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					APPENDIX 3

Gateshead Council

Strategic Plan Virtual School for Looked After Children

“Our aspirations for children in care are no less than those each parent has for their own children”

Consultation Questions and Responses

Number of Responses: 17

1. Is the draft strategy clear in its vision about how looked after children will be supported in their education? (page 5) 12 Very clear Not at all clear Comments:  The draft document is very clear and logical. I did read all of it because it was very concise and chronological.  The strategy is clear re LAC in statutory education but is less clear re LAC in nursery/early year‟s education prior to reception, including PVI and CC nurseries.  I think that the vision and priorities are clear, however I would have liked to see a short explanation about what a virtual school head is.  The vision is clear and grounded in achievable and measurable outcomes.  Include that the partnership between the VS and schools with LAC need to ensure effective communication to and fro so that support (as in Bullet point 4) is ensured.  3rd bullet point – is there a clear understanding of what „have enhanced priority‟ means? I can envisage how the other priorities might be operationalised and outcomes identified.  I feel that bullet point 5 should read „approaches to care planning which value education and ensure that education is effectively prioritised etc‟ 4 Largely clear Not very clear

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2. Does the draft strategy provide enough detail in the strategic priorities on how the local authority can ensure that the educational needs of looked after children are of a sufficient and high priority? (page 5 and 6) 14 Yes No 2 Not Sure

Comments:  Yes but again with the proviso that any LAC both in schools and CC nurseries and PVI are given the same priority.  all aspects and agency involvement is clearly outlined. Important to ensure all parties buy into it. LAC reviewing officers are always very good but often difficulties with Social Workers not initiating PEPs. May be because they change regularly. Will this change with new systems?  Are there any budget implications to make this happen. (Additionality) centrally or is this dependant upon existing school budgets.  The document is very positively written but I wonder whether it might be worth including some statistics to reflect the increased vulnerability of LAC? Etc  I feel that under key outcomes bullet point 10 should read „children and young people will be offered a wide range etc‟ You can‟t make them participate  I would like to see added in the strategic priorities ensure educational needs have a section of appraisal for those that seem not to be able to rise above KS4 to be able to have assessment for dyslexia etc school, V school or joint strategy.

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3. Does the draft strategy provide enough detail in the key outcomes so that it captures all the main key priorities? (page 6) 13 Yes 1 No 1 Not Sure

Comments:  very clear.  Very clear and highlights for schools what their duty is to try and support particularly the child‟s academic achievement.  Need to reflect attainment of young people in YOI‟s because as I understand it this does not show up in statistical PI‟s Also in institutions such as Stephenson House Prudhoe if young person there under an order.  Impressive list  Most schools would quantify what the increased attainment levels should be as well as define what school attendance rates and exclusion rates will be. Needs measurable targets

4. Does the draft strategy provide enough detail in the key actions? (page7) 15 Yes 1 No Not Sure

Comments:  With the same provisos as stated earlier – EY too much detail can be cumbersome. I found the document very easy to read. Key points are ideal – very user friendly.  As someone who does not work within Learning and Children I realize that I am looking at this from a different perspective but I am not clear that the actions listed are enough to achieve the priorities and outcomes listed. If we achieve all the actions will this mean that we achieve are priorities and ultimately the outcomes and vision?  Bullet point 5 - I have never heard of the personal education allowance, How does this work in a special needs setting for LAC with learning difficulties?  Bullet point 6 We do this ourselves as part of school procedures  The last bullet point re training of governing bodies to understand their role surely the HT can do this?

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5. Does the draft strategy provide a robust enough monitoring, evaluation and review process? (page 8 and 9) 12 Yes 1 No 3 Not Sure

Comments:  Monitoring can only be effective if it covers all sectors where LAC receive education and not sure if this covers this adequately  Process is very clear in theory; the evidence of success will be seen when in operation. School would benefit from more individual support for LAC students.  I think that it would really strengthen the strategy if we could mention some performance information i.e. how is Gateshead currently performing? And what are our future targets – where do we aim to be the end of the strategy lifespan?  What is the role of the Designated Teacher in MER?  Should there be monitoring of multi agency working? Vital to educational success for looked after children.  Should we be monitoring emotional well being of LAC? etc Please use this space for further comments: Thank you for taking the time to let us have your views. 6. Further Comments  It would be beneficial if the service was more proactive in offering support to LAC students, particularly those on the Special Needs Register. I do acknowledge that this is not always easy especially when I look at the statistics provided in the document. Our year 9 student would benefit greatly from some additional input prior to SATs. Not sure if this is the correct forum but a standardized PEP across authorities would be great  I think that the strategy is well written and really clear. There are a couple of areas that could be strengthened (and this is coming from the viewpoint of someone working outside of this particular area):  A very brief introduction outlining the purpose of the strategy  Brief explanation of the model this will be delivering (virtual school/ head)  I would add a reference to the Children and Young People‟s Plan in the Background Section (perhaps say that the vision for children and young people as set out in the Children Plan)

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Will there be an action plan setting out in detail how the key actions, will be delivered with milestones, timescales and measures? Do we need a statement about equalities and how this strategy will consider the diverse needs of children in terms of race, religion, gender, disability What does (OC2 and 903 refer to in the monitoring section) It would be great if we could list the performance indicators we will be measuring and include details of how we are doing at the moment and what our targets are for the lifespan of the strategy I‟m unsure of HOW schools will access the support for LAC e.g. the funds which may support specific tuition. Only as a suggestion (as I do this in my own school sometimes):Produce a „summarised‟ document in „parent speak‟ for those members of the community who may feel challenged with the „professional nature‟ of the document. Regarding detail it may be useful to formalize the feedback from children and young people. It mentions the views of children will be listened to. It would be beneficial to have a school council or pupil voice platform. This would embrace/ pupil participation and formalize the process. I think the Virtual school with you as Headteacher will prevent LAC slipping through the net and give them a better chance in life. My concern from experience as designated Teacher is the robustness of multi agency working. I am not sure that it is given sufficient weight in the strategy. A very clear, well presented, focused and useful document. I enjoyed reading the strategy and apart from the need to set some measurable aspirational targets I think it is a comprehensive document. I am also unsure of a policy for each school re LAC - please do not ask Heads to draw this up! I am hoping there is a generic policy which I can adapt.

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