Extension of the Virtual Headteacher’s role – Friday 18 June 2021

This week I report on the extension of the role of the Virtual Headteacher, the publication of mental health and wellbeing resources for schools and additional funding to enable more schools to deliver the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Extension of the role of the Virtual Headteacher
This week the Government announced more than £16 million for councils to extend the role of Virtual School Heads from September this year, so that children with a social worker in England will benefit from further dedicated support in school and at college to help level up their outcomes in education and reach their full potential.

A further £3 million in funding has also been confirmed for a new pilot, where Virtual School Heads will support looked-after children and care leavers in post-16 education. Launching in October, the pilot will enable Virtual School Heads to expand their work into further education settings.

Both programmes will build on the existing role of a Virtual School Head, who helps champion and improve the educational outcomes for children in or on the edge of care, enhancing relationships between schools, colleges and local authorities so that pupils receive support from professionals that will help them develop and progress throughout their time in education.

Mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges
Earlier this week the DfE added a list of mental health and wellbeing resources for teachers, school staff and school leaders to help to develop a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Additional funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme
The DfE has announced it will work with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, providing a £3.4 million funding boost to expand opportunities to up to 291 more schools not currently delivering it.  This will enable access for young people who may previously have faced barriers to taking part and the investment is part of the Government’s levelling up agenda to ensure all pupils have fair and equal access to high-quality enrichment activities.