Previously looked after children

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; and
  • 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)

Eligibility for support

You may be eligible for support from the virtual school if you are:

  • a parent or carer of previously looked after children or young people aged 2 to 16 years old
  • professionals who work with previously looked after children or young people
  • an eligible child or young person

Parental consent must be sought by professionals before any discussion with the Virtual School relating to a named previously looked after child.

Our support

The Virtual School will:

  • respond to parental requests for advice and information – where appropriate, we will signpost parents to other services that can offer advice and support
  • respond to requests for advice and information from providers of early education, designated teachers in maintained schools and academies, and providers of alternative provision in their area in respect of individual children supported by the local authority
  • make general advice and information available to early years settings and schools to improve awareness of the vulnerability and needs of previously looked after children (including promoting good practice on identifying and meeting their needs, and guidance on effective use of the Pupil Premium Plus)
  • help facilitate personal education planning meetings (the plan will then be passed on to the school to maintain)

The Post Adoption Centre education advice line

Staffed by Education Advisers, this service offers an opportunity for adoptive parents, special guardians, school staff and social workers to talk through any school or educational concerns about adopted or special guardianship children, and receive advice and support.

The advice line is open each Wednesday and Thursday during the school term between 10am and midday.

Call 0207 284 5879.

You can also access support and advice by emailing