West Berkshire's Virtual School
Last updated: 21/04/2023
West Berkshire's Virtual School is for children in care and those who were previously looked after. The aim of the service is to work with children and young people, their carers, social workers and schools to improve educational outcomes.
As a team, we have qualified and experienced consultants at every key stage. Chairing all Personal Education Planning (PEP) meetings for children in care ensures that the team has regular contact with young people and can co-ordinate interventions and support.
In addition to the above, from September 2022, we started to support the development of education for children with a social worker. This is at the strategic level so does not include individual work with children and families.
Who to contact
- Contact Name
- Robin Douglas
- Contact Position
- Virtual School Headteacher
- 01635 503159
Where to go
- Market Street Council Offices
- RG14 5LD
The Virtual School is based at the council offices at Market Street and works in early years settings, schools and colleges (up 18 years of age).
Time / Date Details
- When is it on
- Open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
- Age Ranges
- Other notes
The Virtual School has responsibility to support children in care who live in and outside of West Berkshire.
With regards to previously looked after children, the Virtual School can offer advice information and guidance to parents and schools of children attending educational establishments in West Berkshire only.
West Berkshire’s Virtual School for children in care and previously looked after children challenges and supports schools, carers and social workers to ensure that children and young people in West Berkshire are supported, encouraged and challenged to attend school, engage in their education and attain good education outcomes.
Key to our approach:
- Chairing all PEP Meetings
- Training staff in school
- Offering advice to foster carers, adopters and special guardians
- Administering the pupil premium plus grant
- Providing advice on admissions and exclusions
Each school in West Berkshire has a Designated Teacher for looked after children and previously looked after children. Their role is to promote the educational achievement of the children on the school roll.
Pupil Premium Plus
The pupil premium plus grant for children in care is administered by the Virtual School. Funding is discussed at the PEP Meeting and applications agreed. Each child can access up to £1400 core funding per year. In challenging circumstances, it is possible for schools to apply to the Virtual Headteacher for additional funding.
Pupil premium funding for previously looked after children goes directly from the government to the school and it is down to the school to determine how that money is spent.
For more information, contact the Virtual School on 01635 519940 or email them at email@example.com
Early Years, Childcare and Nursery Provision
Children in care aged 2, 3 or 4 are entitled to 15 hours free childcare per week for 38 weeks each year in:
- Day Nurseries, pre-schools or with childminders who are eligible to claim the free entitlement
- Independent schools
- Local authority maintained nursery schools and nursery classes within primary/infant schools
Information about local Early Years provision can be accessed either by calling the dedicated Family Information Services on 01635 503100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Specialist Family Information Service also provides information and guidance where more specific advice is required to meet the needs of achild. Contact details as above.
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Where a child in care has an Education, Health and Care Plan, the Special Educational Needs Service will maintain the EHCP on behalf of the placing authority. The team can be contacted by writing to: SEN Service, Communities Directorate, West Berkshire Council, West Street House, West Street, Newbury, Berks. RG14 1BZ
- Contact Name
- Robin Douglas
- Contact Telephone
- Contact Email
- SEN Provision Type
- Behavioural, Emotional & Social Difficulties
- Local Offer Age Bands
1 to 4
5 to 7
7 to 11
12 to 14
15 to 16
16 to 18
Yes, through contact with the team or through a social worker.
Any child who is in the care of West Berkshire District Council.
Support from the Virtual School is from the start of the care process through to children and young people being care leavers.
The Virtual School will aim to get back to you within 24 hours of your contact during term time.
Direct feedback can be received by Virtual School Consultants and the Virtual Headteacher. For formal complaints, the council’s standard procedures should be used.
All staff working with the virtual school have DBS checks in place.
- DBS check
West Berkshire Council do not promote or endorse any of the services listed in this Directory. For more information on this please read our disclaimer.