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Virtual School for Looked After Children

Hackney Education,
1 Reading Lane,
E8 1GQ
Telephone: 020 8356 5016


Who are we?  

The Virtual School service is responsible for making sure Looked After Children (LAC) and Care Leavers, young people in the youth justice system, adopted children and all children with a social worker achieve the best possible educational outcomes.

The service has multi-disciplinary team that work with Young People, schools, colleges, social workers and foster carers to support young people through school and into further or higher education, employment or training.

How can we support you? 

Hackney’s Virtual School provides advice and guidance about education provision for all looked after and adopted children placed in Hackney.

The advice and support we offer includes detailed knowledge of individual schools, the admissions process and how to access additional support.

We provide:

  • A bespoke service that provides support to young people in educational settings
  • Additional learning experiences
  • Support with school moves
  • Advice and guidance on educational pathways
  • Training to schools, social workers and foster carers on educational issues.

Supporting Outcomes for Children In Need

As a result of the Department for Education’s Children In Need Review 2021 new guidance and an extension of the Virtual School role has been agreed (PDF 141KB). This includes ‘supporting educational outcomes for Children in Need’.

Hackney Virtual School has appointed 2 new Learning Managers who will be improving outcomes for these children and young people. They are here to support, bring networks together and overcome difficulties and barriers to achieving for Children in Need.

The Virtual School plans to work with schools, the Children and Families Service and Hackney Education to enhance partnerships between education settings and the local authority. This will:

  • support agencies to work together for better outcomes
  • identify the needs of children and young people eligible for the service and intervene to overcome barriers to poor educational outcomes
  • ensure pupils reach their potential
  • support and advise key professionals to help children make progress, including through increasing their confidence in using evidence-based interventions.

This will not involve direct work with children, however the Virtual School will be providing oversight and advice where required. If you would like to discuss this project further, or discuss particular issues relating to a child, please contact the Virtual School.

Record Last Updated on: 26/01/2022

Time / Date Details

Session Information

Learning support for children and young people in educational settings.
Support all year for care leaver aged 16-25 to access education, employment or training

Other Details



Who is eligible?

The definition of a child in need as stated in Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, says a child will be considered in need if:

  • they are unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without provision of services from the Local Authority;
  • their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of services from the Local Authority;
  • they have a disability.

Children in need may be:

  • children with SEND
  • young carers
  • children who have committed a crime
  • children whose parents are in prison
  • asylum seeking children.

Children and young people who are eligible to receive a service from the Virtual School team are;

  • All young people who enter or leave the care system including care leavers and adopted children. .
  • All children who are known to the Youth Justice team.
  • All children with a social worker.

Referral required?


Referral Details

Referrals via the Virtual School's Headteacher Nick Corker

What to do if you have a complaint

How you feel about having used or experienced a service is important. Services often ask for feedback to help them understand how to make sure people they work with have a good experience.

If you have feedback about this service you can talk to the person who worked with you or, if you feel more comfortable, a service manager. They will try to help sort out any problems.

If you are still not happy with the service you can raise your concerns formally. This means someone who is not part of the service will look at your feedback or concern and see if anything can or needs to be done to help make things better.

If you need to make a formal complaint you can use the London Borough of Hackney complaints procedure.

How to Get Here

Buses: 30, 38, 388, 55, 106, 236, 242, 253, 276, 277, D6

Train: London Fields, Hackney Central, Hackney Downs

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Disclaimer-important information about the Hackney Local Offer

Hackney's Local Offer website is a free and impartial service provided by the London Borough of Hackney in partnership with the NHS, local education, health and community services. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that may be available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the London Borough of Hackney or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information. Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from use or loss of use of data or profits arising out of or in connection with the use of the Hackney Local Offer.

Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.

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