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A large mural created by young people of York in care.

Your education

When you’re in care, your social worker is responsible for making sure you have access to a good education. This means making sure you have a school or college to attend, that you have any support you need with your education together, and that there is a plan for your education. They will also help you think about your plans for your future education, training and employment.

The Virtual School isn’t like your average school, it isn’t made of bricks and doesn’t have classrooms… it’s more of an office that makes sure young people in care get a good education and any support they may need.

The people who work for the Virtual School work with all schools that children from York attend, but have an office to bring everything together. This means that if you live outside of York, the Virtual School still makes sure you get a good education and the right support with your education.

There are lots of things that the Virtual School is in charge of, such as checking your Personal Education Plan, how Pupil Premium Plus for children in care is spent, and getting you additional support.

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A designated teacher is a particular teacher in school whose job it is to make sure you get a good education and the right support. They may be someone you know well or someone you just see occasionally.

It may be that you choose to speak to a different member of staff and that’s fine, they will keep your designated teacher informed about how you're doing. If you don’t know who your designated teacher is, you should speak to your form tutor.

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Your Personal Education Plan (PEP) is there to help you:

  • have your say about your education
  • tell us what you want to do at school and how you’re getting on
  • agree what support, if any, you may need to make sure you achieve what you want

As part of your PEP, your teacher, carer and social worker can work with you to make a plan of action and set targets you’d like to achieve in school. You can also speak up if you’re finding things hard and see extra help would be useful. Your PEP gets reviewed once a term.

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Pupil Premium Plus is money from the government to support children and young people in care with their education, and improve your educational outcomes. Pupil Premium can provide you with pastoral support and additional after-school or lunch time classes for core subjects. In some circumstances Pupil Premium can be used to provide revision books, additional tuition, aspiration raising activities or technology that will improve your ability to engage with your education.

You should talk about how you think your Pupil Premium should be spent at your Personal Education Plan meeting. If you have a particular idea about what it should be spent on you should say why and how it would help you with your education. If you’re not happy with what your Pupil Premium is being used for, you can speak to your designated teacher.

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A Specialist Employment and Training Adviser is someone who can help you plan for your future. This can include supporting you whilst at secondary school, and helping you as you move from secondary school to further education, employment or training.

A Specialist Employment and Training Adviser can:

  • offer information, advice or guidance in year 8 or 9 about your GCSE option choices
  • offer advice and guidance at a place that suits you; this could be school, out in the community or at home
  • give you practical help, for example, help with writing CVs, applications, attending open days, interview skills and looking at education funding arrangements
  • attend review meetings, PEP meetings and multi-agency meetings
  • help you apply for additional support in education after you turn 16
  • follow-up applications to ensure you receive a suitable offer of learning and successfully take up the offer
  • remain involved in supporting your progress in post-16 education, employment or training until the age of 19
  • offer individual support or signpost to relevant support in school, sixth forms or colleges if it is needed

Your Specialist Employment and Training Adviser can continue to support you post-16 until reaching the age of 17 years and 6 months, when an arranged handover is agreed with you and the Pathway Education, Training and Employment Officer. The Pathway Team will continue to support you with education, training and employment until you reach the age of 25.

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If you're thinking about going to university, there is lots of support available to help you with this.

The Local Offer for Care Leavers sets out exactly what support is offered to young people leaving the care of City of York Council. Even if you have not yet left care, it can be really helpful to look at this to help you plan your future.

As well as support from local authority, many universities also offer bursaries and a package of support to care leavers and some also have an extended offer to help you visit their university to see if it is right for you. You might want to contact the universities you are interested in attending, or ask a worker to help you with this, so you can explore what support they could offer you as a care leaver.

Become, a charity for children in care and care leavers, has information on their website and about the support available if you would like to go into higher or further education:

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An apprenticeship is a job with training. You will work alongside experienced staff, gain job-specific skills, earn a wage and get holiday pay. This route often leads to permanent employment or university.

There is lots more information about apprenticeships on the City of York Council website.

Apprenticeships newsletter

You can sign up for an e-newsletter to find out about current apprenticeship vacancies in York and the surrounding areas. You will also get emails about upcoming apprenticeship recruitment events where you can meet with businesses and find out more about their vacancies and apprenticeships.

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In the UK, your education is free, and your social worker will find a local school or college for you to attend.

At school and college you will learn English and Maths, as well as other subjects, and you will also have the opportunity to join in with sports, creative activities and create friendships.

Your social worker is responsible for making sure you have access to a good education.

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