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Your education

All children and young people have a right to an education. On this page you can find out how you can get support in your school and college life.

​A teacher to help you

When we start looking after you, whether you stay at your school or have to go to a new school, you will have a ‘designated teacher’ who has responsibility for children who are looked after.
 
This teacher will help you with your personal education plan (PEP). He or she will also be someone who you can talk to if you are worried about anything or if you have any questions.
 
 

Supporting you in your education

It is important to us that you get the most from your education and we will help you to achieve this to the best of your abilities.
 

Newham Virtual School

We have a team called the Newham Virtual School (which used to be known as the Children Looked After Support Project or CLASP), and their aim is to make a positive difference to the health and education of all looked after children and care leavers.
 
The Newham Virtual School has:
  • teachers
  • education and training workers
who can all help you.
 

Catching up and extra help with your school work

If you have missed school a lot in the past and/or you have fallen behind with school work, the teachers in the Newham Virtual School can work with you, the school and others to help get you the support you need.
 
If you would like extra support with your school work, you can ask your social worker to get in touch with Newham Virtual School or you can phone the team on 020 3373 1336 or email NewhamVirtualSchool@newham.gov.uk.
 

Exams

Taking exams is part of every child’s and teenager’s school life. You can plan ahead for your exams with the help of your carer and your social worker.
 
You can also talk to your teacher if there is anything that you are struggling with, or you can phone Newham Virtual School on 020 3373 1336 or email NewhamVirtualSchool@newham.gov.uk to ask for advice.
 
 

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

Every child and young person (of school age) who is looked after by us has a personal education plan (PEP) or a progression plan.
 

Your PEP

The PEP document shows:
  • how you are currently doing
  • what your teacher predicts your progress to be and
  • what support you need to help you reach your goals.
Your PEP sets short-term and long-term goals for your education, plans for the future (including your plans for your future career and your personal aims) and how your teachers, carer, social worker can help you meet your goals.
 

Checking your progress

We review your PEP with you at least every six months (or more often if you are moving). This gives you the opportunity to tell us what you think about your education.
 
At your PEP review meeting you can check your progress to see if you have met your short-term goals and are on course to meet your long-term goals and plans.
 
You can ask your teachers and social worker at your PEP meeting to give you ideas about what you need to do to reach your potential.
 

Changing schools

If you change schools while we are looking after you, your old school will send your PEP to your new school. Both schools may also have a meeting, called a ‘transition meeting’ to talk about your needs and help your new school to make plans to support you.
 
 

School life

Homework

If you have any problems with doing your homework, you should talk to your carer, your social worker or your teacher.
 
Some schools have a homework club and these can be a really useful way to get support with your homework.
 
Your carer or residential home should have a computer for you to do your homework on.
 

Parents evenings and open days

Your family, foster carer or your social worker can go to your school’s parents evening and open days. You will have a say in who goes along to the parents evening and we will write it in your personal education plan.
 

School trips

Going on school trips is part of every child’s and young person’s school life and is no different if you are being looked after by us.
 
If a school trip involves an overnight stay or a longer time away, your carer will discuss it with your social worker. Your social worker will need to write to the school to give permission for you to go.
 
If the school trip is abroad, you will need to allow plenty of time before the trip to get a passport if you don’t have one.
 
 

Sixth-form and college

If you have done your GCSE’s or other qualifications in year 11 you can choose to:
  • stay at school to do A’ levels or vocational courses
  • go to college to do A’ levels or vocational courses
  • do an apprenticeship
  • go into full-time work or volunteering, combined with part-time education or training.
You will continue to have a PEP at school or college and a progression plan if you are in training, apprenticeship or work.
 
The age at which you can leave school has been raised to to17 years old. In 2015 you will not be able to leave school until you are 18 years old.
 

Moving on to college or sixth form

If you decide to go to college or a sixth form at another school, you will still have a designated tutor or teacher at either your college or new school to give you help and support.
 
You will also still be able to get help and advice from the Newham Virtual School. You can phone the team on 020 3373 1336 or email NewhamVirtualSchool@newham.gov.uk.
 

Money to help you stay on to sixth form or go to college

If you are a looked-after child or a care leaver and you decide to stay on to sixth form or go to college, you can apply for a 16-19 Bursary of £1200 from your school or college.
 
The bursary can help to pay for the cost of studying, such as meals, equipment and transport costs.
 
To qualify for the 16-19 Bursary, you must be under 19 years old at the start of the academic year (31 August).
 
You can’t get a 16-19 Bursary if you are:
  • at university
  • on a paid apprenticeship
  • in prison or a young offender institution or released on a temporary release such as day release.
 
 

After you are 18

What you do once you are an adult – whether you get a job, go into training, or go on to university – will be part of your pathway plan and preparations for leaving care.
 
 

If you are unhappy or worried about school

If you are unhappy at school or worried about anything, particularly if you are being bullied, you should talk to your designated teacher, your social worker or your carer.
 
You can also ask the Newham Virtual School for help. You can phone the team on 020 3373 1336 or email NewhamVirtualSchool@newham.gov.uk.

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