Redcar and Cleveland Virtual School
Redcar and Cleveland Virtual School clearly recognises its role as a corporate parent of children in our care within the Local Authority. As such the school will continually strive to champion children in our care education through:
- Continually monitoring and assessing their educational needs;
- Promoting their best interests within a school setting regarding academic attainment and pastoral wellbeing;
- Ensuring their voices and opinions are heard;
- Championing the provision of educational enrichment opportunities for them;
- Providing advice and support to schools and staff, both inside and outside the Local Authority, who support Redcar and Cleveland children in our care.
Our aim is based on the statutory requirements set out in the Department for Education guidance: promoting the education of looked -after and previously looked-after children; statutory guidance for local authorities; February 2018.
The Virtual School
The Virtual School is not a physical building that children and young people attend. The role of the Virtual School is to promote the educational achievement of children in the care of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and those previously in our care. We support schools and education settings so that they can support children in our care and children previously in our care to enjoy school, engage with it positively and achieve successful outcomes.
Legal definition of 'looked-after' children
Within Redcar and Cleveland, we talk about children in our care to recognise our role as corporate parent. The phrase children in our care relates to children who are known legally as 'looked-after'. Please see below an exert from The Children Act 1989 which defines this term:
The 1989 Act places an obligation on local authorities to promote the educational achievement of Looked After Children. The authority must give particular attention to the educational implications of any decision about the welfare of a looked after child. (The duty to promote educational achievement does not apply to children receiving short breaks, as in those cases the responsibility rests with the parent (regulation 42). 'Looked after' is a legal term which applies to children who are in the care of the Local Authority (LA). There are two main types of looked after children:
- The child's parents may agree that the child goes into care or the child requests to go into care. This is often referred to a 'Section 20'.
- The child may be legally removed from their parents without the parents' consent. This is when the court has concluded that a child could be harmed if they stay at home. This is referred to as a 'Care Order or Section 31'.
The Local Authority has a statutory duty to look after the child – this includes ensuring they receive the best education possible. The Local Authority assumes the role of 'corporate parent'. This responsibility is held by every adult employed by the Local Authority including those who work in schools.
Children previously in our care (previously 'looked-after')
In line with Promoting the education of looked-after children and previously looked-after children, February 2018, previously looked-after children are classed as those who:
are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales (as defined by the Children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and Well- 2 An 'eligible' child is a child who is looked-after, aged 16 or 17 and has been looked after by a local authority for a period of 13 weeks or periods amounting in total to 13 weeks, which began after they reached 14 and ended after they reached 16. 7 being (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order;
were adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales. 'State care' is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society.
The duty applies to children who are in early years provision (secured by the local authority under section 7(1) of the Childcare Act 2006) and continues throughout the compulsory years of education where the child is in provision funded in part or in full by the state.
The role of the virtual school for young people previously in our care is to promote their educational achievement through the provision of information and advice to their parents and schools. Parents should feel free to contact the virtual school with requests for advice and guidance around a young person's education.
The virtual school works closely with Adoption Tees Valley (ATV) to help support parents of an adopted child. The contact number for the duty social worker for ATV is detailed below which is available for parents of adopted children to contact directly for advice and guidance.
For more information about the Redcar and Cleveland Virtual School, please contact us using the details below.
- Redcar and Cleveland Virtual School 01642 837705
- Adoption Tees Valley duty social worker 01287 526400