This paper is a response to a growing vision of schools as sites of care and support for vulnerable children in the context of HIV and AIDS. The aim is to interrogate this notion and to raise some key issues in considering the role of schools in the context of the epidemic. The paper is based on two research activities. The first was a desk review of projects working in the area of schools in the context of HIV/AIDS and poverty, including a review of the policies underlying these initiatives. The second was the documentation of a particular project in a province of South Africa. The paper begins by outlining some major education policies in South Africa related to the care and support of vulnerable children in the context of HIV and AIDS. The paper then offers three cautionary notes in relation to the thrust of these policies and those programmes attempting to implement them. The first suggests consideration of the context of implementation — the schooling system. The second recommends consideration for resourcing these policies, which is looked at through a case study. The third note considers the policy visions of schools and teachers: how schools and teachers are conceptualised both in policies and programmes is problematised. The misalignment between the policies around schools and vulnerable children, the resourcing of these policies, and their contexts of implementation is brought into relief, as well as the implications for thinking about expanded roles for schools and teachers. The paper offers possible ways forward in considering the role of schools in the context of HIV and AIDS. These include new ways of thinking about resourcing, proper monitoring and evaluation of projects, and a focus on quality teaching and learning.