Barnsley Virtual School

University of Oxford and Childcare Trust research

The research, recently published in 'Starting out right: early education and looked after children December 2016' concluded that:

  • early adversity leads to poorer outcomes for children in care in comparison with children not in care, including a significant education attainment gap
  • the gap between children in care and children not in care begins before school and there is a strong case for early intervention in relation to attachment, socio-emotional skills, self-regulation, language development and health and physical needs
  • there is a strong case for early intervention, through attendance at early years settings, from age two and upwards. Good quality early years provision can narrow the gap for disadvantaged children
  • children in care – due to their unique risk profile – may be more sensitive to variation in early years provision. In particular, quality and stability may be more important for children in care than for other children
  • there is also tentative evidence that pre-school attendance may support carers and reduce the likelihood of placement breakdown, and that involvement of carers in children’s education and care experience is important

(Matthews, Harding Clancy and Dixon, July 2016)

Early years pupil premium

Looked after children, aged three to four years old, in Foundation Stage 1, are eligible for the early years pupil premium. 

This means the school or setting will receive an additional 53p an hour to meet the child's needs. This amounts to £302.10 in total if the child attends the full 570 free hours of education they're entitled to.

The legislation for the allocation of early year pupil premium funding indicates that, in line with the looked after children pupil premium grant, the Virtual School Head has responsibility to oversee the allocation of this funding.  In Barnsley, this is done in partnership with the early years admission team. 

Monitoring outcomes for pre-school children

  • On entry to care, pre-school Termly Personal Education Plans(TPEPs) for three and four year olds are requested in line with the current TPEP processes for school aged children (see TPEP policy).
  • Updates to pre-school TPEPs are requested three times a year. The date for collection is set in line with the agreed dates for early Years settings to report cohort numbers to us for allocation of funding.
  • Where a setting hasn't previously had a child in care, the Virtual School offers bespoke training to the setting, to support the implementation of the process.
  • All electronic communication is undertaken through the Egress secure system.

Two year old funding

All children in care are also eligible for two year old funding, which provides 30 hours of preschool education.

Health Visitors inform foster carers and social workers of this entitlement as a part of the looked after children(LAC) health assessment process.

Support for early years practitioners

Designated teachers and safeguarding leads from voluntary and private settings are encouraged to attend the Designated Teacher Network as part of their continuing professional development.

The Virtual School Head works in partnership with the early years advisers to make sure settings are aware of their responsibilities. The Virtual School can provide bespoke training at the request of a setting.

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