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Reading Schemes:

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Norfolk Virtual School is very lucky to be part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program which is offered to all our Looked After Children age 0-5. This fully funded book gifting program posts out free high-quality books each month. We have already been able to send out 1558 books since we launched in January 2020. These books belong to the child for life, and upon ‘graduation’ at the age of 5 or when they leave care.

Story Cafés

To be held at one of the Norfolk libraries for children in Years 1 to 3. The Story Cafés will be a continuation of the Dolly Parton Initiative. The story cafés will take place one morning in the school holiday and there will be a different session offered for each year group. However, siblings can attend the same session. Each session will use the same stimulus (book) but have a differentiated activity. By holding three cafes over the year the children and carers would be given the opportunity to meet and build relationships with each other and have the opportunity to explore the books in an imaginative way with the young people.

Waterstones Giving Tree

Every year leading up to Christmas, Norfolk Virtual School and Waterstones team up to launch the Giving Tree appeal. This is a Christmas project aimed at bringing the joy of books and reading to the county’s Looked After Children. 2019 was the 13th year we have run the appeal and was the largest to date with over 1000 books purchased by the public and sent to over 850 children in care.

Adventure Activities:

Whitlingham Activity Days

Set within the beautiful Whitlingham Country Park, The Virtual School provides young people with the opportunity to take part in adventure activities with a focus on team building techniques, learning new skills, communication and creating that sense of adventure. Throughout the year we have a number of places available for Looked After Children to benefit from different sessions including paddle boarding, sailing and climbing. For more information about Whitlingham Adventure please visit their website. https://www.whitlinghamadventure.org.uk/

Learning & Skills Development:

Stadium Stars

We have partnered with the Norwich Community Sports Foundation to create a new exciting opportunity for our Year 5 children. The primary focus will be on creative writing and Maths, and where possible incorporating other subjects such as History.

Threaded throughout the programme will be opportunities to develop communication self-esteem and team skills. All set within the amazing Norwich City Football Club. The programme in normal circumstances will run Spring term to Spring term, so the children will have the opportunity to participate for a year. This would also enable the children to make friendships with all those on the course.

Competitions:

Monthly Virtual School Competitions

The monthly Virtual School competitions are released on 15th of each month with the winner announced on the last day of the month. Each month has a different theme and competitions are broad in scope. Topics are varied and fun. We encourage all Looked After Children to participate. Everyone will receive a special certificate for entering. Prizes are awarded and sent directly to carers. Competitions have been designed to engage as many young people as possible of different ages. Examples, of past competition include:

  • Junk Modelling Invention

  • Who Am I Storytelling

  • Toilet Roll creations

  • Guess My Favourite Story

Exam Preparation and Revision:

PETXI Sessions and Power-Ups

For several years the Virtual School has run a range GCSE English and Maths revision sessions during the school holidays. These sessions are aimed at boosting knowledge and understanding of key skills and also focus on exam preparation and technique.

We are planning to run Key Stage 2 sessions for those children who are currently working towards age related expectations or are at expected standard but need consolidation and support to help with preparation for their SATs.

Whilst face to face are not able to take place we have worked with Pet-Xi to invite our young people to Pet-Xi online Power-Ups. These highly-engaging, interactive short lessons are designed to boost key skills in English and Maths. Topics have included Special Numbers, Bidmas and Word Classes for Year 6 and 7 and Fractions and Creative Writing for Year 10.

The benefits of PET-Xi Power ups:

  • Interactive. This is not passive video watching – learners participate and interact, and the lesson adapts based on live learner questions and feedback with the team of 3 highly trained staff.

  • Pet-Xi deliver tried and tested lessons covering the key skills, tricks and techniques to help with progress and knowledge retention.

  • Easy to access learning as young people can use their phones, tablets, computers and laptops from anywhere to engage with the interactive sessions.

For more information about Pet-Xi please visit their website: https://www.pet-xi.co.uk/

Kick the Dust

This program designed for 11-25 year olds offering a range of exciting activities and events provided by the Norfolk Museums Service. These activities are designed by young people for young people. In addition, young people can take part in structured work placements and work awareness opportunities which will support the development of work-related skills as well as open their eyes to the range of job roles within the heritage sector. Kick the Dust were most recently involved in organizing a large-scale Art Parcels pack to go out to children and young people across Norfolk County. For more information on what is coming up please contact christine.marsden@norfolk.gov.uk

Pupil Voice:

Virtual School Comms Team

For any student KS3 and above interested in Communications, Design, Film, Radio, Events Management, Photography and Video. The group supports the promotion of our Virtual School Events, while gaining training and mentoring from industry professionals and undergraduates. Our workshops help young people to develop their knowledge of the creative and cultural industries, which can enhance their CV and boost career prospects. We are also offering online sessions that teach young people the skills to create and produce their own films and animation.

The Young People’s Virtual School Advisory Group

The aim of the group is that members will be champions for educational outcomes for Looked After and Previously Looked After Children through voicing their views. The group meet once a term. We are always looking for new members who are provided with incentives to recognise the commitment and contributions.

The main role of the member is to:

  • review and discuss Virtual School agenda items in advance of Reference Group meetings, so young people’s views are represented.

  • ·offer feedback on questions posed by the Reference Group members.

  • come up with topics that affect educational outcomes to be discussed at the Reference Group meetings.

  • share examples of good practice in schools and education settings that help young people to do well.

  • make recommendations on actions that will positively affect the education of looked after children and care leavers.

If you would like further information about our monthly competitions or enrichment activities, please contact our Education Enhancement Officer: jennifer.moss@norfolk.gov.uk

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