About The Cornwall Virtual School

The Virtual School exists to promote the educational achievement of Children in Care, under section 52 of the Children Act 2004. It ensures that Children in Care achieve educational outcomes comparable to their peers. It also establishes that there are robust procedures in place to enable Children in Care to achieve their full potential.

What is The Virtual School?

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We are Cornwall Council’s Virtual School for children in care (CiC) and previously looked after children (PLAC). The school exists to improve the education of these vulnerable children. It is a cross-phase school and our learners range from 2 to 18 years.

Our learners attend real schools/settings. The Headteacher and/or the Designated Teacher (DT) of each real school provide information to Cornwall Virtual School staff to allow them to monitor and track each young person. Our team also advise on any support available to help our learners achieve their potential.

Download the Virtual School Information Leaflet

Many individual children and young people in care or having left care, enjoy and do well at school. However, as a group, they may not perform as well in their education as their peers.

Since April 2014, every Local Authority in England has had to appoint at least one person to fulfil the Local Authority’s statutory duty to promote the educational achievement of its looked after children, wherever they live or are educated. This extended in 2018 to include previously looked after children. In Cornwall, we have a Virtual School Headteacher to review how children and young people are doing, and to put in place systems to support and challenge schools and other agencies to help them do better.

The Virtual School works across Cornwall Council and involves many different departments. We also work with external organisations to try to deliver the best possible education for children and young people in care. 

Our school includes four groups of children and young people who are:

  • Cornish children in care and care leavers educated in Cornwall
  • Cornish children in care and care leavers educated in another Local Authority
  • Children in care and care leavers looked after by another Local Authority but educated in Cornwall
  • Children who have previously been looked after 
  • Previously looked-after children who are adopted or under special guardianship orders (SGO) or child arrangement orders (CAO)

The voice of our young people is heard by including them on our Governing Body, asking them to be part of interview panels, asking them to monitor what we deliver as a school and listen to what they tell us in their Council forums.

  • The Virtual School works with the Designated Teachers to monitor and track individual children’s progress, attainment and attendance.
  • We provide guidance on individual situations to achieve the best possible outcomes for this group of learners
  • We provide training to Designated Teachers and named vulnerable groups Governors - to view our training, please visit our training pages within School Messenger (log in required).
  • We pay the CiC Pupil Premium Plus funding to settings (If an up to date PEP form plus current progress, attainment and attendance data have been logged on the Welfare Call EPEP database).
  • The Virtual School advises Social Workers on choice of schools and on specific issues relating to the education of these learners.
  • We attend as many first and transition Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings as possible as well as PEP meetings where there are complex issues to be discussed for CiC
  • We train and update Social Care staff on educational issues
  • The Virtual School advises Carers on specific issues relating to the education of their child
  • We offer training on educational issues and updates