West Berkshire Council

The Virtual School - Children in Care

Educational support for looked after children in West Berkshire

The aim of the Virtual School is to improve the educational outcomes of children in care and those previously looked after.  It uses the same structure as a traditional school but does not actually exist in a building.

Children in Care

Children in care are placed on a "virtual" school register, even though they may be physically spread across schools within the local authority and beyond. 

This approach allows us to help, monitor and raise the profile of children in care more effectively.

The Virtual School is made up of:

Robin Douglas
Virtual School Headteacher
Carla Cumberland
Teacher Consultant (Safeguarding Lead)
Sarah Whatmore
Teacher Consultant (Early Years)
Karishma McKendrick
Teacher Consultant (SENCO)
Helen Beckett
Teacher Consultant (Literacy and Numeracy Lead)
Liane Chard
Consultant (UASC Lead)
Sue Shephard
Virtual School Business Manager

Personal Education Planning (PEP)

All children in care must have an up to date Personal Education Plan.

This is reviewed at least every six months in school and often more frequently.

The PEP involves children and young people, foster carers, designated teachers and other key people with the aim of ensuring educational progress.

Pupil Premium Plus (PPP)

All children in care receive up to ¬£2,300 additional funding to promote progress in school. 

Funding is discussed and approved through the PEP process. 

The Virtual School publishes its PPP Policy on an annual basis.

Advice and Training

The Virtual School offers advice and training to the following groups:

  • social workers
  • foster carers
  • West Berkshire schools  
  • designated teachers for looked after children
  • parents of previously looked after children