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Europe’s largest authority joins ePEP

We would like to give a warm welcome to Birmingham City Council for joining ePEP.

We’ve enjoyed working with Birmingham’s Virtual School both in training suites and in coffee shops, planning out how to get ePEP up and running without a hitch. And what a success it was! Congratulation’s are in order as Birmingham has the most completed PEPs in the space of 4 weeks – a new record.

Birmingham’s VH will also be taking his rightful place at the ePEP National Advisory Group next week, and being a part of the Nations first advisory group where with other regional representatives we can work on creating the perfect ePEP. With Birmingham hosting 2000 children in care, this is an extremely advantageous way to ensure quality as well as quantity within the PEPs of the country.

 

To learn more about being a part of our Advisory Group or to arrange an ePEP Demo, please do not hesitate to contact us either by email: Emily.farnan@egovdigital.com or by telephone: 0845 680 7403

north

Northampton gives an outstanding case study for ePEP

Background

An important part of the service improvement undertaken by Northamptonshire County Council, is the need to significantly improve the educational outcomes for all looked after children and young people (LAC) in care. Early on in the journey, it became clear that to achieve this aim, NCC needs to change the way they support, deliver and manage the personal educational plans (PEP) for LAC by streamlining the process and introducing an electronic PEP system.

An electronic PEP system will help NCC to ensure that all children in care have regular, well-run and well-documented PEP meetings with he social workers, designated teachers in school, the children and their carers, and the Virtual School’s team members. An electronic PEP system will provide instant access to data and information and support the Virtual Schools to ensure that:

  • –  The PEP process is better coordinated and delivered;
  • –  The reporting of progress from the PEP process provides accurate and up-to-date live data;
  • –  There is immediate access to evidence of progress;
  • –  There us more effective targeting of the available resources;
  • –  Pupil Premium Plus spends and outcomes are better monitored and evaluated and
  • –  The ‘Voice of the Child’ is clearly evident throughout the PEP process.After careful consideration of the different aspects and needs of the service, NCC decided to procure the electronic platform developed by eGov Digital, a market leader in this field. The contract for the system was signed in the first few days of September 2015 and on the 2nd November 2015, the system went live.The Virtual Schools team in LSE have been leading on this work. They have been supported internally by a data analyst from the NCC BIPI, a project manager and a business analyst from LGSS and IT. In addition, the experts from Egov Digital have been fundamental for the successful implementation of the system in Northampton; their contribution to the project has been and

    continues to be the key to the success of this enterprise.

     

Electronic PEP Implementation in Northamptonshire

NCC has about a large number of children in care who attend the over 300+ schools in and out the county. There are over 150 designated teachers (DTs) and about 200 social workers involved in the process, and we should not forget the carers. The scope and the size of the task to move from paper to electronic PEP in such a short time were considerable.

We started the implementation of ePeps in early September 2015; at the first meeting with eGov Digital we agreed to have the system live on the 1st November. Between September and November the project team worked in close collaboration with Gary Daniels and his team in eGov Digital. In the two months we succeeded to:

  • 􏰀  Agree the scope, time and deliverables for the project and started the implementation;
  • 􏰀  Look at the existing PEP process and bring it in line with the ePEP model;
  • 􏰀  Organise extensive training for the key players in the PEP process, i.e. social workers,designated teachers and the Virtual Schools team; The training was delivered in October by eGov Digital; it was very well-delivered and very well-received, which is evidenced by the fact that a number of PEPs were completed in the first week of going live.
  • 􏰀  Work on the set up of the Northamptonshire ePEP platform and users.
  • 􏰀  Quality-assure the existing LAC and PEP data in NCC and uploading into the ePEP platform.
  • 􏰀  Work with IT to ensure that all the prerequisites for the online system and access are inplace and working.
  • 􏰀  Communicate the changes and improvements with all stakeholders.The electronic PEP system in Northamptonshire went live as planned on the 2nd November and for the sceptics: there were no major problems; the small issues we encountered, e.g. firewalls not letting emails coming through, these were identified and rectified very quickly.As with every big change, there is a lot more to do in the next few months to support the users through the transition from paper to ePeps, i.e., answer all queries; QA the data and reporting; provide additional training and work on resolving any arising issues.

 

We are learning as we are moving on and are confident that with the excellent professional support we are getting from eGov Digital and the full engagement from our teams, by the end of next term the electronic PEP system will be fully embedded in the processes and the educational outcomes for the LAC children will see considerable improvement.

Nina Thomas
Senior Project Manager

To learn more about what ePEP can do for you, or to arrange an ePEP Demo, please do not hesitate to contact us either by email: Emily.farnan@egovdigital.com or by telephone: 0845 680 7403

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SMART Targets

After the success of the first ever Advisory Group the Virtual Heads from around the country worked together to help develop the new SMART target section.

A smart target is defined as such:
S = Specific

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant, Rigorous, Realistic, and Results Focused
T = Timely and Trackable

Smart Targets are significantly important when setting goals for looked after children, and we felt that by developing our targets section we could now depend on better, smarter targets for the young people to strive for.

Within this updated section you can do a number of things. The funding tab allows you to choose pupil premium at regular dated intervals, one off funding, yearly funding or Regular Funding.

You can choose to duplicate the target with a different intervention type, to save you the hassle of having to re-write each funding request. The Virtual School can they decide if they wish to accept or decline the funding request.

 

For more information on our S.M.A.R.T target section or an ePEP Demo, please do not hesitate to contact us either by email: Emily.farnan@egovdigital.com or by telephone: 0845 680 7403

Squiddle Platform

Squiddle Private Space for Children

Squiddle is a new development due to launched in Mayfair London on the 9th of June 2015 .

The secure Squiddle platform provides a private space for young people to communicate with their teacher, social worker or any other professional supporting the child. The concept turns Facebook upside down allowing the child to securely record chronological events and educational achievements privately. This Private space allows the teacher to communicate directly to the young person about anything supporting the child’s educational progress.

This platform will allow the young person to upload photographs, documents and videos from any device connected to the Internet. Teachers and Social Workers can also upload supporting evidence including exam results, attainment information, attendance history, to support and in rich the child’s record of achievement.

Importing documents and photographs can also be uploaded via the ePEP timeline, allowing professionals total control over content released to the young person. Sensitivity has also been accounted for with unique disclosure tools to allow teachers and social workers the facility to time-lock photographs and documents for when the child comes of age.

Birth history including life story work can also be recorded using this platform enabling Social Workers and Carers to record chronological events starting from when a child is born.

The ePEP Timeline will allow professionals a secure platform to communicate with the young person via internal chat email within the private space. The young person cannot directly communicate with friends from within this private space, this environment will only allow direct access to their own educational information and achievements.

Squiddle also has an educational calendar allowing Teachers to enter event’s and educational reminders for the children. Young people can also use the calendar to record and track homework, timetables, and exam dates. The new platform can be accessed from mobile devices such as iPads and mobile phones. This secure environment is hosted via https: platform similar to ePEP online.  Squiddle has been developed with young people and professionals from local authorities currently using ePEP online. This new feature will be available soon.

Pupil-Premium-Plus

Pupil Premium Plus

Additional funds for children in care become available from April 2014 through the Pupil Premium Plus (PP+). Besides increasing the amount to £1900 per child, the funds will be available from the first day a child comes in to care.

The Virtual School head in each local authority will be responsible for administrating the Pupil Premium Plus (PP+). Any spend will have to be accounted through the child’s personal education plan and will have to be targeted on the educational needs of the young person. If the local authority fails to distribute the allocated funds they will be clawed back by the government.

It is statutory that every child in care, in education, should have an up to date Personal Education Plan. The government is making it a requirement that details of the Pupil Premium will need to be recorded in the PEP and how it addresses their educational needs This will make the local authority and schools more accountable.

Schools can expect Ofsted to look in detail how the Pupil Premium is spent for individual children in care.

Department of Education Pupil Premium website

Ofsted School Inspection Handbook

Statutory-Guidance

Statutory Guidance ePEP

Statutory Guidance and Personal Education Plans

There are four pieces of statutory guidance that determine what a PEP contains, how it should be used, who does what and when it needs to be completed and reviewed.

For social workers,  The Children Act 1989 Guidance and RegulationsVolume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review,covers the PEP and how it should be completed from a social care view point.

Being part of the care plan Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) need to review PEPs. TheIRO Handbook says IRO’s need access to a completed PEP at least three days before the care planning meeting. Something ePEP easily accomplishes as IRO’s can have access to a young person’s EPEP at anytime.

Local authorities have a statutory duty in Promoting the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children. This guidance cover their role in supporting the PEP process.

The post of Designated Teacher, like the Special Needs Co-ordinator, is statutory in schools. The school governing body has to make sure their school is meeting all its lawful obligations regarding children in care.

These are defined in, The Role and Responsibilities of the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children: Statutory Guidance for school governing bodies. Chapter 4 of the guidance is about Designated Teacher and their role in its completion. It gives a good overview of the whole process.

There is no single clear cut guide, just for PEP’s. It is a matter of reading the four bits of guidance together about PEPs that gives an overall view of what is expected.

From time to time the DfE re writes or updates parts of guidance, such as the guidance on the Pupil Premium ,which did not exist when the above guidance was published.

The PEP is part of the care plan and school record.

Where they are used effectively, PEPs improve the educational experience of the child by helping everyone gain that clear and shared understanding about the teaching and learning provision necessary to meet the child’s education needs and how that will be provided.

For this reason the school and local authority (through strong links between the designated teacher and, for example, the local authority virtual school head) have a shared responsibility for making the PEP a living and useful document.

The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after children:  Statutory Guidance for school governing bodies, section 4.1.4.

The PEPs have come about because children in care, overall, fail in education. The PEP is a tool to help focus on a child’s progress through education.

The ePEP platform has been developed with local authorities, schools and young people to meet the government’s PEP requirements but brings greater transparency on everyone’s roll in making a child’s education a success.  EPEP is a very flexible platform, catering for children in early years, statutory school age and post -16.

Local authorities can individually program facets of the ePEP environment to respond to localised need. Thus being able to tailor how professionals and young people access and complete the PEP.

Provided an ePEP user logs on to the internet, an ePEP can be opened at any time, this allows easy on the move, office, school or home access.

Pupil-Premium-Resource-Tracking

NEW Pupil Premium Resource Tracker

The Virtual School Heads will be responsible for managing the Pupil Premium. The Pupil Premium must be used for the looked after child’s educational needs as described in their Personal Education Plan (PEP). 

ePEP online has launched the new Pupil Premium Resource Tracker developed with Stoke-on-Trent and Kent County Council.

The Pupil Premium Resource Tracker (PPR) enables local authorities to track expenditure against individual targets for looked after children. The Virtual School will now be able to see how much money has been spent on different types of interventions based on the Sutton Trust (categories).

From the financial year 2014 to 2015, the VSH will have control for funding for looked-after children. The ePEP will link directly to funding for the young person – Pupil Premium Plus, currently set at £1900 per annum which will only go to schools with a high quality up to date PEP: so ‘no PEP: no Premium’

Virtual Schools will be expected to distribute Pupil Premium Plus termly and this will need to link to a termly PEP, which fits with education timescales. Pupil Premium Plus will be available to a larger number of LAC (the criteria has moved to the first day in care, increasing the average local authorities expenditure from 120k to 700k).

From September 2014 we would like to encourage local authorities using paper based PEP’s to consider using ePEP online (the Electronic Personal Education Plan). The system is being used with some of the largest authorities within the country including Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire and Kent County Council.

Once ePEP is up and running, there will be a reduction in workload for social workers but higher expectations in terms of termly PEPs, quality and completion rates.

Government-Statistics-Looked-After-Children

Government Statistics: Looked-After Children

Government Statistics from May 2010 onwards are available on GOV.UK. You can find our archived statistics on the National Archives. Note: the search function is not available on archived content so please use the filters on the left of each page.

A document reviewing the comparability of government statistics of children looked after by local authorities in the different countries of the United Kingdom was published on 30 May 2014.

All content provided is copyright of Crown Copyright. Please find links below to the source information and use the following useful links provided to find out more.

Gov.uk original source >

DFE-Clarify-Virtual-Head's-Responsibility

DFE Clarify Virtual School Head’s Responsibility

FAQ ‘s – Pupil Premium and the role of the Virtual School Head.

The Department for Education clarified how the Virtual School Head (VSH) has a pivotal role in distributing and monitoring the pupil premium for looked after children on the 20 March 2014.

The pupil premium will be managed by the Virtual School Head who will be responsible for its distribution and effectiveness in raising achievement and will be accountable to the Director of Children’s Services and/or Chief Executive and the Lead Member for Children.

There is no requirement for an authority to pass the funding on to school to meet the needs identified in the personal education plan. The expectation is that funding will go to schools via the Virtual Head.

Key points of the guidance:

  • The virtual school head decides how the funding is distributed
  • The VSH is expected to pass on the pupil premium to a child’s education setting  to meet additional needs set out in the PEP.
  • The pupil premium can be passed on termly or annually.
  • Funding not used by the end of the financial year goes back to the department.
  • The VSH decides the amount of funding – it can be higher or lower than the £1900 of grant allocation per child.
  • Funding can be pooled.
  • The pupil premium should not be used to fund central services – it is to be used expressly to raise the achievement of disadvantaged pupils.
  • The pupil premium does not replace the personal education allowance.
  • The pupil premium is more focussed on support to improve the educational achievement of LAC and close the gap between LAC and none LAC.
  • The pupil premium should always support the educational achievement as described in the personal education plan.
ePEP-Attendance-Tracker

ePEP Attendance Tracker Hits Target

We have recently added the ePEP Attendance Tracker feature allowing third party suppliers to feed weekly or live attendance figures directly into the ePEP via our new API plug-in.

The ePEP Attendance Tracker also allows teachers to manually enter attendance data before the PEP meeting takes place, including notes and explanations on why the child might have been absent. The live attendance information can be recorded weekly or monthly and is displayed through the NEW Control Panel and within the Professional section.

Attendants can now be tracked graphically on individual children, year groups or total number of children with schools by the Virtual School.

The two main suppliers for providing within and outside attendance data are Welfare Call Ltd and Contact Group Ltd.

Both organisations have full access to our ePEP API plug-in. Reports can be directly accessed from within the ePEP platform by the Virtual School, designated teacher and social worker, manual attendance data can recorded if no third-party supplier collects data for your authority.

The ePEP system will alert professionals via e-mail externally if the child’s attendance drops below 85%.