Virtual School

The York Virtual School For Looked After Children

The aim of  the Virtual School is to enhance the life opportunities for children in care by supporting their education and enabling them to achieve the best they can.

The Virtual school does not replace the school or educational provision of a looked after child - it is an additional resource which exists to support and challenge all those involved in the education of looked after children.

The Virtual School is involved in or promotes various initiatives to support the educational achievement of looked after children. Including providing training and advice for schools, council staff and carers.

The CYC virtual school works closely with colleagues within the council and external agencies as part of an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to supporting looked after children.

The virtual school approach is to work with looked after children as if they were in a single school, liaising with the schools they attend in order to:

  • Raise educational attainment.
  • Track pupil progress and supporting them to achieve as well as possible.
  • Ensure good school attendance.
  • Improve educational stability. 
  • Promote high aspirations and raise the profile of looked after children.
  • Ensure that every child in care has a high quality personal education plan, which is monitored and reviewed by the school.

For more information on the Virtual school you can download the leaflet.

Personal Education Plans

Forms and guidance relating to Personal Education Plans (PEPs) can be downloaded from this site.

Online information for children and young people in care

Show Me That I Matter (SMTIM) is the name of York's Children in Care Council. The SMTIM website provides information for children and young people on anything and everything to do with being in care.

Who We Are

  • Tricia Head, Consulting Headteacher - Tel: 01904 642611
  • Cathy Ardern , Educational Psychologist - Tel: 01904 555897
    Educational Psychologist for Children in Care. As the City of York Educational Psychologist for Children in Care, I aim to help schools, early years settings, colleges and parents/carers to support the education of children and young people in care. I provide a range of services, including training, consultation around individual children and young people, attending steering groups and developing policies around supporting children and young people in care.
  • Gill Clapham,Learning and Work Adviser.

    Gill meets young people to ensure that they have plans in place for their future, and have information on education, employment and training. She also supports visits to sixth forms and colleges and helps get bursaries to support young people with their learning. Gill helps move young people to the Pathway Team as they get older to make sure they get continuous support. She also mentors pupils who may, at sixteen, return to York from out of area.

    Susan (Sue) Large, Administrative Assistant

  • Maintains INTEGRIS database with up-to-date information about Looked after children and young people in terms of attendance and placement;
  • Monitors PEP percentages and collects termly reviews of PEPs;
  • Provides administrative support to the Virtual Head and school.


    Nikki Wilson, Children's Right Advocate - Tel:07769 725174
  • The Children's Rights Advocate promotes the rights and participation of children and young people who are looked after by City of York Council. The main purpose of the job is to; 1) Provide independent advocacy, information and advice to looked after children and young people, including when they wish to complain or are particularly vulnerable due to isolation or disability. 2) Support the City of York Council's elected members and officers in the exercise of their function as corporate parents to looked after children and young people. This includes facilitating York's Children in Care Council, Show Me That I Matter. 3) Promote and facilitate opportunities for looked after children and young people, and care leavers, to influence broader service planning and development across the council.

  • Maxine SquireAssistant Director for Education Services-Tel:01904 553007

    In my role I offer advice and support to primary and secondary schools, working mainly with headteachers and senior leaders. I am an accredited school improvement partner and am York Challenge Partner for secondary schools in York. I am strategic leader of the City of York school improvement team and governor support service.

  • Karron Young and Mike Jory, School Effectiveness and Achievement Advisers

  • Maxine Horsman supports the Virtual School on Early Years matters.