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What is The HOPE - Bristol's virtual school for children in care (CiC)?
The HOPE is the name of Bristol's virtual school for children in care and is a structure to improve the education of CiC. It enables the attainment, progression, attendance, exclusion and out of school hours learning of children in care to be monitored and tracked to enable support to be put in place where needed. The HOPE is led by the interim head teacher, Rachael Thomas.
The pupils of The HOPE attend real schools/settings. The head teacher and/or the designated teacher of each real school provide information to The HOPE's head teacher to allow her to monitor and track each pupil and to advise on any support available to help pupils achieve their potential.
The HOPE is a cross phase school and our pupils range from 3 to 18 years.
Who is a pupil of The HOPE?
The HOPE includes three groups of children and young people who are:
- in the care of / a care leaver of Bristol and educated in Bristol
- in the care of / a care leaver of Bristol and educated in another local authority
- in the care of another local authority but educated in Bristol
Many individual children and young people in care enjoy and do well at school. However, as a group, children in care do not perform as well in their education as their peers. The idea of The HOPE is to have an overarching structure to review how all the children and young people in the three groups mentioned above are doing, and to put in place systems to support and challenge schools and other agencies to help them do better.
What does The HOPE do and how does it work?
The job of The HOPE is to monitor and track how our pupils are doing and put systems, processes, structures and support in place to help our pupils do the best they can. The HOPE's head teacher doesn't work with individual pupils but she does check on all of our pupils e.g:
- How well they are attending their real school
- How they are getting on in individual subjects
- What help they need and what we all might be able to provide to support them to do the very best they can.
The HOPE works across Bristol City Council and involves many different departments and organisations, all working together to try to deliver the best possible education for children and young people in care. We work with:
- Individual schools
- Social care staff
- Elected members
The HOPE's head teacher also works with other local authorities who either have children looked after by Bristol in their schools/settings or that have placed children and young people that they look after in Bristol.
Educational support for individual children and young people in care is carried out by the Education of Children Looked After Service (ECLAS). The HOPE's head teacher works closely with ECLAS which is part of CYPS Safeguarding. You can find out more about the work of ECLAS on our Education of Children Looked After Service pages.
It is the role of the social worker and carer, (the latter supported by the Family Placement social worker) to promote good attendance of CiC. Schools and settings are ultimately responsible for the attendance of CiC. Where attendance issues emerge, the local authority has a responsibility to challenge and support schools to improve attendance. CiC attendance - CYPS responsibilities (pdf, 11 KB)(opens new window) provides further information.
The HOPE has its own governing body. You can find out who is on the governing body and read a short piece from one of our governors about their work in Who's on the virtual school Governing body (pdf, 30 KB)(opens new window) and Being a VS Governor (pdf, 23 KB)(opens new window).
The HOPE has its own Development Plan for 2013 - 2014.
This depends on what you need. In general, the HOPE's head teacher is responsible for school-wide issues, and ECLAS supports individual children and young people, and is responsible for group projects. So:
- If you have a question about systems or policies relating to the education of a CiC, you should contact the HOPE's head teacher
- If you are looking for individual teaching, advice and/or support for a pupil, you should contact ECLAS. ECLAS is also the service to contact if you would like additional education input at a Personal Education Plan (PEP) meeting.
Many other services contribute to the work of The HOPE. You can find out more about them by clicking on the web links or reading the information below.
- Behaviour Improvement Service (BIS)
- Education Psychology Service (EPS)
- Education Welfare Service (EWS)
- Special Educational Needs (SEN)
- EMTAS 4 Success (external site)
- Bristol Collaborative Service (BCS)
BCS is a multi-disciplinary approach to improving the stability of children in care by building resilience in the child/young person, the carer and the team around the child. The team works in partnership with those involved to plan consistent responses to presenting behaviours and to plan around the child's education and social care needs. Referrals are made on Protocol via the child's social worker.
- School Improvement Officers (SIOs)
SIOs support schools to strengthen the understanding of their roles and responsibilities; ensure that they fulfill the statutory requirements and signpost and broker support when appropriate.