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The Plymouth Virtual School and Previously Looked After Children

Plymouth City Council retains a role, through the Plymouth Virtual School, in helping to promote the educational achievement of previously looked after children by providing information and advice to:

  • any person that has parental responsibility for the child
  • providers of funded early years education and Designated Teachers for previously looked after children in maintained schools and academies
  • any other person the authority considers appropriate for promoting the educational achievement of relevant children

Previously looked after children are those who: 

  • are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales (as defined by the Children Act 1989 or Part 6 of the Social Services and Well- being (Wales) Act 2014) because they are the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order
  • were adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales. 'State care' is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society

Our duty relates to previously looked-after children who are in education in the area served by the Plymouth Virtual School, irrespective of where the child lives.  The duty requires the Plymouth Virtual School to:

  1. Providing advice and information online.
  2. Providing advice to individual parents/carers and schools where they have a query.
  3. Advising schools on how they can support previously looked after children.
  4. Advising schools on how to best use Pupil Premium to support previously looked-after children.

The Plymouth Virtual School is not expected to monitor the educational progress of individual children or be held to account for their educational attainment, attendance and behaviour. Any intervention in the education of a previously looked-after child must be with the agreement of the person(s) who have parental responsibility for the child. They, like all parents, are responsible for overseeing their child's progress in education.

Schools and the role of the Designated Teacher

Governing bodies and Trust Boards have a duty to designate a member of staff to promote the educational achievement of looked after and previously looked after children, including those adopted from 'state care' outside England.  They should have the opportunity to undertake appropriate training and work closely with parents and guardians to ensure the best outcomes for the child, socially, emotionally and educationally.

The role of the Designated Teacher in relation to previously looked after children can be found in the following statutory guidance: 

The designated teacher for looked after and previously looked-after children:  Statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities

Early Years Funding

Children aged 2 years old who have been adopted from care are entitled to a free early education place. They can also benefit from the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) when they are aged 3 and 4. This contributes additional funding to early education placements to help your child’s nursery or childminder to help improve the education they provide for children who need more support. Parents will need to tell the education provider that their child is adopted in order for them to claim the EYPP.

For further information visit the First4Adoption website.

Pupil Premium Plus

This is additional funding given to schools and recognises that children who have spent time in care may need extra support in school as a result of their early experiences. The grant is currently £2,410 per eligible pupil per year and is for students from Reception class up to Year 11. In order to be eligible, students need to have been looked after by an English or Welsh local authority immediately before being adopted.

Parents and guardians must declare their child's adoptive, SGO or CAO status directly to the school before the school completes the October census. They should provide evidence, for example, a copy of the legal order, or a confirmation letter from the local council which placed their child. Parents will not need to declare their child's status again until the child changes school. They are not obliged to declare this information.

Pupil Premium money for previously looked after children goes directly to the school (it is not held by the Plymouth Virtual School) and is not ring-fenced for the individual child. It is good practice for schools to include parents and guardians in discussions around the most effective use of Pupil Premium Plus.

Occasionally, a child may be in an adoptive placement and legally still be in the care of the Local Authority.  In these circumstances the child will continue to have statutory Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings to review progress and discuss use of the Pupil Premium.  Where this applies, the Pupil Premium Plus will be administered through the Plymouth Virtual School in the same way as for looked after children.

Once the order (Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangement) is granted, the statutory PEP meetings will cease. It is often helpful and supportive if there continue to be regular opportunities to share information between home and school. Parents and guardians can request and agree to more informal review meetings with school staff if they feel it is appropriate.

School admissions

Every school has to have the admission of looked after and previously looked after children as the number one priority for entry in their admissions code. Every state-funded school in Plymouth complies with this legal requirement.

For further information, you can contact the Plymouth School Admissions Team, email

Useful resources for schools

Booklist for schools

Useful resources for parents and guardians


A copy of this page is available in the following document:

Contact us

If you require further information or advice, contact the Plymouth Virtual School.