Awena - Cornwall Virtual School

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From September 2021, we are working on a national project to work with:

  • early years settings
  • schools
  • colleges and
  • social care leaders

The project will look at plans that help all children with social workers to make educational progress. We will be looking at attendance, suspensions, exclusions and children on reduced timetables. This is a six month project.

Welcome to Awena, Cornwall Virtual School for Children with a Social Worker

The Head of Awena is also the Designated Safeguarding and Child Exploitation Lead for Children in Care. The aim of Awena is to promote the education of children with a Social Worker to ensure all achieve the best they can in educational outcomes. Awena does this with creativity and a nurturing approach for all.

Who we are

We are Cornwall Council’s Virtual School for all children with a Social Worker. We also work with previously looked after children (PLAC). The school exists to improve the education of these vulnerable children. It is a cross-phase school and our learners range from 2 to 25 years.

Our learners attend real schools and settings. The Headteacher or Designated Teacher (DT) of each school provides us with information.  We track each young person's education. Our team provide support to help learners achieve.

Why we need a Virtual School

Many children and young people with a social worker, in care, or having left care, enjoy and do well at school. But, as a group, they may not perform as well in their education as their peers.

Each Local Authority (LA) in England has to appoint someone to promote achievement of children with a Social Worker. In Cornwall, we have a Virtual School Headteacher. Their job is to review how children and young people are doing. Systems are also put in place to support and challenge schools and other agencies to help them do better.

The Virtual School works across Cornwall Council and involves many different departments. We also work with external organisations. We aim to deliver the best possible education for our children and young people.

Our Learners

Our school includes six groups of children and young people:

  • Cornish children in care and care leavers educated in Cornwall
  • Cornish children in care and care leavers educated in another Local Authority (LA)
  • Children in care/care leavers looked after by another LA but educated in Cornwall
  • Previously looked after children
  • Adopted previously looked after children, or those under special guardianship orders (SGO) or child arrangement orders (CAO)
  • Cornish children with a social worker, including Children In Need (CIN) and children with a Child Protection Plan (CP) 

Your Voice 

We listen to the voice of our young people. We do this by including them on our Governing Body. We ask them to be part of interview panels and monitor what we deliver as a school. We listen to what they tell us in their Council forums.

If you would like to be involved with the Virtual School please get in touch with us using the email address at the bottom of this page. 

 

Schools and education settings

  • We work with Designated Teachers to track individual children's progress. This includes attainment and attendance.
  • We provide guidance on individual situations. We achieve the best possible outcomes for this group of learners
  • We provide training to Designated Teachers and named vulnerable groups Governors. 
  • We pay the CiC Pupil Premium Plus funding to settings. (If an up to date PEP form plus current progress, attainment and attendance data have been logged on the Welfare Call EPEP database)

 Social care staff

  • We advise social workers on choice of schools and on specific issues relating to the education of these learners
  • We attend as many first and transition Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings as possible. As well as PEP meetings where we discuss complex issues for CiC
  • We train and update social care staff on educational issues

Parents/Carers

  • We advise parents / carers on specific issues relating to education of their child
  • We offer training on educational issues and updates
  • We welcome suggestions and comments through our interactive Let's Talk page (login required)

Once a child leaves local authority care, a child is no longer looked after. However, their educational, social and emotional needs will not change overnight. Previously looked after children keep the educational entitlements they had while in care. This was the case for children who left care through:

  • an adoption
  • special guardianship (SGO)
  • child arrangements order (CAO)

Educational entitlements include priority admission and Pupil Premium Plus. Schools and local authorities have a duty to promote the educational achievement of children who have left care. All current guidance for PLAC support can be found in these two documents:

Has your enquiry been answered by the information contained in one of the above links? Do you require specialist support? Please complete the PLAC Referral Form

Our Primary Phase is led by Chloe Phillips (Deputy Head Teacher, Awena – Cornwall Virtual School)    

We have a very experienced and knowledgeable team with a variety of skills in both education and social work.

Our team consists of:

  • A Phase lead who is also one of the Deputy Heads of the Virtual School,
  • Three Learning Advocates
  • Inclusion, Welfare and Education Officer
  • Out of County Lead

We work closely with:

  • Early Years Settings
  • primary schools
  • alternative and specialist education settings
  • social workers
  • health workers
  • children and their carers

Together we support children to have access to education that meets their needs and allows them to feel safe and looked after.

What we Offer:

  • We raise standards of all children’s PEPs (personal education plans). We do this through a comprehensive quality assurance process at all key phases
  • Direct support, advice and guidance to all Primary schools regarding any concerns around their children in Care
  • Transition support for all year 6 children in care going into year 7, making sure they have access to Summer school activities
  • Transition packs for all children moving from Nursery to Reception and Year 6 to Year 7
  • Direct 1-1 and / or in class group work for Reading, Writing, Grammar, punctuation & Spelling and Maths
  • SEMH support with trained TIS/Thrive trained staff
  • We attend PEP meetings, especially Year 6 Summer term PEPs
  • We attend Enhanced Support Meetings (these are meetings held to support children in their caring placement)
  • Training for all designated teachers, social workers and carers
  • We lead education planning meetings
  • We support team members in accessing appropriate education provisions for children
  • We give advice and guidance to other agencies in supporting their child with education queries and concerns
  • We act as an advocate for children and young people and ensure their voice is heard when their education is discussed
  • We represent education at professionals’ meetings (including strategy discussions)
  • We work alongside other teams of professionals. Together we identify and support children who may have SEN (Special Educational Needs). This includes supporting the EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) process
  • We share our knowledge of agencies and providers who can offer additional support to children in care

This team is led by Jacqui Lewis (Deputy Head of Awena – Cornwall Virtual School)

We have an assorted staff team with a variety of skills in both education and social work.

Our team consists of:

  • A Phase lead who is also one of the Deputy Heads of the Virtual School
  • 16-25 Specialist Education Advisor
  • Two Learning Advocates
  • Inclusion, Welfare and Education Officer
  • Out of County Lead

We work really closely with all:

secondary, higher, alternative and specialist education settings

social workers

health workers

children and their carers

Together we support them to have access to education that meets their needs and allows them to feel safe and looked after.

What we Offer:

  • We raise standards of all children’s PEPs (personal education plans). We do this through a comprehensive quality assurance process at all key phases
  • Direct support, advice and guidance to all secondary schools regarding any concerns around their Children in Care
  • Transition support for all year 6 children in care going into year 7, making sure they have access to Summer school activities
  • We work alongside the 16-25 specialist advisor on extended transition to support for all year 11 students with their post 16 choices
  • Support in the Autumn term for year 12s. This is to allow them to settle well into their chosen pathway and reduce their risk of being NEET. (NEET is not attending or accessing College, training or employment)
  • Functional skills directed learning for CIC who would like a different route into College
  • Cross curricular direct 1-1 support in and out of school
  • Social, Emotional support with trained TIS/Thrive trained staff
  • We attend PEP meetings, especially year 11 Summer term PEPs
  • We attend Enhanced Support Meetings (these are meetings held to support children in their caring placement)
  • Training for all designated teachers, social workers and carers
  • We lead education planning meetings
  • We support the team around the child in accessing an appropriate education provision
  • We give advice and guidance to other agencies in supporting their child with education queries and concerns
  • We act as an advocate for children and young people and ensure their voice is heard when their education is discussed
  • We represent education at professionals’ meetings (including strategy discussions)
  • We work alongside other teams of professionals. Together we identify and support children who may have SEN (Special Educational Needs). This includes supporting the EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) process
  • We share our knowledge of agencies and providers who can offer additional support to children in care
  • We work with Employers to provide work experience to develop practical skills

Personal Education Plan (PEP) Information 

We use an electronic, web-based PEP System with Welfare Call. 

The ePEP system is a secure website and only people authorised by Cornwall Virtual School can use it. The system is available 24/7 on any devise.

Each section of the PEP is colour coded to identify who should complete them. After the meeting, the PEP is quality assessed by a senior member of our team.

One of the main benefits of the system is its capacity to hold information and generate reports. This allows us to assess the education and interventions in place for our children in care. It is also via this process that schools can access pupil premium plus to support their children. Further detail about Pupil Premium Plus is in the Cornwall Virtual School PEP guidance in the link below.

Attendance Information 

Our attendance officer is available Monday – Wednesday. Please contact the Virtual School outside of these days.

Cornwall Virtual School monitor all attendance for Cornish Children in Care for NCY 0 – NCY 11.
Please forward a student attendance registration certificate to us by email by 14:00 every Friday.
Please choose a code of C, B, O or I, and let us know why you chose this code.

All attendance data is to be returned to: attendance@cornwall.gov.uk

Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions 

In the event of suspension or exclusion please submit an exclusion form and a risk assessment:

Exclusion Form 

Risk Assessment 

Unauthorised absences

Due to the vulnerability of our Children in Care, please let us know of unauthorised absences by Midday on the day of the absence. This is in order for us to contact the relevant Social Worker.

DT Training 

To view our training, please visit School Messenger (log in required).

The Post-16 Advisor supports children as they leave year 11 and move towards:

  • further education
  • higher education
  • employment
  • training

They also Quality Assess the PEPs up to the age of 18. This is to ensure each child has clear targets and the support they need to achieve them. This may involve speaking with:

  • colleges
  • SEN caseworkers
  • Careers Advisors
  • Social Workers

It will also include meeting with young people in their school or college.

They monitor those young people not in Education, Training or Employment. They try to support their path back to engagement with the support of other agencies such as Carefree.

We would also like to hear from you. Your voice matters and we would like to hear what you have to say! Visit our engagement page to share your ideas, views and needs (login required).

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