able to show that they have put in a number of measures in place to support the child’s needs. A school can only permanently exclude:

  • in response to serious breaches of the school’s behaviour policy; and
  • if allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school

If you are concerned that a child is at risk of exclusion, or the school have not put any strategies in place, contact Greenwich Virtual School.

Why are out of school activities important?

Out of School hours learning offers young people the time to ‘find out more’, to build up knowledge, and to review, reinforce and practise skills.

Extension clubs that focus on homework and revision for particular subject areas have been shown to be highly effective in improving classroom performance.

Young people and children participating in informal enriching activities did better than expected in their GCSEs, by an average of three and a half grades, or by one or more A-C pass. They also had a better attendance and improved attitudes to school than those who did not attend additional activities.

Taken from: “Taking part – Making out of school hours learning happen for children in care.”

Who are designated teachers?

It is a statutory requirement for each school to have a teacher with responsibility to make sure children in care within the school are supported. The designated teacher in the school must hold a complete list of children in care and have oversight of their progress in school. Greenwich Virtual School maintains an up to date list of designated teachers in schools across the country wherever our children and young people are educated. Training are provided for Designated Teachers frequently.

What is the role of a school designated CiC Governor?

Each school should have a designated Governor for children in care. Governor Guidance in regards to the role of the school and designated teacher for children in care is available from the DfE website.

What is a PEP or a personal education plan (PEP)?

Every child in care must have a current personal education plan which states the specific educational targets for the individual. The social worker is responsible to initiate the PEP working in partnership with the designated teacher.

Is the child/young person expected to attend a PEP meeting?

Yes. They should be supported by a member of the school staff to complete the ‘Child/Young Person’ section of the PEP before the meeting and supported to discuss at the meeting.

At what age do children require a PEP?

All children of statutory school-age are required to have a PEP as part of their Care Plan. Regardless of whether or not they are attending school.

Younger children who attend nurseries and young people in education aged 16 and over should also have a PEP. The purpose of the PEP is to promote and acknowledge progress, this is relevant at all stages from Nursery to University.

What is Welfare call?

We commission Welfare Call, a telephone attendance tracking service to contact all educational provisions every day and report back to us on our children and young people’s attendance and attainment.

My child has an EHCP – what is it?

Some children have a statement of special educational needs (SEN), if they have been assessed by the local authority as having persistent and complex needs (through the statutory assessment process). An EHCP sets out the child’s needs and the support they should have in school. It is reviewed annually (at the annual review) to ensure that any extra support given continues to meet the child’s needs.

  • Year 5 Summer Term Secondary school should be discussed at annual review
  • During Year 9 the annual review is a transition review where future career opportunities are discussed and considered

A school, a parent, or a social worker can request formal assessment.

For our child with an EHCP, any changes in school placement must be managed by the SEN department in the LA where the child lives.

Guidance on this process can be sought from Greenwich Virtual School 020 8921 5029

What is the difference between a Section 20 and a Section 31 of the children Act 1989?

‘Children in care’ (LAC) means children in public care, who are placed with foster carers, in residential homes or with parents or other relatives.

Children (under 18) may be ‘looked after’ by local authorities (e.g Royal Borough of Greenwich) under a number of legal arrangements:

Children in care subject to some form of legal order:

  • All children who are subject to a care order (Children Act 1989, section 31), interim care order (Children Act 1989, section 38) or emergency protection order (Children Act 1989, section 44) where the local authority has parental responsibility for that child
  • Children under a (criminal law) supervision order with a residence need to live in local authority accommodation
  • Children who have appeared in court and have been bailed to reside where the local authority directs – and are being provided with a local authority funded placement
  • Children who are remanded to the local authority where release on bail has not been granted
  • Children under a court ordered secure remand and held in council accommodation
  • Children who are subject to a secure accommodation order where the local authority is funding the cost of the secure placement. They are not looked after if the young person is in secure accommodation due to their offending, and the cost of the placement is funded by the Home Office

Accommodated children:

  • Children accommodated under the Children Act 1989
  • Children in a placement that is either directly provided by the local authority or by an approved agency on behalf of the local authority

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children:

Following LAC (2003) 13 Guidance and the Hillingdon Judgement there is a clear legal need to respond to unaccompanied asylum seeking children as ‘children in care’ under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

In which local authority is my child’s school?

Follow link to Direct Gov website: Find the local authority

How can I meet other Foster Carers?

See our Fostering page.

What are the Virtual School’s statutory duties towards previously looked after children?

Virtual Schools have a statutory duty (from September 2018) to provide advice, guidance and information to schools, parents and a range of professionals around improving the educational outcomes of children previously looked after. They are not corporate parents for this group of children.

Do we use a PEP for students when they are no longer LAC?

The Virtual School would consider it best practice to use the Education Plan for Previously Looked After Children.

What is the EPAC and when should it be used?

The education plan for previously looked after children is not statutory but the Virtual School would strongly recommend it as an effective way of providing a clear structure and plan around the child. It can be used as soon as the child has an Adoption or Special Guardianship Order. School staff should seek parental permission to use the EPAC, and work with parents/guardians to complete it. The Virtual School recommends that the EPAC is used at a point of transition, a move to a new class or school, or at a time of difficulty. As with a PEP it will need to be reviewed termly; however it is acceptable to review less frequently if all parties are in agreement.

Do we send the education plan for previously looked after children to the Virtual School when it is completed?

Please circulate the document as agreed in the education plan for previously looked after children meeting. Do not send to the Virtual School.

What is the purpose of Pupil Premium?

The DfE takes the view that many care experienced children from the groups described above will have experienced grief and loss and will have had traumatic experiences in their early lives. The majority of these children entered care due to abuse or neglect. Their needs do not change overnight and they do not stop being vulnerable just because they are in a loving home. Their early life experiences will have a lasting effect emotionally, socially and academically. The purpose of the Pupil Premium is to raise educational attainment and close the gap between Post LAC students and their peers.

What are the conditions of Pupil Premium Grant?

Please refer to this document

When does Pupil Premium funding start and finish?

Any child attending school from the start of Reception Year to the end of Year 11 is eligible to receive Post LAC PP. Children who are electively home educated or are post-16 students are currently not eligible for Post LAC PP. To be eligible, a child needs to have been previously in care at some point in England or Wales, and once they have left care, they would need to have been either adopted, subject to a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) or Child Arrangements Order (CAO). Children who return home to live with their parents or relatives (outside these 3 categories) do not qualify for post LAC premium.

Can we use the Pupil Premium for providing school uniform?

It is expected that a parent would provide school uniform for their child. If the family is experiencing financial difficulties and are unable to provide a school uniform for their child then they should seek advice from their child’s school.

Should our Post – LAC students be entitled to Free School Meals?

Parents/ Guardians can check if they meet the criteria for receiving Free School Meals by using this link.

Do schools have to tell parents what they spend the Pupil Premium funding on?

The DFE consider it to be good practice for schools to work in partnership with parents, and to have transparent processes in place. The use of the EPAC will support the evidence for the decisions taken around Pupil Premium funding. Is it ok to buy equipment so that all the children in the school benefit from it? As long as you have identified how the child will benefit from the equipment purchase this is acceptable. However please be fair in your assessment of how much of their funding is to be used. Use of the EPAC will support you in making these decisions.

Can we use the Pupil Premium funding for the child to join out of school clubs?

As long as you can identify how this benefit the child’s academic progress and attainment. Having a meeting with your child’s school will support you in making these decisions.

What school types attract the Pupil Premium funding for children who are Post LAC?

All state funded education providers may claim the pupil premium for children adopted from care and for children who have left care under a special guardianship order or child arrangements order (formally known as a residence order). This includes children in alternative provision such as an independent provision, or an education centre