When a child's parents or family cannot provide appropriate care for them and the child or young person becomes looked after, the local authority assumes parental responsibility for that child when a care order is made.

We work with families to provide care to children, temporarily or permanently, for example fostering, residential care or adoption.

When a child’s parents or family cannot provide the appropriate care for them. The local authority assumes responsibility for the child when a care order is made the authority becomes a corporate parent.

Good corporate parenting emphasises that we should have the same interest in and the aspirations for children and young people in care (or leaving care) as we would our own.

The Sheffield pledge to children in care is a promise that social workers, their managers and other professionals make to the children and young people in their care.

Virtual schools for looked after children in Sheffield

The Virtual School (VS) is responsible for ensuring high education outcomes for all of Sheffield’s Looked After Children (LAC). The team has a Virtual Headteacher who has statutory responsibilities outlined by the Department for Education (DFE). 

The Virtual School team works with the child/young person, and a wide range of professionals including social workers, foster carers, designated teachers and Independent Reviewing Officers to ensure the all Sheffield LAC achieve their full potential.

The VS is responsible for Sheffield LAC (5 to 16 age range), regardless of where they live. However, from September 2016, this will be broadened to include early years and Care leavers (up to the age of 18).

The Virtual school is responsible for supporting the attainment of high educational outcomes through:

  • ensuring that every LAC child has a current Personal Education Plan (PEP)
  • ensuring that all LAC attend a school/education setting which is rated by Ofsted as Good or Outstanding
  • distribution and monitoring of the Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) grant for LAC
  • supporting the admission of LAC into education
  • ensuring access to high quality provision and support. For example all Sheffield LAC and Care Leavers have access to dedicated access to the MAPs Service (CAMHS for LAC)
  • providing expert advice and support to Designated Teachers and other professionals working with LAC/Care leavers
  • provide networking opportunities and training events
  • reporting on outcomes for Sheffield LAC
  • dissemination of effective practice

Support for other Local Authority Looked After Children

We are committed to supporting other local authority Looked After Children which have been placed in Sheffield.  Please contact us for more information.

The team

  • Bob Sawyer (Part time) - Virtual School Head
  • Tim Eldridge (Part time) - Assistant Virtual School Head
  • Shaklil Zaman - Operations Manager
  • Tom Gamble – Data and Attendance Manager
  • Helen Smith – Virtual School Advocate (Secondary - Lead)
  • Emma Blythe - Secondary Advocate
  • Roger Wilkinson - Secondary Advocate
  • Nikki Pullinger – Virtual School Advocate (Primary – Lead)
  • Denise Bracken – Primary Advocate

Virtual School

Ask us a question

0114 2735584