INFORMATION REPORT - Update from the Virtual Headteacher
Report of the Corporate Director of Children and Families
In accordance with the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, Members agreed to consider an update report from the Virtual Headteacher as urgent for the reasons set out on the supplemental agenda.
The Panel received an information report from the Corporate Director of Children and Families which outline details of the initial review carried out by the Virtual Headteacher (VHT) of Harrow’s Virtual School provision prior to December 2011. The report also included an action plan, which had been prepared prior to the recent Ofsted inspection, to address the areas for development identified in that review.
The officer reported that the key action arising from her review was in relation to staffing and their roles and responsibilities. The Divisional Director added that consideration was being given as to how to equip partnership and social workers to ensure that children’s attainment was tracked. It was necessary to have documents that informed officers what each individual child required.
In terms of the three areas of responsibility, a Member sought clarification as to how each of these areas was to be addressed. The officer advised that the Council aimed to create a functioning virtual school and to get to the position where young people knew who from that virtual school was most likely to contact them. A representative of Beyond Limits stated that he had been unaware of the existence of the virtual school and headteacher and suggested that it ought to be advertised to social workers. He was also unclear on its role.
In response to comments made, Members requested that officers ensure that young people received information about the virtual school and virtual headteacher and suggested that the start of the new academic year would be an appropriate time to launch it. Members requested that there be a report to their October meeting in order for the Panel to see if there had been any improvement in young people’s awareness of the VHT and virtual school and also to hear back from the young people.
Members asked further questions and made comments which were responded to as follows:
· It was important that young people and schools were aware that there was a designated teacher. If all designated teachers were effective and schools were on board a figure head VHT would not be required.
· Every Looked After Child should have a designated teacher.
· It was suggested that as designated teachers were usually relatively senior with many areas to cover, learner mentors could be part of the contact.
· Officers undertook to write to all new Chairs of School Governing Bodies in the Autumn term in order to progress this issue and also to request Headteachers to raise awareness of the designated teacher.
· The Divisional Director indicated that she would give consideration Members, as Corporate Parents, meeting with designated teachers.
· In response to a Member’s suggestion that the VHT meet with governing bodies Chairs and clerks, the officer advised that governing bodies should receive a progress report on Looked After Children.
· The Children Looked After webpage would help to ensure that information, such as a list of designated teachers, was accessible.
(1) the report be noted;
(2) there be a report to the October meeting to see if there had been any improvement in young people’s awareness of the VHT and virtual school and also to hear back from the young people.
- Restricted enclosure
- Update from the Virtual Headteacher - for information, item 83. PDF 85 KB
- VHT - enclosure, item 83. PDF 162 KB