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Realising the potential of Children in Care

Congratulations to our Post16 Award Winners!

Posted on by Judy Molyneux

Virtual School Kent held their sixth annual Post 16 Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 16th October in the magnificent surroundings of Rochester Corn Exchange.

The Awards recognise and celebrate the effort and achievements of our children in care and care leavers at school, college or university, in their apprenticeships or other training providers, as well as for their contributions to their wider community. The latter includes recognition and celebration of the hard work of members of the Young Adult Council. This year, we were also delighted to welcome our former Year 11 students to the ceremony to join in the celebrations for the first time.

As in previous years, there were lots of nominations and this year 106 awards were awarded to young people with many able to attend on the night. There were also 3 well deserved awards for professionals who support our care experienced young people reach their full potential. We were very pleased to welcome Roger Gough, Matt Dunkley, Sarah Hammond and Paul Startup to present some of the awards.

It was a fantastic night with almost 150 attendees that included young people, their foster carers, social workers and personal advisers. It was inspiring to listen to the success stories of our young people, including one of our Care Leavers who has recently begun studying law at Oxford University and another whose amazing efforts had led to a transformed attitude to learning and lots of certificates!

We were also pleased to welcome our guest speaker, Sophia Hall, a care leaver who makes YouTube videos about her experiences of care and studying at Oxford University as a Care Leaver. She, alongside VSK’s care experienced Participation Support Officer and former KCC Apprentice, Sophia Dunstan, spoke about their different routes to success and the recognition that there are many different paths to this.

The evening was topped off by an impromptu speech from one of our young people who spoke movingly about his journey to this country, his achievements at college since arriving and his aspirations for himself and all the young people in the room.

Well done again to all the winners!