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We have corporate parenting responsibility for 'looked after children' (CLA) and, like all parents, valuing and supporting children's education is one of the most important contributions we can make to their lives.

We want to help them maximise their access to good quality education and have the chance to achieve their full potential.  We will ensure that children and young people in care will:

  • have education, care and support which prepares them for their adulthood and citizenship
  • have equal access to educational provision and opportunities
  • be listened to with regard to their views and ideas
  • when approaching leaving school age, receive educational experiences, advice and support appropriate to their needs

What is the Virtual School?

The Virtual School provides support to children who are looked after by Dudley Council.  It is an additional resource to support and challenge all those involved in the education of CLA.

What do we do?

  • We work closely with colleagues from Social Care and aim to ensure that all children are placed in appropriate education provision.
  • Support effective delivery of Personal Education Plans and monitor their outcomes.
  • Identify key points in a child’s education and ensure appropriate action is taken.
  • Provide ongoing regular support to residential units and foster carers.
  • Provide advice and guidance to children, parents, carers, social workers, schools and agencies.
  • Provide a range of joint and specific training opportunities to raise awareness of issues and concerns relating to the educational needs of looked after children.
  • Encourage, support and celebrate young people’s successes and achievements. This includes the promotion of children's participation in out of school activities and projects.
  • Promote various initiatives to support the educational achievement of CLA in partnership with specialist services such as Connexions, Early Years and Child Psychology Services.

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

We expect that every child in care will have a current Personal Education Plan to support their education.

School Attendance

For a looked after child, school can often be the only constant in their life.  Research shows that pupils who attend school regularly achieve higher grades than those who do not.

We are committed to every Looked After Child receiving a full time education appropriate to their needs.

Our Inclusion, Welfare and Education Officer:

  • monitors the attendance of Looked After Children
  • supports parents, carers and social workers in accessing appropriate educational provision for looked after children
  • supports carers, pupils and schools in achieving regular school attendance
  • offers support and advice to carers, social workers, schools and pupils on all aspects of school attendance

Find out more on Absence and Attendance

Pupil premium for children looked after

The Pupil Premium and Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) are payments made by the government to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

Website for children and young people

We have a dedicated website to help children and young people in care get the best out of their education.

This web site has lots of information for looked after children of all ages, to help support their education, including study skills, advice and support for transition into a new school.


Out of school activities

Our looked after children are encouraged to take part in out of school activities to help build personal and social skills, raise educational achievement and improve life chances.
The Virtual School is directly involved in promoting and/or running a number of initiatives including:

  • Library membership
  • Options+ cards - a Leisure Discount Scheme
  • Sycamore adventure
  • The Letterbox Club aims to improve educational achievement for Looked after Children aged 7-11. Children receive a regular package containing a book, maths activities and stationery.  Children can be enrolled by their local authority or school.

Packs are available for: 

Year 1 (Orange)
Year 3 (Blue)
Year 5 (Red)
Year 7 (Green)
SEN - ages 7-9 (Yellow)

Guidance Documents

We have a number of guidance documents available for further information:

Access online resources which can help you support looked after children's education.