My name is Kate Leyshon and I am the Headteacher of the Virtual School in Sutton. I joined in 2018, having previously worked in a secondary school setting in Crawley, West Sussex. The staff at the Virtual School are passionate about supporting the needs of Looked After Children and want to ensure that young people leaving care are able to gain access to the information they require to help them transition successfully to the next stages of their educational lives. Please explore the information on the website and do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further support as we will be more than willing to help you.
Deciding which college, 6th form or training pathway you will follow after completing Year 11 is a big decision and it will be important to consider a few options before making your final choice. Your key professionals will provide advice and guidance around destination planning as part of your Year 11 'PEP meetings' and as part of your Pathway Plan where you will set out goals for your future. For some young people, the change from Year 11 to further education can be challenging; especially if you are also moving home at the same time or at a later stage. Your social worker and the Virtual School will work closely with you to make sure any changes affecting your education happen as smoothly as possible.
The government expects that all young people are in full time education, training or employment until 18, by which point you will have started on a long term pathway towards your goals for the world of work. It will be important to ensure you are 'job ready' by having an up to date CV, National Insurance Number and bank account. Apprenticeships can be a great way to enter the workforce, providing on the job training at many levels and allowing you to earn as you train. However, lots of young people enter the workforce starting with casual work that can fit around their studies and this is a great way to earn extra money while you are studying. The Virtual School can provide additional advice and guidance about careers planning; further education options, CV's and job interviews as part of your transition to 'Leaving Care'.
All young people aged 16-18 who are 'Looked After' and study full time are entitled to a bursary, which will be paid to you by your college, 6th form or training centre. Please click on the link below for more information about the bursary. If you to continue to study at college from age 19, then there is advice available about Student Finance options to meet the costs of some courses which are no longer offered free after 19. All colleges and 6th forms have a Designated Person who supports young people in care, and care leavers and they will be able to advice you about support available.
The Virtual School will work with you to discuss your support needs, and how best we can work together to support you through your further education journey once you have left school. Your views about how we work together will be set out in a data sharing agreement as appropriate so that your key professionals are clear about your wishes. Many young people tell us that they would like to continue to have termly 'PEP' reviews, and this is a good opportunity to meet at least once a term with your social worker, designated person at college or 6th form and virtual school case manager to make sure that you are on track and receiving the support you are entitled to. The Virtual School will also track your attendance and progress so that if there are any difficulties, we can offer you support. Support may include guidance about your options, advocating for your at college or 6th form or access to additional revision resources or tuition if needed and young people can request additional support by contacting their social worker or Virtual School as needed. We can also provide careers guidance and advice about job hunting, or step-by-step planning for university if that is your goal.
Virtual School Headteacher, Virtual School for Looked After Children
Tel: 0208 770 6005 / 07515137705