Virtual school for looked after children

Coronavirus (COVID-19): change to service

On advice from the government regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), all of our virtual school staff are now working remotely. There is a Leadership rota in place for emergency contact up until the Easter break as indicated below:

  • Monday 30 March - Jeff Mason
  • Tuesday 31 March - Kelly Twitchen
  • Wednesday 1 April - Wayne Chappell
  • Thursday 2 April - Kelly Twitchen
  • Friday 3 April - Jeff Mason

The main office number of 01202 456109 is currently set to answerphone. However, you can still contact us by phone and email for specific enquiries:

We also have outlined the virtual schools current expectations and offer of support, which also provides guidance.

See further information about changes to services.


What is a virtual school and what is its purpose

The virtual school does not exist in real terms as a building, there are no teachers and children and young people do not attend. It is a service provided by dedicated professionals within the local authority whose work it is to promote and co-ordinate educational support for looked after children and care leavers to succeed at nursery, school, college and university; or any other place of learning.

Our purpose is to ensure that all professionals who work with looked after children and care leavers have high educational aspirations for them so that our pupils and students are given the best opportunities to engage, progress and achieve to their full potential. 

Who are we and who do we work with

We are a team based at the Town Hall who are able to call on the specialist services from other departments to assist as required. We work closely with social care teams, foster carers, schools and other providers who support pupil’s educational needs.

The Virtual School Head is Jeff Mason.

The Virtual School Assistant Head Teachers are Kelly Twitchen and Wayne Chappell.

What do we do and how do we do it

From the moment a child or young person enters the care of the local authority we allocate them with a specialised support officer to work with colleagues and understand each child or young persons educational needs including any challenges they may face. That support officer then provides advice and support to enable them to access the best possible educational provision according to their needs. They also have regular contact with schools, academies, colleges, training providers and universities and close liaison with designated teachers and designated persons.

On a regular basis we coordinate and process Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings and associated documentation. As part of the PEP the support officer will analyse attendance, progress and achievement data in order to track, monitor, support and challenge all those involved in the pupil’s education and welfare. We also allocate, track and monitor the use of pupil premium plus funding and its impact. Under certain circumstances we may also arrange access to additional learning opportunities or specialised alternative provision including one to one tuition.

Contact us

For general enquiries, you can contact us:

Page last updated: 28 March 2020
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