Partnership with Islington Virtual SchoolPartnership with the Virtual School for Children who are Looked After
Since 2014 Newington Green has been working in partnership with the Islington Virtual School for Children who are Looked After. Looked After means children who are not cared for by their parents, but by the local authority, usually through foster care.
Virtual schools were created to ensure that the attainment and progress gap between Looked After Children and other pupils is closed, so that these children have an equal chance thrive in life.
In Islington our Virtual School has its own Headteacher, teachers and support staff. The children who are in the ‘Virtual’ School are actually schooled in many different settings and schools, in and out of the Islington area. The job of the Virtual School is to promote good educational outcomes for these pupils by setting targets with their school, providing additional support for specific targeted programmes such as maths catch up, and supporting attendance at school.
Abi, our Headteacher, will sit on Islington’s Corporate Parenting Board, which strategically oversees outcomes for all Islington young people who are cared for by the local authority. Abi is also the Chair of the Education Strategy Group, which in effect is the ‘Governance and Challenge’ role to the Virtual School.
In 2015 outcomes for children who were Looked After in Islington significantly improved, across all measures. In particular, combined L4 (L4 in reading, maths and writing) was 80% for Looked After pupils, which was in line with the national average for all pupils.
Abi, Mairead and Helen are working with the Headteacher and staff of the Virtual School to promote its work to a wider audience, and to help the Virtual School improve aspects of its work in partnership with the schools and settings where young people are educated.
Newington Green will be hosting CPD for Virtual School staff where recent changes in education; curriculum and assessment for example, are relevant to their work.
Newington Green has taken on this support work because the staff and governors are passionately committed to improving the life chances of Children who are Looked After. We have experience of Children who are Looked After in our school, and have a strong track record in supporting these pupils, both pastorally and educationally. Our senior staff also have backgrounds as foster carers and work in social care, which will help us understand this work from another perspective.