Agenda item

Virtual School Transitions 2021

The Head of Virtual Schools will present the school transitions 2021 to the Board.


The Head of Access to Education presented the virtual schools transitions 2021 report to the Board. As way of introduction, the Board were made aware that the Virtual schools governing body had asked the Head of Virtual Schools to provide some clarity regarding key transitions in the education of children looked after e.g. significant point where a child is moving from education setting to the next and these are points in a child’s live if the support isn’t right, that learning and progress can be put back.


All children looked after have a personal education plan (PEP) and the PEO process supports pupils at transition points throughout their school journey; this includes transition into care, emergency moves and natural transitions such as starting reception, moving to secondary school or post 16 education.


The routines and processes in place that support all transitions must be flexible to ensure the needs of individual children are met. Where possible children will need time to become familiar with their new surroundings, at their own pace and with support from their key person. Planning should start 12 months preceding any natural transition point and then be a continuous and evolving process that can be adapted to meet the needs of the individual child. Many activities such as joint meetings between settings and school staff can be on-going throughout the year.


In terms of support, the Officer outlined the following in terms of the following transitions:




Children aged 2+ who attend an educational provision are required to have a Personal Education Plan (PEP) which records both care planning information as well as educational next steps to ensure appropriate progress is made. Normally, this transition is quite straightforward, by there are exceptions.


Last year;


·         28 children transitioned from nursery to reception 

·         6 of those children are now in their forever homes and are no longer looked after

·         3 children had SEN support needs and 0 had an EHCP

·         9 children started reception in schools outside of Middlesbrough

Primary to Secondary


The transition to secondary school is a huge step for all children and especially big step for children who are looked after. When a child moves to secondary school they no longer remain in one class all day, but are required to move around the school. Children have to deal with timetables and a wide variety of subjects.

Some common transitional problems for children are as follows:


1.    When leaving primary school children go from being the oldest to the youngest in their new school.

2.    From having one teacher in primary school children will have to cope with as many as ten or more teachers with different teaching styles and personalities.

3.    Secondary school is much bigger and children will go from having one classroom to ten or more.

4.    There is more homework to be done.

5.    A larger number of textbooks need to be transported and organised.

6.    A longer school day.

7.    Greater competition both academically and in sports and activities.

8.    Faster pace of teaching

9.    Having to make new friends – this is especially difficult if a child’s primary school friends have not moved to the same secondary school.

In order to support year 6 transition all looked after children received £1,000 Pupil Premium Plus to ensure enhanced and bespoke transition arrangements were in place.


Last year:

·         43 children transitioned from primary to secondary

·         7 of those children are now in their forever homes and are no longer looked after

·         12 children had SEN support needs and 10 had an EHCP

·         23 children started secondary in schools outside of Middlesbrough


Post 16


Young people left school on the last Friday in June. All young people of school leaving age needed to do one of the following:


·         stay in full-time education, for example at school, sixth form college or further education college

·         start an apprenticeship or traineeship

·         spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering while also doing part-time education or training

The local authority has a duty to make sure young people are offered a suitable place by the end of September. This is known as the September Guarantee.

Care leavers are eligible for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund which can help with things like books, travel and equipment.


Last year;

               47 children transitioned from secondary to post 16 

               2 of those children are now in their forever homes and are no longer looked after

               15 children had SEN support needs and 13 had an EHCP

               38 had an offer of full time education and the other 9 had a training place offer.


September 2021 Education, employment and training figures:


NEET              23%

Education        66%

Employment    6%

Training           5%


Finally the Board were shown some diagrams which outlined the planning process for a child looked after to ensure transition goes as smoothly as possible. E.g. EYFS planning will begin 2 years in advance of a child starting school.

The Chair thanked the officer for his presentation.


AGREED- That the presentation be noted.


Supporting documents: