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Page last updated: 20/02/2018



News Alerts

​Changes to CLA Tracker

​Changes to CLA Tracker and the PEP process for children in care attending alternative provision or on a reduced timetable have been implemented.

A new tab has been added to capture the timetable and education provision for these young people.
The manual collation of AP templates by the Virtual School will no longer be required, and the information closely ties with the childs termly PEP.
Supporting documentation​ has been written and is available on our CLA Tracker page

School Census: Previously looked after children

​Schools that have children who have previously been in care and are now adopted, subject to a Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangement Order are eligible to claim the pupil premium. In order to do this the head teacher should invite these parents to self-declare that they have an previously looked after child. Once this has happened the head teacher should request sight of the legal order/certificate. This needs to be indicated on the schools management information system before the January census in order for the school census to be accurate. The funding is sent directly to the school along with the FSM pupil premium. Please note, however, parents are not obliged to declare this information. Please see page 88 of the DfE document School Census 2017-18 for further information.

Schools can also contact the data collection helpline (0333 013 9856 or email​

For those children attending Early Years settings the arrangements are different. Details of how to claim for the Early Years Pupil Premium for adopted children is on the dedicated Early Years website​.

Current Training Opportunities 2017-18

Become an Attachment Aware School

We are pleased to confirm 22 May 2018 as the date for the next Attachment Aware Schools training session. Please see the flyer ​and complete the booking form and return it to​  

Places on this training are limited and therefore initially we can only accommodate one delegate from a school. Should space become available we will offer subsequent places, but this will not be known until late January at the very earliest. As this popular course is always oversubscribed can you please let us know as soon as you can if you book a place and then cannot attend. We have turned down many applications, onto to find we have 4-5 places available due to non-attendance.

Further information on attachment can be found on our Attachment page

Designated Teacher Training
Our next Designated Teacher training session will take place on 1 March 2018. Please see the flyer and complete the booking form​.  Please return to

Early Years
Please see our Early Years​ section for details of 2017-18 training programmes
Further information is on our Early Years​ page

Virtual School Heads

Contact details​ for Virtual School Heads in other Local Authorities. Correct as at April 2017

Web links​ ​
          Britannica School                CLA Tracker

Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year and welcome back to the start of the Spring Term!

You may be aware that in April the Children and Social Work Act is enacted. There will be a requirement for schools to have a named designated teacher for ‘previously looked after children’. These are children that have left care for adoption, Special Guardianship Order (SGO) or a Child Arrangement Order (CAO) This will be an extension to the current designated teacher for children in care role, but schools and governors will  need to consider capacity and training for the designated teacher. We will upload a link to the Statutory Guidance when it is released.

Designated Teacher training is planned for 1 March 2018. If you are a new designated teacher, or would like to enhance your knowledge and skills especially in writing high quality Personal Education Plans (PEPs) then please book a place as soon as possible. Please see the flyer and complete the booking form​.  Please return to

The next Attachment Aware certification training is on Tuesday 22 May 2018. Please see the flyer and complete the booking form. Please return to​

Virtual School Handbook

A new handbook on the Essex Virtual School​​ has been produced.​

The Pledge

The County Council is determined to ensure that Children in Care and care leavers receive the very best chance possible to go on and lead fulfilled and successful adult lives.

Our pledge is a marker to remind everyone how important and special these children and young people are and of the significant responsibility we have.

The Pledge

The Pledge Easy Read version​​

Contacts, structure and strategy

The Essex Virtual School has oversight for all Essex children in care from Early Years, throughout their statutory education years and through post 16 further education. The role of the local authority is set out in the DfE document Promoting the education of looked after children Statutory Guidance for local authorities July 2014

The service also maintains an oversight for children from other local authorities placed in Essex schools.  Essex has produced a document to support other LAs​ who place children in care in the Essex area.​

If you have children that are in the care of another Local Authority, please try to ensure that you are also aware of their Virtual Head de​tails. This is the current list of Virtual School Heads​​​ for the Eastern Region.
Virtual School Team​​​ (including all contact details of the team)

​National Association of Virtual School Heads

Cathryn Adams is a member of the National Association of Virtual School Heads.

​The Research and Improvement Priorities 2016/17

1. Establish The National Association of Virtual School Heads and links with key partners.

2. Develop a robust means of measuring attainment and progress based on recent research demonstrating what impacts most on educational outcomes for children in care.

3. Uphold high quality educational provision for all children in care.

4. Research and develop best practice use of Pupil Premium Plus to maximise its impact.

5. Support schools to implement the NICE Guidance on Attachment.

6. Promote engagement with Children in Care Councils and ensure the voice of children in care and care leavers is at the centre of our work.

7. Support the ongoing professional development of Virtual School Heads, Designated Teachers and other professionals working with children in care.

Further details can be found on the website​.

Free Music Opportunities for Children in Care

Essex Music Services

Essex Music Services (lead partner in Essex Music Education Hub) and the Essex Virtual School are working together to enable musical opportunities for all Looked After Children (LAC), children subject to a Special Guardianship Order (SGO), Child Arrangement Order (CAO) or Children adopted from care are offered the following musical opportunities by Essex Music Education Hub completely free of charge. This covers school based music tuition, instrument hire and access to ensembles through the Music Schools. Further information and an application form can be found on the Essex Music Service website. Please note the above offer is applicable to music tuition in Essex County Council Schools and EMS community Music Schools; it cannot be used at schools in other local authorities or for at-home provision. For ECC LAC, SGO, CAO or Children Adopted from Care that are receiving their education at another local authority school, please contact the Virtual School​ who will be able to advise you further.

Essex Music Services now hire hire complete music technology packages to support budding young songwriters, producers and sound engineers!

£20 per term with additional subsidy for low-income families, and completely free to children in care.

For more info email or click here​​​

Ofsted Evidence Form S5

Improving outcomes for children in care is a priority for Ofsted and forms part of the school inspection. Inspectors will use the S5 Evidence Form​ to support their judgement. 

Personal Education Plans

It is recommended that the PEP1 is completed in the first three weeks of the term as this will be an essential element of planning and assessment for children in care. In the first three weeks of term new targets following a gap analysis will need to be incorporated into the PEP1 document to enable progress to be assessed at the end of the term. Please remember that  the  learning objectives should be challenging and reflect targets for the whole term.

Please visit our PEP page for exemplar PEPs, or contact us at

Supporting documents from

The website contains a wealth of information to support schools and colleges in relation to children in care and it has been handily packaged together on this link​.​

Included are documents on advocacy, SEND, health and wellbeing, support in education, special guardianship, social care and research.​​


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