Virtual school for looked-after children

What is a Virtual School?

A Virtual School acts as a local authority champion to bring about improvements in the education and outcomes of Looked after Children (LAC) and Young Care Leavers (YCL) and to promote their educational achievement as if they were in a single school.  Our key objective is to ensure each LAC receives a high quality education which will give them a secure foundation as they move into adulthood. 

Brent Virtual School (BVS) does not exist in real terms, or as a building. Children do not attend it - they remain the responsibility of the school at which they are enrolled.  BVS is simply an organisation which has been created for the effective co-ordination of educational services at a strategic and operational level.  On average Brent has around 250 LAC of statutory school age, of which approximately 50 per cent are educated in schools in Brent. 

BVS also has a role in promoting the education of children and young people who are post LAC and may have been adopted or subject to a special guardianship (SGO) or child arrangement order. The role with post LAC is to offer advice and guidance to schools.

As of 2018 local authority Virtual school now have a responsibility to offer advice and guidance to post LAC children e.g those who have been adopted, or are on special guardianship or child arrangement orders.

What does BVS do?

  • Promotes the importance of a high quality education and high expectations for all LAC and YCL
  • Influences policy and develops and improves services for LAC and YCL
  • Promotes individual achievement and wellbeing by RAG rating our LAC cohorts and ensuring that the right children and young people are targeted with the right intervention at the right time
  • Provides advice, support and training to a wide range of professionals both in education and social care
  • Improves access to specialist services, mental health assessments and treatment
  • Provides access to professional advice and guidance on education, training and employment
  • Provides additional opportunities for out of school learning and enrichment
  • Facilitates access to early education and child care
  • Produces an Annual Achievement Report
  • Organises an annual Celebration of LAC Achievement Event. 

BVS is governed by Brent’s Corporate Parenting Committee.

How is it organised?

BVS comprises of the following roles:

Headteacher and deputy headteacher

Together the headteacher, who is also head of inclusion, and deputy headteacher provide strategic and operational leadership and management to the BVS team ensuring that all statutory duties are met and that all Brent LAC and YCL receive appropriate support and intervention.  They also oversee the allocation of the Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) and support Year 12 and 13 PEPs. 

Advisory teachers

The Advisory Teachers track and monitor the progress of Brent LAC in their key stage, with a particular focus on those RAG rated as RED, co-ordinating and deploying BVS support to raise their attainment according to an assessment of their needs.  They quality assure statutory Personal Education Plans (PEPs) for LAC in their key stage.  They contribute to training for designated teachers, schools, social workers, foster carers and governors, and act as advocates by positively challenging the practice of schools.

Year 11 Life coach

The Life Coach works to support all Year 11 LAC with their transition to post-16 education and training.

Educational psychologist 

The Education Psychologist carries out assessments of identified LAC to support applications for statutory assessment.  She also contributes to our training programme.

Data analyst

The Data Analyst supports the team, schools and social care colleagues with a wide range of data and information.  This includes the maintenance of detailed LAC Pupil Tracker. 

Personal advisor for post-16

BVS also supports the key stage 5 cohort, carrying out PEPs for those in education or training and working with other professionals, in particular social care colleagues, to encourage those not in education, employment or training to re-engage.

Further information

Please contact our team for more information by emailing or call 020 8937 3189.