Interventions & Events

The Virtual School Team co-ordinate a number of interventions and events that aim to improve the educational outcomes and aspirations of children in care.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book-gifting scheme for looked after children aged 0-5 years. The Dollywood Foundation UK offers Imagination Library books to all looked after children aged under 5 in England, in partnership with Virtual Schools. Funding for this scheme has been secured to allow children to regularly receive books for at least the next two years.

The scheme aims to…

  • Inspire a lifelong love of books and reading
  • Promote school readiness
  • Encourage emergent literacy skills
  • Support the development of a rich home literacy environment

The books are all published by Penguin Random House and are selected by a panel of experts in early childhood development and reading.

Children who the Virtual School enroll on the scheme, receive one book every month until their 5th birthday. The book will belong to them and can therefore be kept forever.

The first book that all children receive is a special addition of ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit,’ which includes a note from Dolly Parton. The following books are then different for each age group.

If you require further information about this scheme, contact Nottingham City Virtual School.

Education Psychology Service

There are many reasons why it might be necessary for an Educational Psychologist (EP) to become involved with supporting a child/young person in care or the team around that child/young person. EPs support settings to educate, nurture and provide an inclusive learning environment for all young people but particularly those with high levels of additional needs or who may be additionally vulnerable.

For more information, click on the links below:

Why might an EP become involved?

EP involvement develops the support available for young people who need help with learning, communication, behaviour or their emotional wellbeing.

When a young person is not making the expected progress with their learning, their behaviour is preventing them from learning or participating in lessons, or they seem particularly worried or unhappy, an EP can become involved to try to resolve these difficulties.

EPs can work on a systemic level where there is a need to develop effective systems across a whole setting or for staff training to deepen understanding and skills.

They may also work on an individual case level to enable positive change and support a specific young person and the particular people around them.

Who carries out this intervention?

The Virtual School commission an EP from the Nottingham City Educational Psychology Service.

This is a qualified EP who uses their training in psychology, education & child development to support educational settings to become inclusive of all young people but especially those with high levels of additional needs.

The Nottingham City Educational Psychology Service is regulated by the Health and Care Professionals Council.

What can this intervention offer?

Educational Psychology intervention comes in many different forms.

Once the Virtual School has discussed with the stakeholders their needs, they will then discuss these with the EP who will identify the most appropriate intervention.

Below are the key areas in which EP support is offered, along with some of the training, assessment and intervention opportunities:

Social Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
• Attachment Training
• ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) Training
• Emotion Coaching Training
• Restorative Approach Training
• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Based Intervention
• Circle of Adults/Friends
• Functional Behaviour Analysis
• Theraplay Principles-Based Training

Communication and Learning
• Lego-Based Therapy Training
• Paired Reading Training
• Precision Teaching Training
• Working Memory Training
• Language Assessment
• Numeracy Assessment
• Sensory Assessment
• Standardised Cognitive Assessment

Planning, Problem Solving and Systematic Development
• Consultation
• Force Field Analysis
• Solution Circles
• MAP (Making Action Plans)
• PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope)

Other Areas of Work
• Psychology with the Early Years: Early Years Assessment
• Psychology with 16-25 Year Olds
• Risk Analysis

How might this intervention be able to support?

Through working with the people who know the young person the best, the EP will help develop a plan of action. This plan may include things to try at home and in the educational setting. The plan may include advice on a specific area or many different areas in which the young person needs help.

The EP will not make a diagnosis but will support the adults who know the young person best to make helpful changes. The intervention offered by the EP works to achieve various outcomes, which may include:

• Enabling young people to make positive attachments leading to better learning outcomes and increased academic retention.

• Supporting young people in understanding the relationship between their feelings and actions to enable them to reduce the impact of negative thoughts and behaviours on everyday school life.

• Developing in young people a greater insight into their own behaviour and how this impacts on others, increasing personal responsibility, self-regulation and self-reflection.

• Supporting young people to develop healthy relationships, self-esteem and trust in those around them.

• Developing an inclusive learning environment where the young person understands what is taught in lessons and is set tasks that are presented in the right way for them.

• Facilitating adults to feel empowered, take a pro-active approach and work together to solve complex problems and build harmonious learning environments, which support young people to manage and overcome the challenges they face as part of the learning process.

• Enabling staff to promote and apply strategies that effectively meet emotional needs and develop the young person’s resilience within the educational setting.

• Creating an effective support network around a young person by developing tolerance and understanding in staff and peers about the difficulties that young person may face.

How can this intervention be accessed?

If you feel that you would like an EP to see a Nottingham City child in care, you should contact a member of the Nottingham City Virtual School Team.

It is likely that you will have already put various strategies in place to support the young person and that additional support has been offered by the setting’s SENCO and Designated Teacher (DT) for looked after children. The need for EP involvement will have been discussed with members of the setting team and may have been discussed at a PEP (Personal Education Plan) meeting or another type of education meeting. It may be that the school’s own EP will work with the young person but if this is not possible, the EP commissioned by the Virtual School may become involved.

It could be the Social Worker, DT, SENCO or member of the school management team who contacts the Virtual School. The Virtual School will be pleased to discuss the situation with you and gather the initial information before contacting the EP Service. It is of benefit for the EP Service to become involved at an early stage so making a referral does not always mean that concerns have become serious.

The Virtual School will share the initial information with the EP who will then identify if this is the correct service and if so, which intervention will be most appropriate. It may be that you are advised to consider an alternative, more appropriate service to provide support (e.g. Behaviour Support Team, Learning Support Team, Autism Team, Sensory Impairment and Physical Disability Team), which we will be happy to signpost for you.

What will the process be?

Once the EP has ascertained that a referral is appropriate, the Virtual School caseworker will ask the relevant parties (usually the Social Worker & a member of school staff) to complete a ‘Request for Involvement’ form.

This gathers the following information:
• Current concerns
• Strategies, interventions and current level of SEND Funding
• Agencies involved
• Young person’s strengths
• Expectations of EP involvement

You will also be requested to share:
• Individual education plans, PEPs and provision maps
• Attendance records
• Attainment and progress data
• Behavioural records (if applicable)
• Copies of relevant reports and meeting records (if applicable)

Following the referral, the EP will work in various ways, depending on what is most appropriate. This is communicated through the Virtual School caseworker to the setting and Social Worker before the intervention begins.

The EP will use psychology in a way that helps staff to think about the way they work and whether they can make changes which will lead to better outcomes for the young person.

The EP may:
• Carry out a consultation using their knowledge of psychology to guide the conversation and help the adults involved to make positive changes without the need for direct work with the young person.
• Talk to the adults who know the young person well.
• Sit in on a lesson/task or go out on the playground so that they can see what is happening.
• Present the young person with tasks or tests to gain information about strengths and difficulties in a more structured way.
• Work directly with the young person and talk to them about what is happening.
• Carry out staff training on a large group of individual scale.

Once the EP has collected the information they require, they usually meet with the team around the child to share their thoughts and discuss changes that can be made to facilitate improvement. Written feedback is always provided and usually includes a summary of the information shared and the agreed actions or recommendations. If the young person is aged 16 years or over, the report will also be shared with them, if it is deemed appropriate.

The setting and/or Social Worker will ensure the actions and recommendations are carried out and will monitor progress for the young person before possibly having a review meeting with the EP.

When an Education Health and Care assessment is taking place, the EP will record their findings in a longer report about what the young person is good at, what the concerns are and what the preferred outcomes for the young person are. This will be used by the local authority to ensure they have a full understanding of the young person’s needs. In cases where a Nottingham City child in care lives out of authority, an EP from the local authority in which they reside needs to complete this report due to the ‘belongings regulations’.

Would you like more information?

If you would like more information about the Nottingham City Educational Psychology Service, please follow the link below:

Children In Care Council

The Children in Care (CiC) Council gives Nottingham City young people in care the chance to shape and influence the service they receive. It provides them with the opportunity to share their views about the things that really matter in their lives and influences the overall strategy for Nottingham City children and young people in care.

For more information, click on the links below:

What happens at the CiC Council?

Short, fun workshops take place, the themes of which are determined by the annual ‘Have Your Say Survey’ which is completed by CiC Council members. Examples of these themes include: Learning and Earning, Healthy and Creative You, Safe Lives, Positive Neighbourhoods and Smart Cities. The outcomes of the ‘Have Your Say Survey’ are also presented to the Nottingham City Corporate Parenting Board by the CiC Council members.

Everything that the CiC Council does helps to shape and contribute to the improvement of services that children and young people in care receive.

Refreshments are provided throughout the meetings.

When does the CiC Council meet?

The CiC Council takes place on the last Monday of each month. Sessions run from 17:30 – 20:00.

Confirmed date for 2019-20:
30th September
14th October (moved due to half-term)
25th November
December TBC (Christmas Celebration Event)
27th January
24th February
30th March
27th April
25th May
29th June
July TBC (Summer Social)

Where does the CiC Council take place?

The CiC Council is usually held at:

Loxley House,
Station Street,

Would you like to become a CiC Council member?
If you are aged between 13-18 years and are interested in joining the CiC Council, please contact Nottingham City Virtual School who will put you in touch with the relevant co-ordinator in the Children and Families Department.

Please note that new starters attend their first session with an adult to ensure they settle in well amongst a group of new faces.


The Virtual School provides a termly reward scheme that provides all Nottingham City children in care with the opportunity to be rewarded for educational and personal achievements. Students are nominated by Virtual School staff and can receive a £10 voucher, certificate and congratulations letter. 

If you require any further information about interventions or events, contact the Virtual School Team on:

T: 0115 876 4692