Working with looked after children

Working with looked after children


Looked after children and children in care

‘Looked after children’ (or LAC) as defined by the Children Act 1989, are either:

  • in the care of a local authority, or
  • provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by a local authority

We use the term ‘children in care’ to include all children being looked after by a local authority. This follows the publication of Care matters: time for change – Publications – GOV.UK.

Designated teachers

Every maintained school in East Sussex has a teacher who is responsible for supporting ‘looked after children’.

They also provide a clear point of contact for teachers and other children’s services workers.

National advice

Children in care advice and policy on the Department for Education website.


The Virtual School for Children in Care

The Virtual School ensures that children and young people in care do as well as possible at school. It works with schools, social workers and carers to provide support for students:

  • from pre-school and reception up to age 19 (or 25 for those in full time education)
  • wherever they are educated

Outcomes and provisions are planned via Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings.

The Virtual School also provides advice and guidance for children:

  • adopted from care
  • on special guardianship orders (SGO), or
  • on child arrangement orders (CAO)

Virtual Headteacher

The Virtual Headteacher, Mandy Lewis, leads a team who have responsibility for all the children and young people in care. They:

  • monitor their progress
  • champion their educational needs and
  • provide or commission additional support

Contact Details

Virtual School for Children in Care
Hailsham Resource Centre,
Dunbar Drive
Hailsham
BN27 3UW

Governing Body

The Virtual School has a governing body and the chairperson is Sally Carnie.


Personal Education Plan (PEP)

A PEP is a document to record actions planned to raise levels of achievement for looked after children in schools, by:

  • detailing a pupil’s needs and strengths
  • planning, reviewing and outlining targeted support

It enables us to regularly celebrate a young person’s success in a wide range of areas.

There is a PEP review at least 3 times a year. The school will be asked whether the young person is on track to reach their minimum outcome target.

The PEP review meeting is to support the young person, listen to their views and the views of all the people involved in their support network. This means that any support provided meets the needs and aspirations of the young person.

Please contact csvirtual.school@eastsussex.gov.uk (contact form) for the East Sussex PEP document. PEP guidance, a sample agenda and a PEP checklist are also available.

Was this page helpful?

Click or tap the rating which best represents your experience.