Vulnerable Children Education Team (VCET)

The East Riding virtual school is also known as the Vulnerable Children Education Team (VCET). The primary responsibility is to promote the education of children looked-after (CLA) and Previously Looked-After Children (PLAC). The team is responsible for all aspects of access to education and educational progress of East Riding children looked-after. The virtual school also provides advice and guidance to support the education of previously looked-after children.

What are the responsibilities of the virtual school?

The responsibilities of the virtual school include: 

  • implementing the statutory responsibilities for looked-after children and previously looked-after children
  • managing the allocation and the effective use of the LAC Premium Grant for East Riding looked-after children
  • organising and chairing the termly Personal Education Plan (PEP) meeting for East Riding looked-after children including children placed outside the East Riding local education authority
  • delivering training for designated teachers, social workers, foster carers and other professionals to help understand the issues and challenges faced by looked-after children and previously looked-after children
  • monitoring and reporting on the educational progress, attainment and attendance of East Riding looked-after children
  • promoting high aspiration and raising achievement through challenge, support and targeted intervention.

GOV.UK - Promoting the education of looked-after children and previously looked-after children (external website) 

GOV.UK - Pupil premium 2018 to 2019: conditions of grant (external website)

How is the virtual school staffed?

The virtual school is made up of the following staff:

  • virtual school head teacher
  • virtual school deputy head
  • teaching and training co-ordinator
  • education welfare officer (North Area)
  • education welfare officer (West Area)
  • education welfare officer (East Area)
  • educational advocate (PLAC)
  • technical officer
  • performance technician.

What is the virtual school for looked-after children?

The virtual school supports and challenges all those involved in the education of looked-after children. 

Is it a physical environment?

The virtual school is not a physical environment. It works in close collaboration with colleagues from the child’s educational provision to promote positive educational outcomes. 

What's the mission?

The virtual school strives to offer all the support that a good parent would give in order to make sure that the children they look after reach their full potential.

Is my Personal Education Plan (PEP) monitored?

All children in the care of East Riding have a PEP monitored by the virtual school head teacher. 

The PEP meeting for pre-school pupils is aligned to the looked-after children review under the leadership of an early years development advisor.

For post-16 pupils the personal education plan is incorporated within their pathway plan. 

What is the virtual school head teacher?

For looked-after children, as part of a local authority’s corporate parenting role, the virtual school headteacher needs to be the educational advocate that parents are for others.

The virtual headteacher leads the virtual school team in promoting the education of looked-after children by East Riding local authority. The team have high aspirations for the children in the East Riding virtual school and aim to close the gap with their peers.

Does the virtual school support previously looked-after children? 

The virtual headteacher keeps an up to date roll of children in the care of the East Riding and monitors their attendance, attainment and progress. The virtual school team also provides advice and information to support children who were previously looked-after and are now subject to adoption orders, special guardianship orders (SGO) and child arrangement orders (CAO).

What are the roles and responsibilities of designated teachers?

Effective designated teachers have a leadership role in promoting the educational achievement of every looked after and previously looked after child on the school’s roll. This involves, working with virtual school to promote the education of looked-after and previously looked-after children and promoting a supportive whole school culture.

The designated teacher should be a central point of initial contact within the school.

Designated teachers self-evaluation audit tool (word 28kb)

What are the responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked-after children?

  • To provide leadership, training, information, challenge and advice to others that will influence decisions 
  • To ensure that school policies and approaches appropriately reflect the needs of looked-after and act as a champion for them
  • To see children looked after as individuals rather than as a homogeneous group, not publicly treat them differently from their peers, and show sensitivity about who else knows about their looked-after
  • To appreciate the central importance of the looked-after child’s PEP and most importantly, the child’s own understanding of how they are being supported
  • To lead and coordinate the schools' processes in relation to PEP
  • To understand how the PEP fits into the wider care planning duties of the authority which looks after the child. 

2018-19 PEP - (Early Years) School Section C (Word 60kb)

2018-19 PEP - (Primary) School Section C (Word 32kb)

2018-19 PEP - (Secondary) School Section C (Word 115kb)

What are the responsibilities of the designated teacher for previously looked-after children?

The designated teacher should work closely with parents and guardians of previously looked-after children.The designated teacher should make themselves known to parents and guardians as someone they can talk to about issues affecting their child’s education. 

The views and wishes of parents and guardians should be respected at all times. They should be encouraged to participate in discussions about their child’s support needs and strategies to meet identified needs, including how Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) should be used to support their child. 

What are the arrangements for the allocation of LAC Premium for East Riding looked-after children?

Allocation of LAC Premium will be focused on children’s individual needs, managed through high quality PEP documentation. An education welfare officer from the Vulnerable Children’s Education Team (VCET) will chair every PEP meeting. At these termly PEP meetings the use of the LAC Premium to promote educational outcomes will be discussed. LAC Premium needs to be matched to SMART targets/outcomes identified on the education section of the PEP document completed by the designated teacher. At each future PEP meeting, the use of the LAC Premium will be discussed and the outcomes reviewed and monitored.

LAC Premium should be spent to support the education of the CLA. Schools may use LAC Premium towards the cost of the designated teachers’ time preparing the educational PEP information and attending meetings. In addition, LAC Premium can pay the cost for supply cover in order that school staff can attend designated teacher training organised by the East Riding virtual school.

All LAC Premium requests will need to be itemised on the PPG form and matched to SMART targets/outcomes. The virtual school head teacher is responsible for monitoring the LAC Premium spending on each CLA.

LAC Pupil Premium - ERYC Guidance - 2021 to 2022 (pdf 181kb)

Financial arrangements 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019

From summer term 2018 £1,900 East Riding LAC premium will be allocated through the PEP process. Schools will be able to request up to £1,900 in the financial year 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019. The East Riding local authority is retaining centrally £400 per CLA. 

For CLA placed in independent specialist provisions, the £1,900 will be paid as a contribution towards the cost of the specialist provision NOT in addition to these costs.

Management and accountability

The education welfare officer will present the LAC Premium requests to the virtual school panel meeting every fortnight. There will be an email letter to schools informing them of the allocation of funding after the panel meeting. Funding will be allocated to schools following this notification.

The virtual head teacher will be accountable to the virtual school governance panel and the Corporate Parenting Group for monitoring the allocation of LAC Premium and ensuring the maximised impact of the grant.

Can I access the 'Virtual head teacher report - East Riding looked-after children'?

Yes, the report is available to download as a PDF below:

Virtual School Head Teacher Report 2020-21 (pdf 1mb)

Document updated January 2022.

How can parents/carers support children looked after (CLA)and previously looked-after children (PLAC)? 

It is important that looked-after children and previously looked after children achieve the best possible educational outcomes. It is vital that all adults around the young person including parents and carers are working together to support the education of looked-after children. 

As parents and carers you can support children in your care by:

  • Taking an interest in your child’s education, recognising their talents and achievements
  • Providing a home environment where education and aspirations are discussed
  • Creating a nurturing learning environment in the home
  • Ensuring that children have a quiet place, the time to do homework and access to resources
  • Making sure that appointments and meetings are arranged outside of school time, where possible
  • Establishing positive relationships with key education staff, particularly the designated teacher
  • Communicating regularly with key education staff, making sure that school are kept informed of any changes that could impact on the child’s learning or behaviour
  • Familiarising yourself with the schools behaviour policy and other relevant policies
  • Ensuring that you attend parent’s evenings
  • Attending the Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings for CLA; contributing your views in the PEP document and during the meeting
  • Asking for support when you need it. The virtual school or the child’s social worker will always be happy to provide advice and support in relation to education.

Please contact the virtual school for training dates offered to parents and carers via email.

Email: vcet@eastriding.gcsx.gov.uk

What support can be provided by Educational Psychologists (EPs) for CLA and PLAC?

Educational psychologists have a list of CLA who attend the schools they support. At termly planning meetings EPs discuss children and young people who are looked-after to see if there is a need for involvement. EPs have produced the following guidance documents which offer useful strategies and approaches:

Tips for designated teachers and school staff (pdf 480kb)

Supporting CLA guidance for schools (pdf 1.5mb)

Supporting CLA EY booklet (pdf 4.6mb) 

Attendance at the annual reviews of East Riding CLA being educated out of authority (OOA) is prioritised, especially those placed in independent and non maintained settings. VCET/ virtual school will discuss possible ERYC EP involvement at PEP meetings.

At the start of each academic year the specialist senior for CLA sends a letter to all independent and non maintained and OOA maintained schools that have East Riding CLA with an EHCP on roll. This highlights the role of East Riding educational psychology service in supporting CLA.

At the start of each term all East Riding CLA with an EHCP are given a RAG rating by VCET. This will help to scaffold discussions by EPs at planning meetings.

Training for designated teachers is offered once a term which EPs are involved in delivering.

For children and young people receiving SEN Support, it is the responsibility of the educational psychologist to provide general advice.

When an education health and care needs assessment is requested there are different scenarios in terms of who is best placed to provide EP support and advice depending on the child/young person’s home authority and where they are living and being educated. The table below provides guidelines in terms of responsibilities.

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