We coordinate educational services for children in our care from 2 to 18 years old.

What the school is responsible for

We work in partnership with a child or young person’s school (or the education establishment at which they are registered) to ensure they are supported to fulfil their potential at all stages of their education, and to give them the best opportunity to be successful in their adult lives.

While looked after children attend different schools (and education establishments) across the city and in other local authorities, the Virtual School monitors their attendance, attainment and achievement. We make sure that their educational success is a top priority in their care planning. Ensuring effective and well planned transitions between the phases of early years, statutory schooling and post-16 is a key role for us.

How Personal Education Plans and Grants work

Children in care are set a termly Personal Education Plan (PEP) that provides a record of attainment, progress and their educational needs. Each child in care receives an additional Pupil Premium Plus Grant, administered by the head of the Virtual School, to support the targets or outcomes set out in their PEPs.

The PEP identifies how additional funding from the Pupil Premium Grant will be spent to support positive outcomes for children in care and remove any barriers to their learning.

The Pupil Premium policy outlines how the grant is distributed to schools. Schools can apply for additional pupil premium funding in addition to the fixed amount they receive per child placed with them.

Support available for teachers, foster carers and social workers

What help you can expect from the Virtual School:

  • telephone support from 9am to 5pm during school time
  • responses to email enquiries within 24 hours (on weekdays)
  • a named advocate for each child in care  
  • access to regular training
  • a website providing access to resources and support 
  • language support for foreign language students

If you’re concerned about a child looked after's progress at school, or the amount of support they are receiving, please get in touch.

Training with the Virtual School

We offer training to support Designated Teachers, Social Workers, Foster Carers, Independent Reviewing Officers and School Governors around their role with the Virtual School and to support education. Details can be found in our training booklet.

If you require any bespoke training to support whole school training events or staff meetings, please contact us.  

Attend training sessions or volunteer with the virtual school

Get in touch on 0114250 6853 or email escalvolunteering@sheffieldgov.uk if you would like to book onto our training, find out more about the personal education plan or services we can provide.

Our email is for general enquiries. Please do not send any case sensitive information.

Alongside our professional staff, the Virtual School is also supported by volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with the School, you can read more on our volunteering page.

Children from other authorities

The Virtual School isn’t legally responsible for other local authority children look after placed in Sheffield. We are committed, however, to signposting professionals from other local authorities who are experiencing issues with any of their children who are placed in Sheffield.

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