How we support you in care

Whilst you are in care, it is our responsibility to make sure that you are looked after properly and receive a good education. Professionals from education, care and health will work together to ensure that you feel supported and encouraged to achieve your full potential.

You will have:

  • A dedicated social worker as a first point of contact if you have any problems or questions
  • An Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) who will check the quality of your care. They will also help you if you are unhappy about your care
  • An appointed Achievement Officer from the Virtual School to make sure you receive the same opportunities as all other young people when it comes to your education. They will monitor your progress and will support your school to ensure that you achieve your potential
  • The support from a dedicated Children’s Rights team. They will make sure your rights are respected and that you are treated fairly
  • A care plan, health plan and education plan created for you to make sure you grow up happy, healthy, safe and educated

What is a care plan?

A care plan describes how we will look after you and what needs to be done to help you grow up happy, healthy and safe. You will be involved in making this plan.

Your care plan includes:

  • Where you are going to live
  • How you will keep in touch with your family
  • How long you will remain in care
  • Your education and health
  • What you like doing in your free time
  • Your thoughts, feelings and views

This plan is reviewed twice a year to see if anything needs changing. It is your social worker’s job to make sure that you get all the things agreed in the plan.

What is the Virtual School? 

It is the responsibility of the Virtual School to make sure everyone in care, who is in school, is achieving their best. Every child in Northamptonshire is appointed an Achievement Officer from the Virtual School, who regularly reviews their progress, reads their Personal Education Plans (PEPs) and may also attend their PEP meetings. You may not meet your Achievement Officer, but they are looking out for you from behind the scenes. They will speak to your school if you should be doing better and try to find ways to support you, so that you can achieve your full potential.

What is a Personal Education Plan (PEP)?

Your PEP is an important document which looks at the progress you made last term, where you are now and your future targets. Meetings will be held to discuss how to support you so that you can get the best out of your education.

Before your PEP meeting, your school will complete some sections ready to be discussed at the meeting and you will be asked for your input too.

Other people who will attend the PEP meeting may include your Designated Teacher (DT), your parents, your carers, your social worker, your Achievement Officer from the Virtual School and your Independent Reviewing Officer.

You can also attend the meetings if you would like to. We want to make sure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities, so that you can do whatever you want to do as a career when you leave school.

Pupil Premium Plus (PP+)

If it is decided that you need extra support; for example extra lessons, then a Pupil Premium Plus Grant (PP+) is available to your school to help fund this.

The Virtual School organises a variety of 8 week courses for children of all ages in care. Whatever your interests, it is worth checking out if there is a course for you: drama, sports, media, maths …

Transport is supplied and paid for, so you don’t even have to worry about how you’ll get there! - find out more

If you are interested in this, make sure you mention it at your next PEP meeting.

Further and higher education

What is a health plan?

This is an initial plan which will be completed by your doctor, along with your carers. It will say what needs to happen to keep you healthy.

Reviews will then be carried out by a nurse and you will be given a copy of the plan. Your health plan will also be reviewed twice a year along with your care plan.


An advocate is like a messenger who speaks for you on your behalf.

Your advocate can support you to:

  • Ensure your views and feelings are heard when decisions are being made about your life
  • Make a complaint, give information and advice about rights and attend meetings, reviews and assessments with you
  • Talk to professionals if you feel a bit shy or unsure about what you want to say

Independent visitors

An independent visitor is a volunteer who will spend time with just you on regular basis.

They are someone that you can talk to, get along with and ask for advice. You could even ask your independent visitor to support you in your review.

Before you start to see your independent visitor, we will make sure they are good, safe people. We try to find someone who has lots in common with you such as hobbies and interests.

Can I get an advocate or independent visitor?

  • If you have a Northamptonshire social worker or you are a care leaver, you can contact us to request an advocate.
  • All young people in care have the right to an independent visitor

Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars are a group of young people with additional needs who represent other young people in Northamptonshire.

What do we do?

  • Discuss young people’s issues and services for young people with additional needs
  • Make sure only the right adults are chosen to work with us
  • Support training
  • Make sure locations such as shopping centres, places to visit and leisure centres in the county are accessible and safe

These issues are fed back to help improve the services provided to you. It's a great way to learn new skills, meet lots of different people as well as being good fun.

For more information about how to get involved with the Shooting Stars group, please get in touch with us.

Please complete the Children's Rights contact form to request an advocate, independent visitor ot to find out more about Shooting Stars

Contact Children's Rights

What happens if you cannot contact your social worker?

If you are unable to get in touch with or get an answer from your social worker, you can also contact:

If you want to have your say about the services you receive, you can leave a compliment, complaint or comment below.

Have your say