14 December 2011
Government figures published today show efforts to improve the educational achievement of looked-after children have failed to make an impact, says leading care charity The Who Cares? Trust.
The statistics show that looked-after children are four times less likely to achieve five good GCSEs than their peers, and that just over half of looked-after children reach the expected education level at age 11.
Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive of The Who Cares? Trust said:
‘Today’s figures reaffirm a depressing truth, which is that the state is not doing enough to help the children in its care to achieve at school.
‘Government funding through the Pupil Premium has failed to reverse this trend. The gap between looked after children and their peers at Key Stage Four has actually widened.
‘Statistics show that the care system can help young people do well and achieve stability and security that they lacked before coming into care. However, they need to receive more support from the state at the right time and in the right way. The data shows that where children are able to find a secure, stable home in the care system they are up to three times more likely to do well at school.
‘The Government has removed the requirement for local authorities to provide personal education allowances and spending cuts are reducing the availability and impact of successful projects like Virtual School Headteachers.
‘Research to be published in January by The Who Cares? Trust shows that there is confusion on the front line about key Government policies, such as the pupil premium and the National Scholarship Programme for care leavers going onto university.
‘We want the Government to do more to ensure that looked-after children have the support they need to achieve well in education and give local authorities the funding and powers they need to fulfil their role as corporate parents.’
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Notes to editors
The Who Cares? Trust is a UK-wide charity that works to improve the lives of children and young people in care. We do this by:
• using our expertise and influence with government policy-makers
• informing, empowering and supporting children and young people in care, through our magazines and other publications and through projects and campaigns which directly benefit them, and
• producing information and support materials for foster carers and professionals as a means to improving the lives of children in care.
For media enquiries, further data analysis or interview requests please contact Jemma Roche on 0207 017 2788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org