COVID-19 and looked after children: how can virtual schools keep up?

Virtual schools and data access
By Toby Lester | 16th December 2020 | 13 min read

All children have had their lives significantly altered this year, with their education put on pause and turned upside down, as well as them having to comprehend the family and social impacts of lockdown and the associated restrictions.  

However, disadvantaged and vulnerable children have been affected most dramatically, and this is the category in which looked after children fall under. Indeed, teachers in the most deprived areas are over 300% more likely to report that the pandemic has put their pupils over four months behind in their learning than teachers in the least deprived schools.   

The Catch-Up Premium 

It is for this reason that the government announced £1 billion of funding for schools, known as the Catch-Up Premium. This included millions of pounds specifically designated to supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable children - including looked after children - whose education has been most affected by the pandemic. 

Why is data so important? 

Virtual schools are able to tell a lot about the impact of the pandemic and, subsequently, the impact of the Catch-Up Premium on the children in their care, if only they harness the power of data, particularly real-time data. 

Real-time data gives virtual schools the information they need to understand all aspects of education of the children in their care – not just academic attainment and progress, but also attendance, behaviour and Personal Education Plans (PEPs). With the introduction of the Catch-Up Premium, this is a bigger job than ever; but the right technology can make it effortless and intuitive. 

Introducing Looked After Call 

Looked After Call is a school information management system for virtual schools, providing a secure, centralised platform that enables them to identify trends and action early interventions to support the education and wellbeing of looked after children.  

Virtual schools can effortlessly monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and the Catch-Up Premium by using Looked After Call to receive data about children in their care in real time from the school, enabling them to be proactive in spotting trends, monitoring progress and carrying out necessary safeguarding. 

To find out more about Looked After Call, get in touch.