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Children's Services

Virtual School Hampshire (VSH)

“It is the expectation of Hampshire Children’s Services department that our looked after children (LAC) will receive the best possible education and that this will, in most cases, be by attending good or outstanding schools.

What is a Virtual School?

The Virtual School for Looked after Children does not exist in real terms, or as a building. Children do not attend it - they remain the responsibility of the School at which they are enrolled. The Virtual School is simply an organisation which has been created for the effective co-ordination of education for looked after children.

The Virtual School Hampshire

The Hampshire Virtual School operates to collate and track the information about children and young people who are looked after as if they were in a single school so that their progress can be closely tracked and supported and intervention can be targeted strategically.

Our work is focused on achievement for children and young people looked after (CLA) in the primary, secondary and special sectors as well as with care leavers.

Why?....So that young people do not leave school as vulnerable adults but with improved life chances.

Promoting Achievement for Children in our Care

  • Children in care perform less well academically than any other group of children. Therefore, improving outcomes for children in care is a vital priority
  • There are around 60,000 children in care in England at any one time although it is a rapidly changing group as they move in and out of care. Hampshire has 1212 with 854 of school age
  • These children are taken into care for their own protection but once in care many do not receive a quality learning experience
  • The gap in attainment between these children and all other children is wide. The Virtual School Team I Hampshire work on narrowing this gap through rigorous tracking and intervention where necessary, working closely with social workers and schools and one to one tuition
  • Research reveals that the day to day support from a teacher continues to be the key determinant of success. We believe this starts with quality first teaching.
  • Designated teachers have a statutory role within each school and are responsible for developing and reviewing the education progress of the child and in partnership with others, helping them to achieve and enjoy.


Our Services

Our team offers extensive support to schools working through the statutory designated teacher for looked after children. The range of support offered can be tailored for individual staff members and children or whole staff groups including school governors and cluster groups of schools. We can provide consultancy, training and bespoke support for schools, teachers, governing bodies to ensure schools can:

  • Accurately identify the needs of looked after children and appropriate provision and intervention is put in place through pedagogical approaches in the classroom and individual support. This can be done through CPD for staff including action research projects.
  • Self evaluate their practice and provision and provide bespoke training on a variety of themes relating to the education of looked after children
  • Write effective and meaningful Personal Education Plans
  • Make full use of the additional funding available for looked after children to support better progress for them
  • extend principles used to support this vulnerable group to wider categories of children who need focused support
  • fully implement the statutory guidance on the role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for children looked after
  • has effective systems and processes that focus on pupil progress, so that the attainment gap between vulnerable learners and all learners is narrowed

We also run a full menu of training for DTs and school staff working with looked after children through HTLC covering a variety of topics including:

  • Attachment Disorders (Introductory and advanced level)
  • Core training for DTS
  • Emotional Intelligence for vulnerable children – understanding and identifying the emotional needs of looked after children
  • Narrowing the gap – using, evidencing and tracking the use of pupil premium

For further information refer to the HTLC website.

The west and east area teams lead a range of support including:

  • Designated Teacher networks in the autumn and spring terms
  • Education leads meetings
  • Annual school visits
  • Attendance at initial PEPs for children new to care
  • Consultation sessions for social workers


Information for schools

Weekly Attendance data collection

  • Automatic electronic gathering of weekly attendance data for Children Looked After (schools using SIMs)

    • To support the Virtual School’s work with schools in rigorously tracking and monitoring the progress of all Hampshire children in care at school in Hampshire schools and for those placed out of county, we collect attendance data electronically from schools on a weekly basis. To enable this to happen schools are requested to run an automated SIMs report at the end of every week for all children who are in care who are on their roll. The data will then be picked up by an automated scheduled task.

Virtual heads-UK

  • Virtual School Heads - National contacts Microsoft Excel 234kB  You may find this helpful if you have a child who is looked after by another local authority on your roll and want to contact the Virtual School Head or Lead in that authority.


LA statutory duties

Designated Teacher


  • PEP Guidance (restricted access)
  • PEP Toolkit - Need analysis tool



Designated Teacher Network Meetings

Meeting notes - Summer 2015 Microsoft Word 41kB

Presentation - Summer 2015 Microsoft PowerPoint 1MB

West Designated Teacher Network meetings

  • Monday 22nd June 2015 1.30pm – Falcon House, Winchester - Cromwell Room

  • Tuesday 23rd June 2015 1.30pm – Vertex, Basingstoke – Room 2 Conference Room

  • Thursday 25th June 2015 1.30pm – Applemore College, Dibden Purlieu, Southampton

East Designated Teacher Network meetings

  • Thursday 9th July 2015 1.30pm at Winchester University in the Herbert Jarman building room 305

  • Monday 13th July 2015 1.30pm at Winchester University in the Herbert Jarman building room 305


Pupil Premium FAQ's


Frequently Asked Questions

Looked After Children

Q: Is it a statutory requirement for a school to have a policy for a Looked after Child?

A: No, however, it is considered to be good practice to do so.

Any policy should deal with ‘meeting the needs of vulnerable children on roll’ and should refer to:

  • the statutory requirement to have a current PEP that clearly identifies need and the actions that will be taken to meet those needs. That the PEP will be revisited at a time that suits each individual child (e.g. three or six months).
  • the use of Pupil Premium and DSG.
  • the use of interventions and strategies to ensure that vulnerable children achieve in-line with their peers
  • links to Ofsted inspection which focusses on schools identifying and meeting needs of vulnerable children.
Looked After Children (LAC) / Children in Care (CIC) FAQs (from the Department for Education)

VSH team contacts

Anwen Foy
Senior Inspector Inclusion
Headteacher of the Hampshire Virtual School for Children in Care

Tel. 01962-835227


Children's Services Department

Hampshire County Council

4th Floor EII Court North,
SO23 8UG.
Courier Route CA02

Janet Cox
Senior Administration Officer

Tel. 01962-835227

Fax 01962-846380


Children's Services Department

Hampshire County Council

4th Floor EII Court North,
SO23 8UG.
Courier Route CA02

Michelle Cain
Education Adviser for the Virtual School West

Tel. 01962-835229


Children's Services Department

Hampshire County Council

4th Floor EII Court North,
SO23 8UG.
Courier Route CA02

Amy Oakley
Administration Officer

Tel. 01962-835229


Children's Services Department

Hampshire County Council

4th Floor EII Court North,
SO23 8UG.
Courier Route CA02

Rachel Allen
Education Adviser for the Virtual School East

Tel: 01962 835229


Children's Services Department

Hampshire County Council

4th Floor EII Court North
SO23 8UG
Courier Route CA02

Barbara Steward  

Education Officer for the Virtual School West

Tel: 01962 846116


Education Inclusion Service

Clarendon House

Monarch Way,
SO22 5PW

Fiona Smith
Education Welfare Officer (EWO) Winchester and Eastleigh and the New Forest

Tel:  02380 866203


Children in care Team

Testwood Youth Centre. Testwood School Campus, Totton

Testwood Youth Centre
Testwood Lane
SO40 3ZW

Tel: 023 8086 6203

Indira Jayawardena
Education Welfare Officer (EWO) Basingstoke

Direct Tel: 01256 362179

Mob: 07540 635966


Childrens Services Basingstoke & Deane

Sun Alliance House
37-41 Wote Street
RG21 7LU

Trudi Taylor
Education Welfare Officer (EWO) East Hants

Tel.01420 546842/HPSN 8453 6842

Mob: 07725 828704

Fax: 01420 544635


North East Children In Care Team

Children's Services
Alton Family Centre
Mill Lane
Alton GU34 2SX

Lisa Martin
Education Welfare Officer (EWO) Fareham and Gosport


Office- 01329- 854835 (Direct Line)



South East Children In Care Team

Catisfield Road Family Centre
26 Catisfield Road
P015 5QF

Maria Anderson
Education Officer for the Virtual School East

Tel: 023 9244 1506


Alton Health Centre
Anstey Rd,
GU34 2QX

Virtual School Heads - National contacts Microsoft Excel 234kB