‘Virtual head’ for schools

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A ‘VIRTUAL headteacher’ has been appointed by a council to help children in care do better at school.

Derbyshire County Council said the teacher, which is an actual person, will set up a ‘virtual school’ with a teacher from every county school designated to help provide support and mentoring to boost attainment.

They would work together to ensure children in care, which may number only one or two per school, receive the right support to help them achieve.

Currently performance of young people in care at Key Stage Four across the county is well below the national average.

Ian Thomas, Derbyshire County Council’s strategic director for children and younger adults, said: “Only six per cent of care leavers go to university while 40 per cent of prisoners under 21 were in care.

“Research also shows that children in care are more likely to become teenage parents, be unemployed and are more likely to need mental health services.

“We’re working hard to change this.

“The virtual head teacher will act as a champion with schools to seize opportunities and drive forward innovative ideas to help children in care succeed.”

The Government plans to make the virtual headteacher role statutory, following successful pilots.