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AFC - Previously looked-after children
AfC Virtual School

Previously Looked-After Children

Support and advice for previously looked-after children's parents, guardians and schools

Parents and Guardians

Education is consistently among the highest priority issues for adoptive parents, according to Adoption UK in their survey (July 2019) in which 80% of adoptive parents felt that their children needed more support in school than their peers. 

AfC Virtual School is engaged in promoting the educational achievement of previously looked-after pupils who attend schools in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and the RBWM. We are a source of advice and information to aid parents of previously looked-after children in navigating the local education offer and offering support and signposting to information about admissions, exclusions, funding, transitions between schools, years groups or classes and any other matters concerning their child’s education. You will find information and resources for all of these subjects at the left hand side of this page. 

We regularly meet with other professionals within the local authority to ensure that the education of previously looked-after children is kept high on the agenda. We provide training for designated teachers, social workers, school governors and independent reviewing officers on a range of educational issues. 

As a virtual school, we recognise that the majority of children who are adopted have been removed from their birth families because they have experienced trauma and neglect. This is a message that we share with schools and other professional agencies across AfC through staff training and resources to ensure that everyone who works with previously looked after children is sensitive to their individual needs. 

While we do not act as corporate parent, as we do for children looked-after, we aim to provide information and advice to help you as parents and guardians to advocate for your child as effectively as possible throughout their education. If you have any questions or concerns about your child's education, please email 

Support for Special Guardians

Adoption Support funding is designed to support your child and your family with any therapeutic needs. The Special Guardianship team can be contacted for advice and support about how to apply for this funding. You can contact them on 0208 547 5850 or by email on

Turn to Us is a charity that aims to ensure that everyone is getting the benefits that they are entitled to. For more information, visit or call them on 0808 802 2000.

Family Rights Group can offer advice and guidance to special guardians regarding their rights and also practical advice and guidance when making an application to the Adoption Support Fund. Call their free advice line on 0208 801 0366 or visit their website:

CATCH (formerly known as the Adopter Hub)

AfC Virtual School also works in partnership with CATCH, a charity dedicated to providing online support, learning opportunities and information for adopters, special guardians, foster carers and professionals working with adoptive families. 

CATCH offers trained 'adopter peer supporters' who provide a listening ear through a one-to-one live web-chat service.

CATCH also employs specialists to inform and develop other elements of their online support offering, including resources about attachment, education and a regular programme of webinars on subjects that are directly relevant to adoptive parents. Their online adopter forum is safe and secure and only accessible to adopters.

If you are interested in a free subscription subsidised by AfC Virtual School, please contact