Further £16.6m Funding Confirmed for Virtual Schools by Will Quince MP
Last month saw the return of the National Association of Virtual School Heads Conference as an in-person event at London’s Earls Court. It was great to catch up with virtual heads in person after working alongside them remotely for so long. There were plenty of interesting sessions over the two days but by far the most hotly anticipated was the DfE update by Children’s and Families Minister, Will Quince MP.
Via a video link, he told delegates “I am keen for the excellent work you have started to continue, which is why today I am extremely pleased to be able to announce a further £16.6m of funding for this next financial year.”
Since September 2021 Virtual School headteachers have had a strategic role to promote the educational achievement of all children with a social worker. The Children’s and Families Minister praised the work undertaken by virtual school heads. He said “One thing that stands out most to me is the dedication and skill with which you ensure our most vulnerable children and young people get the care and education they need and deserve. Since the role of Virtual School Heads was established in 2014, we have seen real positive educational progress for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.”
The funding will continue to be paid to local authorities via the Section 31 grant. Outgoing NAVSH chair Patrick Ward said “ This announcement is an opportunity for local authorities to undertake long term planning in the interests of the young people covered by the new duties. The DfE has invested substantially in the Virtual School model, this is not going away. The settlement this year is the same as last and allows continuity for local authorities.”
How does Welfare Call support the extended role of virtual schools?
In 2021 the government extended the role of the virtual school to include all children with a social worker. Primarily this is children with a Child in Need Plan (CiN) or a Child Protection Plan (CP). We were aware this was due to happen so we’ve been working hard alongside our users to extend the way in which we work with virtual schools to include these cohorts. We’re able to monitor CiN/CP attendance and are doing so with local authorities around the country.
In addition, we’ve developed a series of Analytics dashboards looking at key areas of your work, and you can drill down into the data to better understand the cohort needs and issues that occur in regions, territories and countries. We’ve been collecting data on Looked After Children for 16 years and have been designing reports, in conjunction with the Virtual Schools, to try and better understand the early interventions required and to ensure the safeguarding of this very vulnerable group, but also CiN and CP children.
If you’d like to find out more about how Welfare Call can support you in your extended virtual school role, please get in touch. Simply email [email protected] or contact your account manager directly for a further discussion.