Virtual School for Children in Care and those Previously in Care

Our Mission: To improve the life opportunities for children in care and those previously in care by supporting their education and enabling them to achieve the best they can.

What is the Virtual School?

Brighton & Hove’s Virtual School was established in 2011 to maximise the educational success of approximately 300 Children in Care. Since 2015 the Virtual School’s remit has been extended to include young people Previously in Care who now live with families through Adoption, Special Guardianship Orders or Residential Orders.

The school is ‘virtual’ in the sense that it is not a school that students actually attend – most go to school in Brighton & Hove, with some children attending school in other local authorities. We work in partnership with children and young people aged mainly 3 to 18, with their parents and carers and with early years settings, schools, colleges, universities and social workers.

The Virtual School has a team of committed professionals with a wide breadth of expertise and has been successful in improving outcomes for Children in Care. We work with a range of partners and aim to further narrow the achievement gap which currently exists between this group of children/young people and their peers.

Virtual School Team Structure Chart (PDF 248 KB).

The Virtual School is now on Twitter! Follow us for news and updates.

What does the Virtual School do for Children in Care?

The Virtual School works with all Children in Care as if they were on one school roll. We track their attainment, attendance and exclusion and identify when and how best to support them if they are not making good progress.

The Virtual School will also put in place (or streamline) systems and structures and work strategically to ensure we meet our aim of every child on the Virtual School roll fulfilling their potential.

What does the Virtual School do for Children Previously in Care?

The Virtual School also supports the education of Children Previously in Care. We do not have the same statutory responsibilities or rights to access information about day-to-day progress for previously in care children, however, we can respond to direct requests for support from parents/carers or from schools for this group of children.

We recognise that the needs of children don’t change overnight when they leave the care system. They may now be living in a family through Adoption or with wider family or friends through a Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangement/Residence Order and still need support to fulfil their potential. Therefore, we are also working to ensure that the systems and structures we have put in place for Children in Care are extended to include Children Previously in Care.

Why do we need a Virtual School?

Children in Care and those Previously in Care can do very well in early years settings, school and college with the right support in place, despite the challenges they have faced.

However, we know that across the board there is a gap between the attainment of this group and their peers. We also know that doing well in education opens up greater opportunities as children grow up. It is vital that across Brighton & Hove the Virtual School works with all its partners to raise the profile of Children in Care and those Previously in Care, helping to remove barriers to their education and ensuring everything is done so that they achieve the best they can.

At the Virtual School we work to ensure that all Children in Care and those Previously in Care:

  • Achieve educationally to their full potential
  • Attend a school that best suits their needs
  • Maintain a high level of attendance without school exclusions
  • Enter employment, education or training when they leave school

Information for early years, schools, colleges and social workers

Guidance documents, checklists and links:

Pupil Premium Grant:

Teaching Toolkits:

Personal Education Plans (PEPs) and Personal Opportunities Plans (POPs):

Training Offer for Professionals, Parents and Carers:

Adopted Children- guidance for schools:

Information for parents/carers

General Information