East Riding Virtual School/Vulnerable Children Education Team (VCET)

The East Riding Virtual School is also known as the Vulnerable Children Education Team (VCET). The primary responsibility is to promote the education of Children Looked After (CLA) and Previously Looked After Children (PLAC). 

The team is responsible for all aspects of access to education and educational progress of East Riding Children Looked After. The Virtual School also provides advice and guidance to support the education of Previously Looked After Children. 

The responsibilities of the Virtual School include the following: 

  • Implementing the statutory responsibilities for Children Looked After and Previously Looked After Children.

    Promoting the education of looked-after children and previously looked-after children (pdf 371kb)
  • Managing the allocation and the effective use of the LAC Premium Grant for East Riding Children Looked After.

    LAC Premium Guidance for Head teachers and Designated Teachers for the 2020-2021 Financial Year (word 69kb)
  • Organising and chairing the termly Personal Education Plan (PEP) meeting for East Riding Children Looked After including children placed outside the East Riding Local Education Authority.
  • Delivering training for designated teachers, social workers, foster carers and other professionals to help understand the issues and challenges faced by Children Looked After and Previously Looked After Children.
  • Monitoring and reporting on the educational progress, attainment and attendance of East Riding Children Looked After.
  • Promoting high aspiration and raising achievement through challenge, support and targeted intervention.


The Virtual School is made up of the following staff:

  • Virtual School Head Teacher
  • Virtual School Deputy Head
  • Teaching and Training Co-ordinator
  • Education Welfare Officer (North Area)
  • Education Welfare Officer  (West Area)
  • Education Welfare Officer   (East Area)
  • Educational Advocate (PLAC)
  • Technical Officer
  • Performance Technician.


The Virtual School supports and challenges all those involved in the education of Children Looked After.

The Virtual School is not a physical environment. It works in close collaboration with colleagues from the child’s educational provision to promote positive educational outcomes.

The Virtual School strives to offer all the support that a good parent would give in order to make sure that the children they look after reach their full potential.

All children in the care of East Riding have a personal education plan monitored by the Virtual School Head teacher.

The Personal Education Plan meeting for pre-school pupils is aligned to the CLA review under the leadership of an Early Years Development Advisor.

For post 16 pupils the Personal Education Plan is incorporated within their Pathway Plan.

For Children Looked After, as part of a local authority’s corporate parenting role, the Virtual School Head teacher needs to be the educational advocate that parents are for others.

The Virtual Head teacher leads the Virtual School team in promoting the education of Children Looked After by East Riding local authority. The team have high aspirations for the children in the East Riding Virtual School and aim to close the gap with their peers. The Virtual Head teacher keeps an up to date roll of children in the care of the East Riding and monitors their attendance, attainment and progress. Virtual School team also provides advice and information to support children who were previously looked after and are now subject to adoption orders, special guardianship orders (SGO) and child arrangement orders (CAO).

Nicola Donoghue East Riding Virtual Head Teacher.

Previously looked-after children are those who are no longer looked after by a local authority in England and Wales because they are the subject of an adoption, special

guardianship or child arrangements order; or they 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.

Support is available from the point at which the child becomes eligible for free early education, which is currently the start of the term following a child’s second birthday, and concludes when they have completed statutory education.

The duty relates to previously looked-after children who are in an education provision in the area served by the VSH irrespective of where the child lives. 

Support is available to the following groups: 

  • Adoptive parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child.
  • Providers of early education
  • Designated Teachers of maintained schools, academies and alternative learning provisions in the East Riding
  • The Adoption Team.


1.    My child is starting school soon, how can I get help to choose a school?

It is advisable to research all of the schools you are interested in, including attending their open days or arranging to visit beforehand as well as reviewing their Ofsted reports which can be found at www.reports.ofsted.gov.uk .

The ERYC School Admissions Team will be able to help with any questions you have about the admissions process and will be able to provide general information about all schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire. This can be found at:

 School places and admission (external council links)

PLAC are entitled to priority placing within a school so it is important that you included your child’s previously looked-after status on the admissions form. 

If you have more specific questions about a school - for example around attachment awareness, whether they are trauma informed or have nurture provision, it is advisable to approach each school directly.

The ERYC Virtual School, known as the Vulnerable Children in Education Team (VCET) will also be able to offer advice about any schools that could meet your child’s needs.

2. What is pupil premium plus and how do I access it?

Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) is additional funding schools receive and manage which is designed to help improve the educational outcomes for previously looked-after children, and close the attainment gap between them and their peers. 

Parents must make the school aware that their child has previously been in the care system and the school may ask you to provide evidence of this. The school will then record this onto what is known as, the ‘January Census’ and this triggers the funding to be allocated directly to the school. From September 2018 the PP+ is ring-fenced and must be used for the previously looked-after cohort in school

Parents should note that the funding is not a budget for an individual child.  A good school should encourage parents of their adopted children to be involved in discussions how the funding could be used for the cohort.

3. How do I help my child’s school to understand curriculum triggers like family trees, NSPCC talks etc?

It is important to develop and maintain regular communication with your child’s school and designated teacher for previously looked-after pupils from the outset. Go into school early in the term and explain the potential triggers so they can be prepared.

Wherever possible share as much information as you can (this will depend on the age of the child and how much the child wants to share) and work with the school to consider:

  • What does the young person know about their past?
  • What are their worries or concerns?
  • What sort of activity in school might cause them upset or distress?
  • When you might ask them to let you know about something that might be happening in advance? 

You may need to be prepared to give the school guidance on how they should handle the situation and you could also signpost the school or designated teacher to DfE post-adoption documents and/or adoption support resources that you feel could be useful with regard to your child.

4.  How do I challenge the behaviour policy of my child's school?

Every school must have a behaviour policy and must make this available in writing to parents. However there are differences in how this might be done depending on the type of school your child attends. Many schools publish a copy of the behaviour policy on their website. If your child attends an academy and a copy is not published on the website then a copy must be made available to you on request.

Things which should be taken into consideration include;

  • Are sanctions monitored to identify any inconsistency or potential discrimination (e.g. Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) or ethnicity)?
  • Are systems in place to identify pupils showing persistent poor behaviour and if there are any underlying causes?
  • From September 2018, the designated teacher for previously looked after children should make sure that policies do not discriminate against students who have experienced early trauma.

5. My child is struggling at school, who do I go to for help?

If your child is struggling at school it is recommended to speak to their class teacher or designated teacher in the first instance to discuss your concerns. Depending on how you feel your child is struggling, be it in their learning, making friends, socialising etc. they may be able to recommend extra support or suggest how they could do things differently in lessons to help your child feel more comfortable and confident.

It is also worth considering what you can do at home to further support their learning and personal development at school such as:

  • Get to the root of the issue. Speak with your child as well as their teacher to get to the bottom of what’s contributing to the problem. By understanding where the problems are coming from, you and your child will be able to both confront them and fix them, together.
  •  Instead of asking ‘how was school’ ask specific questions based on what you know about their school day.  Ask about what they have learnt, what they found interesting, even asking what they had for lunch shows you are interested in their day. 

6. I need help understanding EHCPs

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) describes your child’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and the help they will get to meet them.  An EHCP also includes any health and care provision that is needed. It is a legal document written by the local authority and is intended to ensure that children and young people with an EHCP receive the support they need.

If you need help understanding your child’s EHCP contact your child’s teacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at school.

7. How do I handle transitions in school (change of teacher, moving to secondary school etc)?

Transition can be a very difficult time for young people who do not like change.  Therefore whenever possible careful planning and an extended period of transition activities can help to ease any worries or feelings of uncertainty. 

Key to this is:

  • Sharing of information
  • The young person getting to know the physical space they will be moving to
  • The young person building relationships in advance of the move. 

For a change of school:

All schools have a designated teacher (DT).  It would be very useful to ask for a meeting with the DT from both schools to plan the transition.

Where transition works well:

  • Transition activities are planned well in advance
  • A key worker from each school is involved in this planning.
  • Information – e.g. academic and detailed knowledge about the young person is shared between the schools
  • Key workers visit the young person in their existing school.
  • Key workers go on visits with the young person to the new school – this may be as part of a bigger transition programme if all children are moving. This enables the young person to build relationships in advance of the school move, and be able to find their way around the school.
  • Gather as much information as you can, and talk everything through with your child so they understand what will happen. Use visual displays at home of timetables, map of school layout, photographs etc. and give them lots of reassurance, before and during the transition period. Be prepared that it may take quite a while for them to settle in.

8. My child has been excluded from school, where can I go for help?

If your child has been excluded speak to school via the designated teacher in the first instance to ascertain what has happened and if there is anything which could be done to rectify the situation.

For children and young people who are looked after or previously looked after you can also contact VCET.

9.     Where can parent carers access this service?

Email:  vcet@eastriding.gov.uk 

Telephone: (01482) 394000 option 6

10.     How can children and young people and their families access this service?

Email:  vcet@eastriding.gov.uk 

Telephone: (01482) 394000 option 6

11.     What times are you open?

Monday: 9am - 5pm

Tuesday: 9am - 5pm

Wednesday:  9am - 5pm

Thursday: 9am - 5pm

Friday: 9am - 5pm

Weekends: Closed

12. How do families need to be referred into the service? 

Parents and guardians of PLAC can self-refer for advice and guidance.

13. Is there any eligibility criteria families must meet to access the service once they have been referred?

Parental consent is required from parents and guardians of PLAC.

14. Who can parent carers contact if they have a compliment, concern or complaint about your service?

Email: customer.relations@eastriding.gov.uk