Virtual School - Children Looked After

Improving educational outcomes

We aim to ensure that all children looked after gain swift access to appropriate educational provision, are well supported to make good progress and participate in activities and gain the skills and qualifications needed to make a successful transition to adult life. We support children from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Higher Education.

We have very strong links with designated teachers in schools across Cumbria and also work with carers, social workers and other relevant partners to ensure that all children looked after access education and receive the additional support they need to achieve well in school.

Our current priorities are to:

  • Narrow the achievement gap between children looked after and their peers.
  • Ensure all children looked after make good progress from their starting points.
  • Ensure every child/young person who is looked after has a high quality Personal Educational Plan which sets out the actions and support to be provided.
  • Provide advice to schools on effective use of the Pupil Premium for children looked after.
  • Improve the attendance of any child looked after where this is a problem.
  • Deliver training to schools, designated teachers, carers, Children's Services personnel and other partner agencies.

Virtual School Team members with responsibility for Children Looked After

Virtual School Head

The Virtual Head provides strategic leadership for the Virtual School, acts as a champion for children looked after, monitors their progress as if they attended single school and ensures appropriate provision is in place.

Looked After Children Inclusion Officers

The Inclusion Officers work to improve the attendance and reduce exclusions of children looked after where this is an issue and to support key transitions.

Looked After Children Achievement Teachers

The Achievement Teachers track and monitor the progress of individual children through a bi-annual visit. The meeting is used to track progress, proactively support planning and intervention and provide advice re the learning needs of individual children.

In addition, either the Inclusion Officer or the Achievement Teacher may provide short term and task centred intervention with individual children looked after.


Regular training is provided via bi-annual PEP training and DT Forum meetings in each district as well as bespoke training packages for individual schools.


Governing Bodies

Section 20 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 places a duty on the governing body of maintained schools to designate a member of staff (the 'designated teacher') as having responsibility to promote the educational achievement of looked after children who are registered pupils at the school. This includes those aged between 16 and 18.

The governing body must ensure that the designated teacher undertakes appropriate training. The designated teacher must be a qualified teacher, a headteacher or acting head teacher of the school. Through their funding agreements, designated teacher requirements apply to academies and free schools.

Governing bodies should understand the local authority's duty as a corporate parent to promote a looked after child's educational achievement and the main reasons why, as a group, looked after children underachieve.

A model school policy for Children Looked After can be accessed here: Model school policy

Promoting the education of looked after children. Statutory guidance for local authorities July 2014

The role and responsibilities of the designated teacher for looked after children. Statutory guidance for school governing bodies 2009


Penny CrudgeVirtual School 649158
Paula NixonSenior Children Looked After Inclusion 545555
Sarah Luffrum-MillerChildren Looked After Inclusion 407838
Fraser LiveseyChildren Looked After Inclusion 446143
Kyla HopeChildren Looked After Inclusion 476347
Abigail ClarkeChildren Looked After Inclusion 160358
Edward StrongSenior Children Looked After Achievement 982322
Julie BrelsfordChildren Looked After Achievement 784211
Diane McSharryChildren Looked After Achievement 501642
Trina Charnley-MonkChildren Looked After Achievement 763353
Phil AskewChildren Looked After Achievement 982032 
Gillian SparkBusiness Support 226126
Jacquie CullenBusiness Support 713501