Realising the potential of Children in Care

Ofsted has rated our Children’s Services as ‘good’

Posted on by Judy Molyneux

This puts our children’s services among the top 30 per cent in the country and recognises that we have made substantial improvements since our previous inspection, despite some difficult challenges along the way.

Importantly it also recognises the hard work of our amazing Children in Care and Care Leavers, the work of VSK and partner services/ professionals in improving academic and wider outcomes as well as providing opportunities to have fun and share their voice.

Key Ofsted Quotes

  • Educational outcomes for children looked after are improving at key stages 1, 2 and 4. The virtual school uses personal education plans well to enable pupils to get the right support for personal and social development and academic progress.

  • Managers and staff ensure the active participation of young people in service improvements, such as in the new pathway plan and in the recruitment of staff.

  • The attendance of all children looked after up to the age of 16 is 90%. No children looked after are permanently excluded. Robust approaches by the inclusion and attendance officers of the virtual school, together with improved curriculum arrangements, have contributed to the decrease in the numbers of those experiencing fixed-term exclusions over the previous year to January 2017.

  • The careful monitoring of the progress and achievement of children looked after by the virtual school has resulted in a decrease in the differences in achievement between children looked after and their peers at the different key stages. Several supplementary and highly appropriate arrangements, such as activity days, buddying and participating in fostering workshops, improve the confidence, self-esteem and resilience of children.

  • Sound use of the Pupil Premium funding and other additional payments have contributed to improving the outcomes for children looked after. For example, it is used to fund appropriate tuition. English language support and ‘school ready’ projects for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are provided, alongside literacy and numeracy development programmes and projects that improve the emotional and social well-being of pupils. Personal education plans show clearly how well the Pupil Premium is used, directly related to the needs of the pupils. Plans focus well on pupils’ attendance and identify activities that will benefit their academic progress and social development. However, targets are not precise enough and plans do not show pupils’ views about their progress, achievements and aspirations. They also do not contain meaningful contributions from foster carers towards supporting pupils.

  • The three Children in Care Councils, separated into children of primary school age, children of secondary school age and young people aged over 16, are well established. Children’s views regularly inform the corporate parenting panel, service development and commissioning activity, through a range of engaging participation events.