The realities of virtual schooling

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to educating looked-after children, those in the care system who have often suffered abuse or neglect. So specialist ‘virtual school heads’ support teachers and schools in meeting these vulnerable pupils’ very particular needs. Roger Baird looks at the emotional and intellectual challenges involved – and how teachers can be better equipped

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When I came across looked-after children as a young teacher, I thought that they were just being naughty, and dealt with them accordingly.”

That was at the start of Steve Pendleton’s career. Today, with more than two decades experience under in his belt, he can see where he went wrong.

“I should have taken more time with these children. And frankly, I should have been better trained as to how to deal with them.”

Most teachers are likely to have a looked-after child as a pupil at least once in their careers and will have been at risk of making similar mistakes with these very vulnerable young ...

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