This report provides a summary of 2018/19 education performance by Children Looked After (CLA), with specific focus on examination results, exclusions and SEN.
The Head of Virtual School spoke to the report and shared that the data within the report had shown the results of the young people in care in Croydon and schools all over the country, and not individual successes.
The results in brief from the detailed report showed:
Members of the Panel were pleased to see the positive results of looked after children within the borough.
Co-optee Members of the Panel shared concern with regards to exclusions and fixed term exclusions, highlighting from the report that twenty-one looked after children had received a fixed term exclusion in primary school, and a child in school year two faced permanent exclusion. Members also highlighted that there were no support packages for excluded children and officers pointed out that the issue around support had been rectified and schools would receive better support around exclusions. Further, officers informed the meeting that the service had reviewed the numbers of children excluded in schools and Virtual School had staff members to support primary school teachers who had children within their schools struggling with emotional wellbeing. Officers also acknowledged a rise with the challenging behaviour of children in schools and a lot of training had been provided. The Virtual School was also encouraging young children to co-develop any training that was offered.
Panel Members mentioned that special schools received support and had a good intervention programme; mainstream schools should be encouraged to develop the same so that more support could be offered to children. Officers of the Virtual School advised that it was their mission to manage the issues with looked after children in mainstream schools.
ACTION: Virtual School to circulate a briefing (SB)
ACTION: Virtual School to circulate updated roles and responsibilities list (SD)
At 5:40pm the Panel adjourned the meeting for a short break
At 5:45pm the Panel reconvened the meeting.
In response to questions from members of EMPIRE regarding the Virtual School for Children in Care, officers explained that a lot of work the service provided was not often seen as staff worked closely with schools and not directly with young people. However, as the service had grown with more staff, there would be more direct work with young people in schools and also in the PEP meetings.
Member of EMPIRE wanted more information about exclusions and what would happen to children excluded from school (both fixed and long term). Officers clarified that for the number of fixed-term (short) exclusions, the Virtual School’s involvement entailed liaising with the school and speaking with senior leaders to understand the high numbers of short term exclusions in the school, and to further support the school with working around exclusions. For children with long-term or permanent exclusions the only alternative regime for a young person would be to attend a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). The Virtual School would further aim to provide an alternative school to give the young person an opportunity for a fresh start which would include negotiation with schools and teachers. Support was also provided if a year 11 student was excluded during their exam period; the Virtual School would intervene and provide tuition for the young person.
Additionally, officers highlighted that data was collated on each young person including personalised information and performances. The data gathered also identified exclusion cross referencing gender, ethnicity and age, and to date it was noted that more boys than girls had experienced fixed term exclusion of Black Caribbean background.
ACTION: For EMPIRE to receive a written response to their questions asked (on-going action).
ACTION: For the Care Leaver Representative (Ashleigh) and Virtual School to do a presentation for EMPIRE so they had a better understanding of Virtual School.