The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director – People, which presented the Headteacher’s Virtual School’s Annual Report for Halton Children in Care (CIC).
The Annual Report was appended to the report and provided detailed data, analysis and summary of the work of the Virtual School, during the academic year 2020-21.
It was noted that due to the impact of Covid-19, a decision was made to suspend all primary tests and to change to teacher assessment for the allocation of GCSE results. Members noted that because of this, it was not possible to provide yearly comparisons for end of Key Stage progress and attainment. Further, whilst some school attendance did resume for parts of the academic year, there was a national lockdown in the spring term, which meant it was again difficult to provide yearly comparisons.
The Board was advised that the work of the Virtual School had continued throughout the academic year. The full Annual Report provided detailed analysis of how Halton’s Children in Care had performed against each of the individual key performance indicators; how they had been supported in order to mitigate against the impact of Covid restrictions; gave a summary of the School’s progress towards its identified key priorities for the academic year 2020-21; and identified the priorities for the School in 2021-22.
Following presentation of the item Members raised the following:
80% of CIC were in good/better schools – how were you assuring the wellbeing of the 20% that were not
By constantly reviewing the provision on an individual needs basis so through termly progress meetings (outside of the PEP reviews); looking at the work being done in the school and outcomes during the school day; pastoral support offered; and monthly meetings to keep on top of any pupils that were a cause for concern.
How do you deal with telling a school that they did not meet the needs of a child
Usually the school would agree, if the child was not making progress at a particular school then it was important that they found a placement which could change this to better the outcome for the child.
Where were unaccompanied asylum seekers taught?
They must have a placement in a school or college to be able to receive the education, whether this be virtual due to Covid or physically attending.
Did asylum seekers come from the dispersal system?
The vast majority did, but some self-presented. The Home Office carried out an age assessment but some say they are below 18, which triggers statutory responsibilities upon the Local Authority (LA), at the expense of the LA.
The phrase ‘stuck PEPs’
This was explained in relation to Riverside College, where quality assurance raised issues in relation to the recording of information on PEP’s for children not being robust enough, so the quality of them required improvement. The Virtual School were working with them to improve this to ensure all information was entered into the PEPs within a clear timeframe.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) notes the information provided; and
2) accepts the Headteacher of the Virtual School’s Annual Report as an accurate account of the performance on the education outcomes and achievement of Halton Children in Care.