Inclusion and the Virtual School

Inclusion and the Virtual School

The Virtual School fulfils local authority statutory duties to ensure that vulnerable learners receive their entitlement to good quality full time education in inclusive settings where they are safe to learn.

Service level agreement

Inclusion support services available to education settings from 1st April 2017

Inclusion support services which are non-statutory are now available to all education settings through this service level agreement (SLA) which provides a level of service in addition to that which the local authority has a statutory duty to provide.

The SLA is delivered through 3  well-established and familiar teams: Education Welfare, Inclusion (incorporating EOTAS) and Schools’ Safeguarding and Wellbeing.

Please browse through the Inclusion pages brochure and then get in touch with us.

For further information or to arrange a support through the Inclusion SLA please contact:
  • Angela Cunningham, Education Welfare Team Manager, 01670 623367
  • Carol Leckie, Schools’ Safeguarding and Wellbeing Team Manager 01670 622720
  • Janice Woods, Inclusion Team Manager 01670 623412
  • Tina Abberline, Virtual School Business Support Manager, 01670 623970  
* Please note that the support package Alternative Inclusion Support on page 26 costs £500 in total (and not per day).

Information about statutory services delivered by inclusion support teams and the Virtual School follows on the rest of this webpage.

Virtual School for Looked After Children

Our virtual school enables the effective co-ordination of services to champion the education needs of Northumberland's children in care.

The Virtual School has no school building but we do share some features of a ‘real’ school to enable us to meet the needs of individual looked after children.  Virtual school pupils are enrolled at real schools and remain the responsibility of the school at which they are enrolled.

Our virtual school has a(n):

  • workforce which includes the
    • Headteacher, Jane Walker;
    • education support for looked-after children (ESLAC) team;
    • designated teachers for looked-after children in all our schools and academies;
  • multi-agency looked-after partnership (MALAP) - our governing body and critical friend which drives our improvement and promotes high standards of educational achievement;
  • assessment database which tracks and monitors the progress and attainment of all looked-after children in Northumberland schools and our children in schools or academies outside of our authority;  
  • improvement plan which sets out our priorities for each academic year;
  • statutory guidance from the Department for Education.

Virtual School Headteacher Annual Reports
Designated teachers for looked after children
It is a statutory requirement that every school has a designated teacher for looked-after children (LAC). Amongst other responsibilities this teacher must provide an annual report to the governing body who should appoint a member to oversee provision and work with the teacher to champion the needs of children in care.

Every looked-after child must have a personal education plan (PEP) to support their progress and achievement in school. The PEP is part of the child's care plan.  Designated teachers must ensure the PEP:
  • is up to date and in line with education health and care plan (EHCP) reviews, looked-after children (LAC) reviews and transition plans (if applicable);
  • notes the date of the next meeting;
  • involves the parent (if appropriate), carer and young person;
  • has SMART targets relating to educational achievement;
  • demonstrates how resources are used.

Communications from the Virtual School for designated teachers

Termly newsletter: Half-termly bulletin: Useful information: There are 4 PEP templates which share common features to allow progression from Early Years to Post-16:
  • Early Years PEP
  • PEP Years 1 to 8
  • PEP Years 9 to 11
  • PEP Years 12 to 13
Please note that from September 2017 we will be starting to implement an ePEP.  
Get in touch
For general enquiries or to contact the Virtual School Headteacher, Jane Walker:


Brunel Building
64 Regent Street
NE24 1LT

Tel: 01670 622779

Education support for looked-after children

Meet the education support for looked after children (ESLAC) team - what we do, services offered and how to get in touch.

About our education support for looked-after children (ESLAC) team
Our ESLAC team promotes and supports the education of looked-after children and is part of the Northumberland virtual school.

Our contribution to raising the achievement of looked after children is significant and includes:
  • ensuring that Personal Education Plans (PEPs) are completed to a high standard, including the Pupil Premium Plus agreement, and that it is an effective mechanism to support the achievement of looked after children;
  • ensuring looked-after children are prioritised and fast-tracked wherever possible through our services;
  • establishing and maintaining a professional network at local and strategic levels to promote education of looked-after children;
  • advising and supporting schools and social care staff regarding the education of looked-after children;
  • remaining up-to-date with the latest government advice and good practice.
The support we offer
Support to meet the identified needs of individual learners can include:
  • negotiating alternative provision, facilitating managed moves, supporting re-integration into school;
  • one to one classroom support and additional teacher time;
  • extra help after school with some Key Stage 2 SATS or GCSE revision;
  • access to computers and loan of educational software;
  • information and guidance (IAG) from Year 9 onwards:
  • co-ordinating multi-agency support, including social workers and foster carers;
  • training and awareness raising for other professionals who work with looked-after children.
Looked after children from other local authorities
Our virtual school monitors the progress and attainment of children in care with other authorities who are on roll in Northumberland schools. Support from most of the teams in the Education and Skills Service can be accessed by schoools for the benefit of those children.

However, the type of support offered by our ESLAC team and the funding available to support individual children will be provided by the authority with which any individual child is in care. 

If you need help to make contact with virtual schools in other authorities, contact us on (01670) 622779, or
e-mail us at

Get in touch
Our referral procedure is simple - telephone or email us. We accept referrals from carers, social workers, parents and teachers. We’re happy to talk to young people too.

For general enquiries:

Tel: 01670 622779

Brunel Building
64 Regent Street
NE24 1LT


Education welfare

The Education Welfare Service fulfills the statutory obligations of the Council with regard to school attendance, children in entertainment and employment and chaperones.

The Education Welfare Service (EWS) works to ensure that the local authority’s statutory duties and other responsibilities for safeguarding children in relation to school attendance, elective home education, children missing education, child employment and performance licensing are carried out to the highest possible standard.

Work is undertaken on behalf of children in partnership with their parents, schools and other professionals to enable each pupil the maximum opportunity to benefit from their statutory education entitlement.

Work is also undertaken at a whole school level to support schools with their policies and practices to improve attendance.

To apply for a child employment licence, a child entertainment licence or to be a chaperone for a child in entertaiment, please follow this link: child employment licence

Key documents:


Elective Home Education

Definition of elective home education, guidance for parents and schools, key documents

These guidance notes are intended to help parents who are either considering or have decided to educate their child at home rather than at school. The education of a child at home is a great responsibility for a family.  It demands a serious commitment in terms of time, patience and energy.  This information should make clear the current legislation, together with Northumberland County Council’s policies and ways of working.  We hope the questions and answers will clarify the situation and help you reach the best decision for your child.

Disagreements at school
Children should not be taken out of school because of a disagreement with the school or because you have been asked to.  There are ways of solving problems such as contacting the headteacher, the governors of the school or you can contact the Education Welfare Service.

Children missing from education

Education Welfare fulfills the Local Authority's statutory duty to identify children missing education and get them back into education.

Our arrangements have been developed in partnership with the LSCB and enable us to establish the identities of children in our area who are not registered pupils at a school and who are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.   The agreed procedures include measures to prevent children at risk of becoming CME.  

Northumberland Local Authority can demonstrate that the statutory guidance regarding children missing from education is followed. 

Northumberland's arrangements can be downloaded here: Missing Out.

Inclusion support

Inclusion Support Workers work with pupils, families and professionals to support pupils who need to re-engage with learning and get 'back on track'

The key objectives of the team are to:

  • actively promote inclusive practice and build capacity within schools/academies/alternative providers to ensure that the educational, social, emotional and health development of learners is fully supported and that education outcomes improve;
  • integrate inclusion support services with Early Help, children’s social care and other partner agencies to promote inclusive practice in education settings.
These objectives are achieved by offering support through our service level agreement to:
  • provide early help for pupils who might become at risk of exclusion or who are at risk of becoming persistent absentees;
  • support for pupils for whom a managed move is being considered;
  • authoring and leading on Early Help Assessments;
  • support for pupils into and out of alternative provision;
  • transition support for pupils who have moved into the authority from out of county or who are between schools/settings.

What do Inclusion Support Workers do?
Inclusion Support Workers are deployed to have a positive impact on education outcomes for learners by promoting inclusive practices within schools/settings to ensure that their diverse needs are met.
Inclusion Support Workers can:
  • provide information, advice and guidance to enable individuals to access a full and varied curriculum and to make appropriate choices regarding their own learning,  behaviour and attendance;
  • support individual learners by through coaching and mentoring;
  • support  schools and settings by actively promoting inclusive practices to ensure that diverse individual needs are identified and assessed;
  • facilitate positive relationships between families/home and school through liaison with parents and schools;
  • identify training needs within schools/settings, deliver training, set up support groups, work with parent groups where appropriate;
  • provide in-school and/or family support for learners at risk of exclusion;
  • provide early help for learners missing from education to re-engage pupils in their learning and therefore improve attendance.
How do I refer into the service
Parents/carers can refer into the service via the local area Early Help Hub arrangements. 
Schools/settings can refer into the service in the following ways:
1.where an Early Help Assessment (EHA) is in place, the team manager can be contacted directly by phone or e-mail and will decide if ISW involvement will meet the need(s) of the learner concerned; 

2.if inclusion support is the only service required, a direct referral can be made using the Referral Passport:

3.if there is no Early Help Assessment (EHA) in place and/or you are unsure of the service(s) required, then a referral should be made to the local area Early Help hub;

4.if urgent support is required, for example where a learner is at risk of immediate permanent exclusion, then the team should be contacted by phone or e-mail directly.
For further information please contact us on 01670 623412.
Northumberland adolescent services
Northumberland Adolescent Service (NAS) is part of children’s social care and consists of a range of services who support children and young people of ages 8 to 18 (some from 21 to 25 if in education):
  • Sorted-young people’s substance misuse service
  • Youth Offending Service including the Liaison and Diversion Service
  • 14+ social work team
  • Adolescent health team including teenage pregnancy workers (commissioned from Northumbria Healthcare)
  • Accommodation team
  • Intensive family support workers delivering on Troubled Families programme
  • Participation and Programmes team

Further information about adolescent services can be downloaded to print here

All services can be contacted at
Northumberland Adolescent Services
Northumbria House
Manor Walks
NE23 6UR

Tel: 01670 622930

Education other than at school: EOTAS

EOTAS provides or facilitates alternative education for pupils who are unable to attend school as a result of permanent exclusion or for health and medical reasons

EOTAS inclusion
EOTAS inclusion is part of the Inclusion Team and provides for learners who are of statutory school age who have been permanently excluded from school, including:
  • statutory requirements of the permanent exclusion process whereby the local authority has a responsibility to arrange full-time education for permanently excluded learners which should be in place no later than the 6th day after the first day of the exclusion.  Schools are required to notify the local authority of a permanent exclusion on that first day.
  • management of a fair access protocol through the Pupil Placement Panel;
  • quality assurance of alternative providers on the Northumberland County Council Alternative Provision Framework;
  • advice and guidance on inclusive practice.
Alternative Providers on the Northumberland framework are quality assured through contract compliance, school improvement partners and the Inclusiont eam.

The Council's framework is intended to meet the needs of pupils of statutory school age who are:
  • permanently excluded from school;
  • who have been excluded from school on a fixed term basis;
  • at risk of disengaging from mainstream education;
  • who require additional support during a negotiated transfer between mainstream schools; 
  • who may need alternative provision to meet their entitlement to full time education.
For support and guidance regarding alternative provision please telephone 01670 624183 or 01670 624187, or e-mail us at 

EOTAS wellbeing
EOTAS Wellbeing provides for learners who are of statutory school age but who are unable to attend school full time due to health and medical needs.  

Medical needs: referrals are usually made by Education Welfare Officers or school pastoral managers/heads of year with confirmation in writing from a medical professional (usually a consultant rather than a GP) that the learner is unable to attend school because of their medical condition.

Mental health needs: referrals are usually made by Education Welfare Officers or school pastoral managers/heads of year with confirmation in writing from a mental health professional that the learner is unable to attend school because of their mental health condition.
Get in touch
For advice or guidance if a pupil has been excluded from school or is at risk of being excluded from school, please telephone 01670 624183 or 01670 624187.

For advice or guidance if a pupil is physically or mentally ill, please telephone 01670 622720.

Related documents

Safeguarding and schools

The Schools’ Safeguarding and Wellbeing team supports schools to create environments where vulnerable pupils are safe to learn and monitors safeguarding standards in schools.

Information for Schools regarding all aspects of safeguarding children in Northumberland can be found on ONE PAGE which is updated regularly by the Education and Skills Service in partnership with our Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).

A bulletin is distributed to schools, academies and education providers across Northumberland every half term, the latest issue can be downloaded to view and print here:

Education settings are all required to comply with the DfE's statutory guidance for safeguarding children: Training is available from Northumberland's LSCB for schools/academies to access, and as detailed in the brochure for 2017-18: Schools are required to have their own Child Protection Policy which has to be reviewed annually.  A model policy and policy checklist are available here to download and adapt for your setting: Follow this link for further information and guidance from Northumberland's Education and Skills service on creating environments where children are SAFE TO LEARN.

Schools' health and wellbeing

Support to schools and academies regarding PSHE, sex education and the curriculum, drug education and public health issues such as obesity, smoking and teenage pregnancy.

The following range of services are currently available to schools and academies:
  • arrange and deliver individual and group tuition for pupils with medical or mental health needs (EOTAS Wellbeing);
  • support schools as a partner of Northumberland's Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB) including themes such as child sexual exploitation, domestic violence, drug education, Prevent, forced marriage, FGM;
  • monitor safeguarding standards in schools, provide advice and be responsive regarding safeguarding episodes including investigation of safeguarding complaints received from Ofsted;
  • support the delivery of strategic Public Health targets through schools eg obesity, smoking, teenage pregnancy, social and emotional health and wellbeing;
  • discharge Local Authority and school statutory duties relating to sex education and the curriculum.