Barnsley Virtual School

Being in care doesn't mean your education has to suffer.  

If you work hard and try your best, you can do really well at school and achieve your potential.

We expect great things from you. We want to make sure that you leave school with a good education so that you can go on to fulfil your dreams for the future.

To help you do this, we'll make sure that you've got lots of support along the way.  

These are a few of the people who'll look out for you, give you advice and support, and just be there if you need someone to talk to.

Designated teacher

Your school will have a designated teacher for looked after children. This person is an important contact for you in school.

It's their job to promote the education of all children in care in your school. They're responsible for making sure you get the support you need to get the best out of your time at the school.

If you're not sure who your designated teacher is, ask your carer or social worker to find out for you. 

Key worker or learning mentor

You may have a named key worker or learning mentor. This may be the designated teacher or someone else.

This person is there to help you with your day-to-day life at school and support your learning. If you have a problem during the day, they're probably the best person to go to.

If you don’t have a key worker, but think this would be helpful, ask your carer to speak to the school about setting this up for you. 

Instead of key workers, your school may have different people to support you, such as a pastoral worker or nurture group. Find out how your school offers support and make sure you get the most out of what's on offer.

Social worker

You'll have lots of chances to talk to your social worker about how you're getting on in school.

They'll be involved in producing your Termly Personal Education Plan. You can use these times to celebrate the things you're good at and share any worries you may have.

Your social worker can work with you, your school, and your carer to sort out any difficulties you may have. 


Remember, not all learning takes place in school.

Your carer can help you with any homework. It's a good idea to set up a homework routine. This will help you get into the habit of making time for homework so that you don’t get overloaded or behind with your work.

Most schools have a virtual learning space now to help with home learning, so make good use of this.

Virtual School Head

The Virtual School Head is the officer from the council who oversees the education of all children in their care. They monitor the support you get in school and make sure your school is meeting your needs.

Your social worker may ask for support from the Virtual School Head if you're moving schools. This is to make sure the school move is the right one for you. They may also ask for support if you're having difficulties in school that need support from someone outside school to sort things out.

Education advocate

The education advocate will support your social worker in making decisions about your schooling.

They'll sometimes come to your looked after child(LAC) review when decisions about your education need to be made. They'll ask you what you think about the plans for your education and help your Independent Reviewing Officers(IROs) to make sure the plans are right for you.

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reviewing officer

If you have a statement or an education health and care plan, your named SEND reviewing officer will regularly review your plan to make sure it continues to meet your needs.

They'll gather information from other professionals involved in your education, like the educational psychologist or occupational health therapist. They'll also ask you how you think you're doing.

Talking to you and everyone involved in your education helps them write a plan that's just right for you.

Targeted independent advice and guidance (TIAG) worker

When you reach key stage 4, you'll have a targeted independent advice and guidance worker (TIAG).

They'll help you think about your future and what you might like to do for a living. They'll help you plan your career path and find the right kind of course to help you achieve your aspirations. They can support you with interviews and applications.