Reading Virtual School’s first virtual annual conference – 17 June 2022

An exciting programme of events is promised for guests at Reading Virtual School’s first virtual annual conference in June.

The theme is ‘United Journeys: Transform lives, shape futures, be remembered’ and is aimed at those who look after and work with care experienced children and young people.

There is an impressive line-up of top guest speakers throughout the day along with reflections from Reading care leavers and an award-winning short film about a young boy living with a foster family, called Be-Longing.

The free conference is being hosted online on Friday 17 June, 9am-3pm, and registration is open now.

Leading practitioner and author Louise Michelle Bomber is the keynote speaker opening the conference. Louise has a wealth of experience as both an adoptive parent and as a professional and is author of the book Inside I’m Hurting and, more recently, Know Me to Teach Me.

Closing the conference will be inspirational keynote speaker and author Jaz Ampaw-Farr. Jaz has led national and international projects unlocking potential in leaders and teams and is renowned for the impact she has had on the education and health sectors.

Other guest speakers include author and Brighter Futures for Children practitioner Bharti Dhir, trainer and author Lisa Cherry and a representative from Coram Children’s Legal Services.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children which provides education and children’s services in Reading, said: “Our Virtual School is delighted to be staging its first annual conference with such an esteemed programme of influential speakers.

“I am sure social workers, designated safeguarding leads, foster carers and anyone else who works with care experienced children and young people will find this an inspirational and thought-provoking event.”

Each registration for the event will be entered into a raffle to win one of five copies of Bharti Dhir’s book, Worth. Any school whose staff register for a place will also be sent a copy of Louise Michelle Bomber’s Attachment Aware Schools Series.

For more information and to register for the conference visit: Reading Virtual School Conference.


  • Brighter Futures for Children is a not-for-profit company owned by, but independent of, Reading Borough Council with the responsibility of delivering education and children’s services in Reading.
  • Reading Virtual School exists to raise educational attainment and aspiration and narrow the gap between children in care and their peers.

Celebrating the magic of Reading’s fostering community

Fostering communities is the theme of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight and Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) will be celebrating the brilliant fostering community in Reading and encouraging more people to join it.

Foster Care Fortnight, which runs 9 – 22 May, is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign delivered by The Fostering Network charity.

This year’s focus is on celebrating the strength and resilience of fostering communities and all they do to ensure children are cared for and supported to thrive.

BFfC’s Fostering team will be out and about in Reading inviting people to learn more about the magic of the town’s fostering community.

Events include:

  • Activities at Forbury Fiesta in Forbury Gardens on Saturday 14 May, 11am-4pm
  • A stand outside Waterstones in Broad Street as part of Reading Children’s Festival on Tuesday 17 May, 10am-2pm
  • A free inspiring online introduction to fostering locally in association with the Parent and Family Network at the University of Reading, along with foster carers and care experienced students. Thursday 12 May, 12noon-1pm. Email: to register.
  • An online information session with one of our foster carers on Wednesday 25 May, 5.30-6.30pm. Email: for details.

We will also be sharing stories and information via BFfC’s social media channels throughout Foster Care Fortnight at: BFfC_Child on Twitter, @BFfCChild on Facebook, LinkedIn and @ReadingYoungPeople on Instagram.

BFfC’s Fostering service is an Ofsted-rated ‘Good’ provider which operates as a not-for-profit agency on behalf of Reading Borough Council.

Our foster carers have been talking about their fostering experience.

One foster carer said: “I don’t think anyone should be scared of fostering. It’s a big decision to make but with support it can be absolutely amazing and actually we get more out of it than the children do sometimes.”

Another said: “If you’ve got a spare room and you’ve got a lot of love to give, and you’re ready to take on somebody else, do it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I wish I’d done it years ago.”

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “We have an amazing fostering community in Reading and I am delighted to be celebrating the work of everyone who’s part of it during Foster Care Fortnight.

“We want more people to know about the magic of our fostering community and to become a part of it so more Reading children can continue to be cared for in their hometown.

“I would urge anyone who has ever considered fostering to visit our Fostering team at an event or sign up to one of the online sessions to find out more.”

Why not enquire about fostering today? Call: 0118 469 3020, email: or visit