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Education for looked after children

The Virtual School for Looked After Children, also known as the REALAC service (Raising the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children) is a multi-disciplinary team within education, care wellbeing and learning. The team provides a service to children, social workers, school staff, parents and carers, and where children and young people are either looked after, or at risk of becoming looked after by Gateshead Local Authority.

The Virtual School team promotes and supports the educational achievement of looked after children across all services and at every level of the authority, particularly with social workers, designated teachers and foster carers, to ensure that it is treated as a high priority.

REALAC provides direct support to children, carers, social workers and schools in the following areas:

  • When a change of school is needed or there is at risk of school exclusion
  • With on-going educational support when a child is in between educational placements eg through Bridges2Learn and direct teaching time from our teacher
  • Providing a wide range of training opportunities to support and promote the educational achievement of our children 
  • Support when an appropriate alternative placement is required
  • Offers of work experience placements (Pathways2Work) during the holidays
  • Support with any aspect of ensuring all looked after children have an up to date Personal Education Plans (PEPs)
  • One to one tuition to support educational achievement
  • Support with the Special Educational Needs process

The current team includes:

  • Ann Muxworthy, Head teacher of the Virtual School & Lead Inspector for SEND Inclusion
  • Vivienne Cunneen, Deputy Head of the Virtual School & REALAC manager

If you have specific enquiries, please phone 0191 433 8732 or email

For more information visit the Education Gateshead Website

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