Skip to main content

Virtual School extend the support by championing the education attendance, attainment and progress of children with a social worker or previously had a social worker. The Elevate project's overall aim is to help produce better educational outcomes, and enhanced personal and social development so that these children have better life chances.


On this page:

  1. Vision
  2. Objectives
  3. Understanding the barriers
  4. Our Support
  5. The Bridge
  6. Useful links


At Virtual School, we aim to enable children with a care worker or previously had a care worker to overcome any barrier and become confident individuals, effective communicators, successful and responsible citizens and to achieve the educational and life outcomes that they deserve. Our commitment is to provide a toolkit to educational settings to promote and create a high quality, inclusive and broad range of educational and social opportunities for these children and support all Blackpool schools.  We dream big.


We understand that, although we can't work with individual children, we can make a difference by providing support and opportunities that can be used by educational settings and social workers. Our 3 main focuses shape how our support is formed. These are:

  1. Make visible to educators the disadvantages children with a social worker experience
  2. Promote Practices that support children’s engagement in education
  3. Improve outcomes and narrowing the attainment gap so every child can achieve their potential

Understanding the barriers

The Review of Children in need from the DfE showed children in need, on average have poorer outcomes at every stage of education than their peers. They start behind other children in the early years and have a widening attainment gap throughout school. They are also more likely than other children not to be in education, employment or training (NEET) after age 16. Key findings include:

  • Children who have needed a social worker have poorer educational outcomes at every stage of education than those who have not, and taking account of other factors associated with attainment, are up to 50% less likely to achieve a strong pass in English and maths GCSEs.
  • Children who are living at home with family on a child in need or child protection plan are just as likely to do poorly in education as looked after children.
  • Beyond school, those who had needed a social worker in the year of GCSEs are less likely to enter higher education at age 18 and by age 21, half of these young people have still not achieved level 2 qualifications (GCSE or equivalent).

Our support

  1. Trauma informed training
  2. Together Programme
  3. Alternative Provision Funding
  4. Back On Track
  5. Vulnerable pupils information
  6. Attendance support
  7. Training opportunities
  8. Pilot interventions

Trauma informed training

Due to the increasing recognition of the prevalence and impact of trauma, Blackpool Council have created an opportunity for schools to become trauma informed. A team with a varied background have developed training that is offered in various tiers through staff CPD sessions. 

Through participating in this training, staff will be equipped with new knowledge and skills which enable them to apply trauma and attachment aware strategies in school. For further information on the training, please email

Together programme

The programme offers a range of workshops led in schools as an extra-curricular club for both a child and their significant adult. The range of options schools may currently want to be involved with are:

  • KS1 Reading Together
  • KS2 Getting Active Together
  • KS2/3 Cooking Together

Further clubs will available in the near future. 

Each workshop has a learning focus in which the child and adult work together to develop academic, social and relationship skills as well as sharing enjoyment through specific hands on learning experiences. The aim is to improve family's engagement into school learning The Virtual School are committed to supporting schools to deliver these programmes by providing session plans, resources and/or funding towards the running of the club. For further information or to apply for one of the Together offers please email

Alternative Provision Scholarship

As part of our efforts to support schools to reduce the risk of NEET for children with a social worker or previously had a social worker, we are offering all Blackpool secondary schools part funding for vocational alternative provisions. Schools can choose places from: 

  • Construction
  • Hair and beauty
  • Cooking

These places are available on Thursdays and Fridays for year 10 pupils starting in September 2022 lasting throughout the full academic year. For further information about this funding email

Back on track

'Back on Track’ is for young people who have been identified as being on the edge of exclusion from mainstream education. The aim of ‘Back on Track’ is to have a collaborative approach so that everyone involved in a young person’s life, works together so that the young person can remain in mainstream education. Support is given to the young person so that they understand how they can increase their resilience. It complements the whole school approach to resilience.

Virtual School are committed to fully funding places for those children who have or have had a social worker to support their engagement into education. Application forms can be found on the Blackpool PSHE website. Alternatively contact for further information about this unique offer.

Vulnerable pupils information

Virtual school are committed to keep schools up to date with which pupils currently receive support from children's social services. Each half term school's DSLs will receive and email with information regarding pupils current support and who their allocated worker is.

If you would also like to be included in these emails, please message stating your school and the position you hold that setting.

Attendance support

Along with the vulnerable pupils information schools receive at the start of each half term, individual schools gets an updated attendance tracker for their setting. This tracker shows the attendance for children whilst they have been on a CP or CIN plan that academic year. Comparison data is also shared with the previous term and year's attendance for this cohort of young people.

The information should be used by schools to then to set aspirational targets for their setting and use appropriate support where needed. This data is updated half termly along with information from the 2021/22 academic year to be used as a comparison.  If you have any questions regarding this or need navigating through the spreadsheet, please do not hesitate to contact virtual school via the email address 

Training opportunities and resources

Blackpool Virtual School work closely in developing training opportunities for school staff and social workers around safeguarding children, inclusive parctices, attainment and the curriculum, SEN processes, interventions known to make the biggest impact for vulnerable children including children with a social worker. To access the range of training courses on offer visit Blackpool's PSHE website.

Along side many of these courses are a range of resources for schools and social workers and planning support. To access these resources follow this link and click on the side toolbar on the PSHE website.

Pilot interventions

Virtual school, through the Elevate Project, are currently running two pilot interventions:

  • Speech and Language Early intervention - Two schools are using Early Talk Boost for their EYFS and KS1 pupils who are open to social services or previously open. We will be sharing the impact of this intervention in the up and coming months with the possibility to making this available to all Blackpool primary schools.
  •  Attendance support (AIM High) - Virtual School are working directly with the Education Psychologist Service and PWOs to deliver a bespoke attendance intervention for highlight CP/CIN families in three pilot schools.

If you would like to be part in any further interventions to support children with a social worker please get in touch with

The Bridge

The Bridge Event is a termly online training event available to social workers, schools and other education services linked to Blackpool. Various 30 minute sessions are run throughout the day for professionals to access.

The next 'The Bridge' event is on Monday 27th February. For more details or to book on any sessions please contact

Useful links

Blackpool PSHE website - Latest information about local training courses for schools.

The Platform - The Platform is a new service for 16 to 24 year olds to help them find a job, access training or education.

FYI Directory - Website designed to help you find local support services in the Blackpool area.

SEN Graduated approach - Webpages that provide support and resources to aid the process of meeting the individual needs of all children and young people with special educational needs. 

Safe 4 me - The website provides educators, service providers and parents with information and resources to help educate, guide and support children and young people to keeping safe.