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About 
Barnet Virtual School

Barnet Virtual School supports the education of all young people who are looked after by the Borough of Barnet and all those who have been previously looked after up to the age of 25. We also have strategic duties for all children with a social worker. We are here to make sure all our young people are getting the best educational opportunities.  

Meet the Barnet Virtual School Team

Sarah Deale, Barnet Virtual School Headteacher

Sarah Deale

Head teacher

Sarah.Deale@Barnet.gov.uk

Julie Locke Barnet Virtual School Deputy Head

Julie Locke

Nicola Axford

Senior Education Lead for Children with a Social Worker

Nicola.Axford@Barnet.gov.uk

Jane Thrift

School Business Manager

Jane.Thrift@Barnet.gov.uk

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Caroline Gladkow

PEP Co-ordinator

Caroline.Gladkow@Barnet.gov.uk

Aiysha Iqbal

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Allan Newby

Caseworker

 Allan.Newby@Barnet.gov.uk

Frazier Stroud

Senior Caseworker

Frazier.Stroud@Barnet.gov.uk

Hannah Hudson

Sejal Patel

Caseworker

 Sejal.Patel@Barnet.gov.uk

Ornella Rochfort

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Izzy Underhill 

Caseworker

Who are we?

Barnet Virtual School is a team of people who support the education of all young people who are looked after by the borough of Barnet and all those who have been previously looked after up to the age of 25. We also have strategic duties for all children with a social worker. We are here to make sure all our young people  are getting the best educational opportunities.  

 

We act as local authority champions to promote the progress and educational attainment of children and young people who are or who have been looked after (also known as in care) or have CIN or CP plans,  so that they achieve the best educational outcomes possible. It is a ‘virtual school’ because it does not exist in a real building but there is a head teacher and a team of staff. Ensuring that these young receive a high-quality education is the foundation for improving their lives.

What do we do?

 As a Virtual School we:​​

  • Champion the educational needs of children and young people who are looked after by Barnet or have a social worker

  • Provide a dedicated help line Mon-Fri: 0208 359 4534

  • Have professionasl to support and challenge school and other educational settings

  • Deliver training sessions for Foster Carers, school staff and social workers

  • Provide support and guidance around all children in care and children with a social worker

 

Specifically for our children in care, we:

  • Champion the educational needs of children and young people who are looked after by Barnet

  • Promote aspiration for educational achievement by demanding it is a priority within the lives of looked after young people to improve outcomes and life chances.

  • Ensure our children and young people have access to the best possible education and every chance to progress and realise their individual potential.

  • Monitor the educational progress of all Barnet young people in care whether they attend schools in or out of borough, as if they were attending a single school

  • Assess and review Personal Education Plans (PEPs) to raise attainment for those in care to Barnet - providing advice, guidance and support for intervention where this is needed.

  • Provide additional opportunities for out of school learning and leisure through enrichment activities.

  • Management of funding for children in care e.g. pupil premium plus 

  • Quality Assurance for PEPs (Personal Education Plans) to make sure effective Action Plans are in place

  • The ability to organise one to one tuition 

  • The provision of laptops for Year 6 and above

  • Advocate for children in care if there are education issues

 

From September 2021, the responsibilities of the Virtual School extended to all children with a social worker in a strategic and advisory capacity only. We work with schools, social care and other professionals to remove barriers to education, promote joint working and improve educational outcomes.

We are keen to support schools and understand that sometimes situations can be challenging.  For Designated Teachers (D.T.) and Safeguarding Leads in schools, it is sometimes hard to know where to get support. As well as being at the end of a phone, we offer ‘New to Designated Teacher training’, termly training sessions and a twice termly newsletter. Whether you are in borough, or in one of our many schools far away from Barnet, we are very keen to see you at training and you will be given a warm welcome, information, and support. We encourage D.T.s to get in touch with us at the earliest sign of any difficulties so we can work together to minimise exclusions. We can also organise training for schools to support the education of looked after children.

We provide support and training for our Foster Carers too and urge them to get in touch for advice if they need any help with understanding the school system or with regard to their young person’s educational progress.   We have specific  training for Foster Carers which we encourage them to attend and a termly newsletter.

We have close working relationships with Social Workers and are here to inform on any educational matters.  Our Social Workers contact us as soon as a young person comes into care so that we can minimise the time out of education and ensure a high quality, well-matched school is in place.  We work together with Social Workers to minimise moving schools and disrupting education as far as we possibly can.

Lastly, and most importantly, our young people. As well as supporting and championing the education of all our young people who are looked after, we provide a range of enrichment activities in a variety of areas. We also have two dedicated Post 16 caseworkers who are there to offer support and advice on the next steps after school.

Thank you for working with us to achieve the best outcomes for our young people and making a real difference to their lives.

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