Virtual School Sheffield

We coordinate educational services for children in our care from 2 to 18 years old.

What the school is responsible for

We work with a young person’s educational establishment and social worker to ensure they are supported in fulfilling their potential at all stages of their education.

We want to give them the best opportunity to be successful in their adult lives.

Children in care attend different educational establishments across Sheffield and in other local authorities. The Virtual School monitors their attendance, attainment and achievement. We make sure their educational success is a priority in their care planning.

Ensuring effective and well planned transitions between the phases of early years, statutory schooling and post 16 is a key role for us.

All activity of the Virtual School is highlighted in our annual report.

How Personal Education Plans and Grants work

Children in care are set a termly Personal Education Plan (PEP). This will provide a record of attainment, progress and their educational needs.

Each child in care receives an additional Pupil Premium Plus Grant. This is administered by the head of the Virtual School. It is to support the targets or outcomes set out in their PEPs.

The PEP identifies how additional funding from the Pupil Premium Grant will be spent. It is to support positive outcomes for children in care and remove any barriers to their learning.

The Pupil Premium Policy outlines how the grant is distributed to schools. Schools can apply for additional pupil premium funding in addition to the fixed amount they receive each term per child placed with them. You can read a copy of the Pupil Premium Policy below.

If you are a Designated Teacher and would like to apply for additional pupil premium, please contact the Virtual School.

Termly PEP process

Every Child Looked After has a termly PEP meeting. This reviews the education and educational outcomes for our children. The process of the PEP will:

  • ensure that there is a termly PEP that is signed off at the end of each term
  • ensure that delegated staff (either Social Worker or Designated Teacher) are accountable for specific areas of the PEP (this will minimise questions around ‘who completes what’)
  • ensure the Virtual School can quality assure PEPs at the end of each school term, offering the opportunity to give support or guidance in terms of quality improvement

If you are a Designated Teacher or a Social Worker and require a copy of the Virtual School PEP process notes or would like any support, please contact us.

Post 16 support

The Virtual School continues to offer support and monitor progression within education, employment and training to young people who have left Year 11. We do this by working with colleagues from social care and providers who deliver the education and training to our young people.

The PEP remains a legal process until 18 years of age, although we remain available throughout Year 13.

Through the PEP process, we promote discussion and actions focused on better outcomes in:

  • welfare
  • engagement
  • attainment
  • SEND support
  • progression within the setting

For those young people who are not in employment, education or training, we work to secure targeted support from a named worker appropriate to the young person’s needs.

You can find out more in the Post 16 Virtual School offer document or contact us for support around it.

Support available for Designated Teachers, Foster Carers and Social Workers

What help you can expect from the Virtual School:

  • responses to email enquiries within 24 hours (on weekdays)
  • a named advocate for each child in care  
  • access to regular training
  • language support for foreign language students (English as an Additional Language)
  • specialist support for complex cases around SEND, Education Psychology, School Admissions and Emotional Health and Wellbeing

If you’re concerned about a child in care's progress at school, or the amount of support they are receiving, please get in touch.

Training with the Virtual School

We offer training to support:

  • Designated Teachers
  • Social Workers
  • Foster Carers
  • Residential Home staff
  • Independent Reviewing Officers
  • School Governors

This is around their role with the Virtual School and to support education.

We have a range of available sessions, including:

  • The Role of the Designated Teacher
  • The Role of the Foster Carer in Education
  • The Role of the Residential Home in Education

All training sessions are held via a conference call.

Please contact us for a copy of our training brochure. Alternatively, get in touch with us if you require any bespoke training to support

  • whole school events
  • staff meetings
  • group sessions for staff in your residential home
  • attendance during your social worker
  • IRO team meetings

E-Learning: AC Education

AC Education create engaging, interactive online courses for educators. It has over 12 years' experience providing training to education and children's social care. AC Education brings this knowledge to help teachers support vulnerable and traumatised children. 

Our Designated Teachers are able to access an initial e-learning module around the Role of the Designated Teacher. If you are new to the role, you will be enrolled to this module by the Virtual School. 

Other modules are available for Designated Teachers that may support your role or help to support your Sheffield Children Looked After. Please get in touch with us for further details.

Attend training sessions or volunteer with the Virtual School

Email if you would like to book onto our training or find out more about the personal education plan or services we can provide.

Our email is for general enquiries. Please do not send any case sensitive information.

Alongside our professional staff, the Virtual School is also supported by volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with the School, you can read more on our volunteering page.

Children from other authorities

The Virtual School isn’t legally responsible for other local authority children in care placed in Sheffield. We are committed, however, to supporting professionals from other local authorities who are experiencing issues with any of their children who are placed in Sheffield.

Contact the Virtual School

0114 20 37790
9am to 4.45pm Monday to Friday in term time
Floor 4, North Wing
Moorfoot Building
S1 4PL

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