Surrey Virtual School role in supporting previously looked-after children

Previously looked-after children (PLAC) are defined as '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. The duties also extend to children who were adopted from 'state care' outside of England and Wales' as outlined in the 2018 statutory guidance. This includes if the 'state care' was provided by a public authority, a religious organisation or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society'.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to 'promote the educational achievement of PLAC in their area by providing information and advice' as outlined in the statutory guidance. These duties apply to children:

  • who are in early years provision
  • throughout their compulsory years of education
  • adopted from overseas or other UK nations
  • attending schools within Surrey
  • provision funded in part or in full by the state.

If your child is on pre-adoptive placement and still legally looked after, the relevant Virtual School will be that of the placing authority.

In Surrey, this duty is fulfilled through:

  • Offering information, advice and guidance to parents/ carers and education settings
  • Where appropriate, signpost to services and resources
  • Work alongside education settings to promote good practice for PLAC
  • Work alongside other professionals as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

To contact the team, please email

Information, advice and guidance

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