Children We Care For

At the Virtual School we monitor the educational progress and attendance of all Children We Care For by West Sussex, providing advice and guidance to the adults working with and supporting those children.

In particular, the team supports the social workers, carers and designated teachers of Children We Care For, to ensure that those children and young people receive a high quality education and improved educational outcomes.

The statutory guidance regarding the role of the designated teacher is available at GOV.UK.

Personal Education Plans (PEPs) for Children We Care For are completed through ePEP, an electronic system commissioned by West Sussex provided by eGov Digital. 

Guidance on the completion of PEPs and each person's role can be found in the information section. The team also provides a wide range of training and development opportunities for professionals working with Children We Care For.  

The role of the Virtual School

  • To champion the needs of children and young people looked after by West Sussex and educated inside the county or in other local authorities. 
  • To ensure that children and young people have the best possible education and every chance to realise potential.
  • To offer personalised support plans and interventions to raise attainment and aspirations for the future. 
  • To robustly track cohort trends and target resources effectively to promote achievement.

What we do

  • Promote aspiration for educational achievement by demanding it is a priority within the lives of looked after children to improve outcomes and life chances.  
  • Ensure our children and young people have access to the best possible education and every chance to progress and realise their individual potential.  
  • Assess and review personalised support plans to raise attainment for those in care, providing advice, guidance and support for intervention where needed. 

What we offer

  • Training for designated teachers in schools, school governors, social workers and a range of partner agencies.  
  • Advice, information and guidance on all aspects of education for Children We Care For.  
  • Support with studies, future pathways and work experience opportunities. 


At West Sussex Virtual School, we are pleased to be able to use pupil premium funding to offer the following resources to Children We Care For.

Speak to the allocated Advisory Teacher to discuss suitability and organise access to these resources, or for further information email

  • Britannica School is a citable, online learning resource. The information in Britannica School is aligned to the national curriculum, updated daily and spans a range of media, including video, images and audio content.

    At West Sussex Virtual School, we have guaranteed access to Britannica School for all Children We Care For.

  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails free high-quality, age-appropriate books each month to registered children from birth to age five. 

    As a Virtual School, we organise for all eligible Children we Care For to receive copies.

  • The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) is a team of psychologists who have training and expertise in child development and how children learn.

    Funded by Pupil Premium the Virtual School Educational Psychology Team provides the opportunity for school staff to consult with an Educational Psychologist for problem-solving support regarding how best to meet the needs of either a specific Child We Care For, or more generally the needs of this cohort.

    For discussions about a named young person, a consent form must be completed by the foster carer or social worker and returned prior to the consultation.

    Consultations can take place via telephone or, if specifically requested, through an MS Teams video call. The consultation must be booked and attended by the school that is supporting the West Sussex Child We Care For. To encourage consistency and communication, schools may request that other supporting professionals, such as foster carers or social workers attend the consultation.

    Outcomes from telephone consultations could include recommendations of supportive strategies and approaches; or signposting to additional information, training, and other avenues of support.

    Schools are welcome to also book a later consultation slot to review progress following the implementation of agreed strategies. Individual EP assessments cannot be sought through the consultation system.

    Education providers can book a one hour consultation to discuss a Child We Care For.

  • Flash Academy is an online English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Modern Foreign Language (MFL) support platform.

    At West Sussex Virtual School, we have guaranteed access to Flash Academy for all UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children).

    We also have licences for all of our secondary-age children in mainstream schools to support MFL.

  • GCSEPod is a learning and revision platform offering useful advice, guidance and resources to students in years 10 and 11 regarding GCSEs, and also to their teachers and parent, carers and guardians.

    This platform includes tips for revision, homework support, planning and motivation. The Virtual School is able to offer eligible Children We Care For access to this platform free of charge.

  • Just for You (JFY) is a partnership service offering free parcels of books and a gift for the young Children We Care For.

    It is provided by West Sussex Virtual School and the Library Service to help encourage children aged 2 to 12 years old to enjoy reading on their own and with their carers.

    The books and gifts are chosen on a different theme each time from a wide range of new and popular authors and posted automatically every school term.

  • The Reach2Teach awareness and behaviour app gives all those working with children and adolescents in and outside school, an attachment aware and trauma informed approach to some of the behaviours that crop up and challenge us all day, every day in schools of every shape, size and age range.

    The app will guide you through the child's needs that might be driving their behaviour, give you insight into the potential attachment pattern associated with each behaviour, and provides a wide-range of instantly usable, highly practical approaches and actions, all built on relationship with every pupil.    

    To access the app, contact You will be prompted to create an account with CourseWeDo after which you will be able to have unlimited access at no cost to you (the checkout total will show £0 after you have created your account).

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC)

At the West Sussex Virtual School, we appreciate the challenges, loss and changes our Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (USAC) have experienced. Many of these children and young people have arrived in West Sussex after traumatic events and journeys.

Some have had limited access to education in their home country and others have had little experience of the English language. Most of our children and young people are keen to learn and progress, which we find truly inspiring. To support their education, we offer the following to all of our UASC:

  • Within days of becoming a Child We Care For, a member of our team will offer mentoring and support to UASC.
  • Direct 1:1 English as an Additional Language (EAL) support to all UASC as a gentle introduction to English.
  • Learning resources including workbooks, a dictionary and stationery.
  • For UASC of statutory school age, we undertake a Virtual School initial first language assessment with an interpreter. The information captured from this, including a holistic overview of the learning, is shared with the school to support transition.
  • Access to Flash Academy, an EAL learning App.
  • Ongoing liaison with foster carers, residential support teams and social workers.
  • Termly Personal Education Plans (PEPs).
  • Transition support onto Further Education.

UASC toolkits

We are grateful to our colleagues at Portsmouth City Council for kindly sharing these resources.