The Team Around the Child

Corporate Parenting and Key Professionals

The term 'Corporate Parenting' describes the Local Authority role of a good parent to a child in its care.

"Corporate parenting cannot replace or replicate the selfless character of parental love; but it does imply a warmth and personal concern which goes beyond the traditional expectations of institutions." (The Utting report, 1991).

All agencies within Gloucestershire City Council have a responsibility towards children and young people who are looked after. Collaboration and partnership are essential in ensuring that the needs of looked after children are addressed whether they be education, care, employment or housing.

(A picture made by our young people)

Who are the key professionals in the team around the child?

The Virtual School works in partnership with a number of key professionals who play an important role within the team around the child and as 'Corporate Parents' to support the education of children in care. Below are a list of professionals that we work with.

Social Worker

When children and young people come into the care of the local authority, they are allocated a social worker. The social worker acts and exercises the local authority’s corporate parental responsibility.

Their responsibilities include ensuring that the child/young person’s needs are met, they act in the best interest of the child and encourages them to develop to their full potential.

The Virtual School and social care work in partnership to ensure the child’s education is prioritised, alongside their care.

The allocated social worker is the lead professional around the child. Their responsibilities include arranging and reviewing the PEP, liaising with foster carers about the placement, promoting stability at home and school.

Independent Reviewing Officer
The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) provides a general oversight on the decisions made concerning the child, and ensures that they are in the best interest of the child. The IRO has a quality assurance responsibility to ensure that the wishes and feelings of the child/young person’s is taken into full consideration within the care planning and review process. It is important for the IRO to develop a consistent relationship with the child/young person to achieve this. The Virtual School works with the IRO by offering support, advice and guidance to promote positive outcomes for the child/young person.

The Foster Carers play the role in promoting a stable home environment, and supporting the child in care's education by encouraging them to participate and succeed.

Designated Teacher
The Designated Teacher is a skilled and experienced professional who understands the specific educational needs of a looked after child within the school environment.  Their responsibilities include chairing the PEP meeting and being a central point of contact within the school.

Director of Children’s Services
The Director for Children’s Services has the main responsibility of maintaining and promoting a high quality service, and corporate parenting for looked after children.


Other Partnerships include:

  • Child in Care Nurses
  • SEND Department
  • Mentoring Services
  • Alternative Provisions
  • Youth Offenders Services
  • Council Members
  • Extra Tuition Services
  • Other Virtual Schools

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