Usha Singh, virtual headteacher presented her annual report to the committee with contributions from her colleagues Nicole Blake and Andrew Marling.
Key points from the presentation:
· Collaboration with care colleagues to ensure children accessing education
· Reference to the Department of Education expanding the role to cover all children with a social worker with regard to attendance. Staff were working hard to address attendance and remains a priority
· Southwark’s favourable position in respect of education, employment and training (EET) and not in education, employment and training (NEET). Neighbouring boroughs have sought advice from Southwark so they can learn from this best practice in respect of preventative and early intervention work. Example quoted of dedicated advice officers meeting with year 11 students after GCSEs, with a contingency plan if results not quite what expected for progressing to the next stage
· Focus on A level students, including targeted tuition and workshops and bringing back care leavers to benefit from their learned experience
· Concentration and effort on those children missing education, focusing on early intervention and effective use of the pupil premium, looking at underlying issues. Weekly monitoring of progress.
Summary of discussion arising from presentation:
· Acknowledgment on the focus on transition points for children and young people
· Query relating to support around looking for accommodation off university campus, guarantor and other finance issues that may negatively impact looked after children/young people
· Negotiation out of borough placements for special education needs and disabilities (SEND)
· Usha Singh referenced the proposal to extend the role of the virtual school to 25, which would address some of the issues discussed relating to support/guidance, although issue of how to fund still remains for this proposal
· Use of electronic personal education plan which is a live document and updated/actioned quickly. If a child is excluded, staff will be aware on the day and can take relevant action
· Query on out of borough special educational needs (SEN) process and issues arising (shortages and academies cannot be required to take placement of looked after children).
1. That the virtual headteacher’s report for Southwark looked after children be noted.
2. That Usha Singh, virtual headteacher draft a SEND and exclusions paper outlining further detail and issues.