Virtual School

The Virtual School is responsible for liaising and working in partnership with agencies to support the education of looked after/vulnerable children. Ms Lorraine Thompson is the Virtual School Lead for Looked After/Vulnerable Children and leads on strategic planning and developments, policy, new initiatives and service delivery.

The Virtual School for Looked After Children is not a teaching institution.  It is “a model by which the LA provides services and support for the education of looked after children and a constructive challenge to those providing the services”.  It works closely and in partnership with Schools, Social Care and Health, so that there is a holistic and comprehensive approach to the support of Looked After Children in all areas of their lives.

Our overall aim is to help produce better educational outcomes, and enhanced personal and social development, so that our looked after children have better life chances.

Our specific objectives which together will help us achieve this aim are reflected by the targets that we set ourselves each year, i.e. seeking continuous improvement in the number of looked after students who:

  • Achieve the expected standards at the end of KS2 in each core subject
  • Are entered for public examinations and SATs
  • Achieve a good set of GCSEs
  • Make at least expected progress between Key Stages
  • Achieve their targets as indicated by FFT
  • Have good school attendance
  • Are in education, employment or training

We will also seek to:

  • Reduce the number of days looked after students are excluded and ensure that excluded students receive alternative provision from day one

Have objective evidence that:

  • there is increasing student involvement in extracurricular and extension activities
  • Special Educational Needs are being met and appropriate interventions are implemented and reviewed in terms of the graduated response
  • fewer students do not have a school place at any one time
  • the average time taken to secure a school place for a child is being reduced
  • the average number of school days missed per term by children is falling
  • the number of children who have an up to date PEP or PEP review is increasing.


Key Workers at the Virtual School

We currently have 2 Key Workers at the Virtual School.

The role of the key worker is as follows:

  • To  work with schools to raise the educational attainment and aspirations of  Looked After Children
  • To promote and support positive participation in enrichment activities
  • To be a key point of contact for students and develop a working relationship to ensure progression.
  • To provide additional support for parents/carers in appropriate cases.
  • To work with staff and partner agencies to ensure that a holistic approach is adopted to support C&YP

Virtual School for Looked After and Vulnerable Children Team

Virtual School Lead:


Key Workers:

Shane Thacker –

Edward Lyons –

Careers advisers:

Rachael Maybank-


The Traveller Education Support Service Team (TESST) is part of the Virtual School arrangement. TESST provides advice on how to maximise outcomes for pupils from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Our overall aim is to support schools to raise attainment, attendance, ascription, achievement and aspirations for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils. Contact:

Page updated 23.05.2017

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