New to Care (Virtual School)

If you are now in the care of Surrey local authority and are of an age to attend school, you will be a pupil of Surrey's Virtual School for Children in Care.

If you are the Designated Teacher, or another member of staff from a school with a child or young person newly into care - here is a quick checklist of the things you should already have and/or should request access to immediately to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning for this child or young person.

If a child or young person is expected to join your school soon you should:

  • Have had contact with their social worker, know their name and have their contact details
  • Have been provided with details and contact information about the child's current carers
  • Have been given details of any specific safeguarding information such as adults who should not have contact with the child.
  • Have been requested to set a date for an initial Personal Education Plan meeting – this is essential where a child is newly into care and needs to be completed within 20 days of a child entering care.
  • Have been supplied with a copy of the child's latest Personal Education Plan (PEP)

You should request:

  • A date for a PEP meeting with the social worker, if this has not been requested of you.
  • Where relevant, the child's latest IEP and Statement of Education
  • The legal care status of the child – ICO (interim care order), FCO (full care order) or Accommodated (Section 20). This may need updating within a short period of time, dependent on the individual circumstances as an interim care order may be replaced with a full care order as a case proceeds through the courts.

You should ensure:

  • School information management systems hold the correct data;
    • identifying the child as In Care, with the correct Caring Authority
    • recording accurately Carer details, including any mobile numbers for school text messaging
    • The vast majority of children – those fostered or resident in children's homes are not eligible for Free School Meals (FSM). This status is not affected by the individual circumstances of the carer – they receive funding to supply all meals for children in their care. Therefore, the child's record should not identify them as currently eligible for FSM.