Virtual School for Looked After Children

Helping children in care achieve their potential

All local authorities have a duty to promote the educational opportunities of Looked After Children so they get the best education possible.

The Bournemouth Virtual School is not a teaching school.  It is a way to collect and use all of the information about Looked After Children and young people as if they were all at a single school.

It enables us to track their achievements, progress, attendance and inclusion and to provide support when needed.

How it works

The children attend a ‘real’ school and it’s the responsibility of that school and the Designated Teacher to provide education for them. All schools have a statutory requirement to provide a Designated Teacher to work with Looked After Children. 

The Virtual School’s headteacher is a senior officer from Children & Young People’s Services.  They deal with Local Authority departments, schools and other people involved with Looked After Children.

Their key task is to make sure that all Looked After Children make the best possible progress. This includes ensuring that Pupil Premium funding is used effectively. The Pupil Premium is a government grant that is paid to schools so that they can offer extra opportunities to disadvantaged children including those who are Looked After.

What we do for Looked After Children

  • Champion their educational needs and achievements whether they are educated in our schools, or are children from Bournemouth who go to school somewhere else.
  • Promote high expectations for achievements and inclusion at school by making sure they are a priority.
  • Make sure they have access to the best possible education and every opportunity to progress successfully.
  • Monitor their Personal Education Plans and give advice, guidance and support when needed.
  • Many of the children have Special Educational Needs. If a child has a Statement or Education, Health and Care Plan we will combine their Annual Review with the PEP review whenever possible.
  • We make sure that the PEP reflects the child’s needs and that it is used to help improve their achievements.

School admission

Looked After Children are given priority when it comes to admission to schools.  You must follow the usual admission process but state that the place is for a Looked After Child when filling in the application form.

Virtual School staff arrange school applications for Bournemouth’s Looked After Children and work closely with our admissions team.