The Virtual School and the Curriculum
The Virtual School does not have its own curriculum as our Looked After Children are expected to be in full-time education in schools close to their foster placement. The majority of children attend mainstream primary or secondary schools, a number will, however, be in residential or specialist facilities that best suit their needs.
The Virtual School focuses on providing additional support for our cohort, using a number of different resources. These are in addition to what the school is already providing via the Pupil Premium.
Where children placed in schools within the borough need education interventions, our teachers will carry out an initial assessment, followed by carefully planned, weekly teaching interventions for literacy or numeracy, tailored to meet their individual needs. These may include a personalised phonics programme for reading, spelling and handwriting; a ‘Catch-Up’ numeracy programme appropriate to their year group; reading and literacy schemes; and SATs preparation work in year 6. Teaching is delivered on a 1:1 basis, working closely with the school, and follows the National Curriculum Attainment Targets.
Where children placed in schools outside the borough require education interventions we deliver targeted teaching programmes using an approved teaching agency. Teaching programmes are designed to meet the individual needs of the young person and are carefully structured to ensure they complement the curriculum content the young person is following in school.
As well as 1:1 teaching the Virtual School has purchased several on-line learning content platforms to deliver self-paced and teacher-guided programmes. These include ‘Sam Learning’, which offers learning activities for over 20 subjects; ‘MyMaths’ - a fully interactive online maths learning solution for all ages and ‘LEXIA Learning’ – a self-paced phonics computer program that helps children learn the rules of phonics for reading and writing skills. Children can have access to these learning content systems from either school or home.
The Virtual School also provides practical resources delivered to the homes of our young people. These include reading books, practical maths resources, revision books and other learning resources.
Additional support is also on offer to support students as they prepare for GCSE examinations and at significant transition points, for example completion of Year 6 SATs and the transfer to secondary school.