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Who we are | About Birmingham Virtual School | Birmingham City Council

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Who we are

The role of the Virtual School Headteacher became a statutory role for local authorities across England at the direction of Edward Timpson the Children's Minister in 2013.

The role was created to champion the education of all children looked after within the local authority and to address the considerably lower educational performance of children in care compared to their peers.

Since that time, the development of the Virtual School (the headteacher and related staff) has grown and the model has been adopted in other countries such as Australia.

No two Virtual Schools are identical - the number of young people in care and the local authority context are variables that affect the number of staff employed and the roles they hold.

Breakdown of oles and responsibilities

Role

Brief summary of responsibilities

Virtual School Headteacher

Lisa Smith

The Virtual School Headteacher leads and manages the Virtual School Team.

Together with the team managers, she sets the strategic direction for the Virtual School on behalf of Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children's Trust: this includes the management of the Pupil Premium Plus grant, ensuring that it is used to effectively promote educational outcomes for looked after children

Virtual School Team Managers

Our Virtual School Team Managers ensure work undertaken by their teams is child focused, timely and leads to improved outcomes for our young people. They provide management and oversight for the team and each have strategic oversight of key areas of work which are as follows:

Team Manager 1 provides strategic direction on planning, resourcing, team delivery and evaluation of impact for our young people within the areas of Attachment, Trauma, Emotional Health, Well Being and SEND.

Team Manager 2 provides strategic direction on the planning, resourcing, team delivery and evaluation of impact for our young people aged 14 to 19.

Team Manager 3 provides strategic direction on the planning, resourcing, team delivery and evaluation of impact for our children from early years to the end of Key Stage 3.

Area Education Officers

Our Educations Officers work directly with schools to provide support and guidance in relation to improving educational outcomes for children in care.

This involves meeting with designated teachers, undertaking corporate parent visits, ensuring high quality education planning, supporting school self-evaluation in relation to outcomes for children in care, running network meetings and delivering training.

Education Support Advisors

Our advisors work with a class list of young people getting to know the child/young person in order to enable effective personalised education planning that will raise the aspiration and attainment each child in care.

This includes maintain and re-engage children and young people in suitable education placements; raising the aspiration and attainment of each LAC; prioritising their educational needs and working in partnership with relevant agencies to prioritise education.

From January 2021 - Virtual School Placement Officers

From January 2021 we will have school placement officers whose role will be to ensure every looked after child receives a high-quality education for children in care both in Birmingham and outside of Birmingham for all children in care.

They will support social care colleagues in applying for suitable school places at both normal and in-year admission rounds and source bespoke personalised education packages for any children in care without EHCP who cannot successfully access a full-time mainstream school place

They will also link with other LA SEND services for Birmingham's children in care with EHCP when requiring an education place outside of Birmingham.

From January 2021 - Virtual School Advisor for children with previous care experience

From January 2021 we will have a Virtual School Advisor who will actively develop/provide advice and guidance and signposting on education to support children, young people and families who have had previous care experience.
Virtual School Development Officer for Arts, Culture, Sports and Therapeutic Services

From January 2021 we will have a Virtual School Development Officer for Arts, Culture, Sports and Therapeutic Services. Their role will be to develop Birmingham Virtual School's centralised offer for children in care in the areas of arts, music, sports, cultural capital and therapeutic services.

They will plan, coordinate, ensure delivery and evaluation of all the arts, cultural activities and sporting events/activities planned through the newly formed charity the West Midlands Virtual School CiC Foundation.