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5.4.5 The Role of the Virtual School


Section 52 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on the local authority to raise the attainment of Looked After Children. This procedure outlines the role of the Virtual School in Calderdale, in discharging this duty.


This chapter was amended in April 2012 and should be re-read.


  1. Introduction
  2. Delivery

1. Introduction

The Virtual School (previously the Looked After Children Education Service - established since 1995) is a core service within Children and Young People’s Service.

The Service provides advice and support to children and young people 3-19 years who are Looked After, teachers, school governors, support services, social workers, parents and carers.

The Service monitors the educational provision, attendance, progress and attainment of all Calderdale Children Looked After Children, irrespective of where they are placed. The aims of the Virtual School are to promote achievement, raise attainment and ensure equality of opportunity to enhance the life chances of all Children Looked After. The Virtual School plays a strategic role in ensuring the corporate parenting responsibilities of the Local Authority, with regard to the education of Children Looked After are met.

The LACE Service changed from a targeted years service, to that of a Virtual School model responsible for all Calderdale Children Looked After in September 2010. The Virtual School Head was appointed in January 2011. Current staffing comprises: The Virtual School Head; The Virtual School Team Manager, four Key Stage Co-ordinators who are responsible for a specific cohort of young people, two Learning Mentors and an Administrator.

The Virtual School Head has the additional responsibility of monitoring the progress of Children Looked After who are placed in Calderdale Schools by other local authorities, and will act as a conduit, and offer advice as appropriate.

2. Delivery

The Virtual School has a tiered delivery model for Calderdale Children Looked After:

  • Level 1 - monitoring individual attainment, attendance, SEN, exclusions and leading on Personal Education Plans (PEPs);
  • Level 2 - individual casework including negotiation and advocacy, attendance at multi-agency meetings, assessments;
  • Level 3 - individual direct work with young people through interventions in school and off site for learning (underachievement), behaviour and attendance issues.

Click here to view Virtual School 3-19 Years.


Support from the Virtual School is “additional” to school resources. Referral for intervention at Level 3 is actioned at the PEP meeting or by the Virtual School Head/Virtual School Team Manager. Children Looked After at risk of exclusion will be allocated immediate support by the Virtual School Team Manager.