Education resources for foster carers

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Education can change lives. Together with good quality foster care it can transform fostered children’s life chances by unlocking their potential. The Fostering Network has resources, training, publications, and advice lines to help foster carers make the most of educational services and opportunities available to them.

Supporting learning and development

The following pages will give foster carers some starting points for supporting a child's learning and development at home:

 

Education publications and resources

Improving Educational Outcomes for Looked After Children: Toolkit for schools


The Toolkit for Schools was developed by The Fostering Network and education charity Achievement for All (as part of the London Fostering Achievement programme, funded by the Department for Education and the Mayor of London) in consultation with virtual school heads, educational psychologists, foster carers, and teachers. It is designed to be used by schools, providing evidence-based information and guidance relating specifically to the educational needs of looked after children on topics including attachment, trauma, and loss.
 

    England

    Guide to the Education of Looked After Children in England

    The Fostering Network has produced a Guide to the Education of Looked After Children in England as part of our All You Need to Know series, to help foster carers do all they can to help children and young people succeed. It covers the following areas:

    • the role of the foster carer in education
    • early years provision
    • the role of the designated teacher and virtual school head
    • admissions
    • Personal Education Plans
    • and much more.
       

    You can purchase our Guide to the Education of Looked After Children, England online.

    The guide is available to members of The Fostering Network for the discounted price of £12.50 or digitally for £4.99.

    Talking about Higher Education Factsheet

    Foster carers are ambitious for the children they foster. As a key influencer in young people’s lives, foster carers play a major role in the decision-making process, along with teachers, advisers, and their peers. Some young people may find it hard to think of their future and make plans due to an underlying problem of believing there is little point in planning for the future. The first step should be to make them believe they can change their future and with your help, it can happen!

    The Talking about Higher Education Factsheet has information and advice about how foster carers can provide emotional and practical support in the transition from foster care to university life.

    Wales

    Making it Happen

    The Fostering Network, with funding from The Welsh Government, has published a magazine Making it Happen to complement A Foster Carer's Guide to Education in Wales.

    The aim of this magazine is to inspire foster carers to help fostered children and young people in their care raise their ambitions and fulfil their potential in education. It also supports foster carers to consult, challenge and collaborate with schools as an integral part of the team around the child.

    Making it Happen explores the education system from two different viewpoints: An interview with a teacher explores their experiences of what support they like to give looked after children, challenges they’ve faced and overcome and how the education system as a whole supports looked after children. An interview with a foster carer explores how they see their role in supporting young people through the education system, challenges they’ve faced and overcome, and where they go for help.

    Download Making it Happen (English)

    Download Making it Happen (Welsh)

    Greater Expectations

    As a follow up to the Making it Happen magazine and to further inspire foster carers to help fostered children and young people in their care, we have published Greater Expectations. 

    This magazine draws on the lessons from this research and aims to help foster carers, understand more about the challenges that fostered children face at school. But, more importantly, it gives foster carers practical ideas for steps to take to help children in care aim high and fulfil their potential.

    Download Greater Expectations (English)

    Download Greater Expectations (Welsh)

    Working Hand in Hand

    The Fostering Network in Wales has teamed up with the Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) to produce an education magazine for foster carers – Working Hand in Hand. This magazine draws on the voices of young people and foster carers and aims to provide an overview of some of the main challenges that fostered children face at school. But, more importantly, it aims to offer some practical ideas for steps to take to help fostered children and young people do well and enjoy their education. 

    Download Working Hand in Hand (English)

    Download Working Hand in Hand (Welsh)

    What is Needed to Enable Looked After Children to Achieve in Education - 2015

    The Welsh Government commissioned this report, which explores the views of foster carers in Wales regarding what they believe is needed to raise the ambitions and educational outcomes of the young people in their care. It follows consultations and a survey with foster carers carried out by The Fostering Network.

    The report highlights the role of foster carers as first educators for the young people they are caring for, and the desire of foster carers to be increasingly involved in their fostered children’s education.

    Read this report in English and in Welsh. 

    Raising the ambitions and education attainment of children who are looked after in Wales: A review of the third year of the education strategy

    This report sets out foster carers' views of the thirs year of Welsh Governments flagship strategy to raise the ambitions and educational attainment of children who are looked after in Wales. It builds on the detailed reports which informed the Welsh Government’s education strategy for looked after children launched in 2016- and the subsequent review in 2017.

    Read the report

    Aimee’s Diary

    Aimee’s Diary is based on the fictional diary entries of Aimee, a fostered young person in Wales. Each left-hand page lists Aimee’s diary entry while each right-hand page covers advice for teachers, designated staff in educational provisions, social workers and the wider circle within corporate parenthood.
    This is her diary. Aimee became looked after during her last year in primary school as a result of neglect and physical abuse in the family. Jennie became her foster carer after Aimee had spent a few weeks in an emergency placement. Aimee’s Year 6 teacher supported her during her last months in primary school and asked Aimee to stay in touch by writing a diary and sharing it with her.
    This diary focuses on Aimee’s learning needs, but when she is deprived of friends, suffers physical harm, is anxious and depressed and loses her sense of belonging, then her education inevitably suffers.
    This diary takes the reader through from the time Aimee starts secondary school to the point when she is 18, on the cusp of leaving care and preparing for adult life. Will she fulfil her ambitions and grow up into a happy, successful young woman?
     
     

    Education Guide – Working as One: How foster carers and schools can work together to achieve the best outcomes for children looked after in Wales

    Picking up on the themes from the Welsh Government education strategy - Raising the ambitions and education attainment of children who are looked after in Wales, the concerns raised by foster carers in the recent review and learning emerging from The Fostering Network’s Fostering Wellbeing Programme; we have developed a new education guide to help foster carers and schools work together to achieve the best outcomes for children looked after in Wales.

    This publication addresses several issues around how a foster carer can help the child or young person in their care make the most of their time in education. Foster carers often need more holistic support for their child; this can be promoted by engaging proactively with schools and other services and foster carers developing their own knowledge, skills and confidence. The resource will primarily enable foster carers to understand the basic tools for learning and how they can develop those skills alongside the child or young person.

    Throughout this publication, we aim to emphasise the positive and, most importantly, highlight what education professionals and foster carers, in conjunction with social workers, birth parents and the children and young people, can achieve by working together – working as one.

    You can read the English and Welsh version here. 
     

    Higher education guide

    A Foster Carer’s Guide to Inspiring and Supporting Care Leavers to Higher Education provides practical information and guidance including choosing the right course and the UCAS application process, as well as financial, emotional and general support. It also outlines the care leaver support available from each university in Wales.

    Members of The Fostering Network can download the guide for free. This guide is also available in Welsh.

    Tick the Box campaign

    Our Tick the Box awareness campaign aims to encourage young people who have spent time in care to Tick the Box on their UCAS form saying they are care experienced and get the extra support they are entitled to and may need while at university.
     

    Fostering Achievement

    Fostering Achievement is a well-established project in Northern Ireland, delivered by The Fostering Network, that offers practical and financial support to foster families to help fostered children and young people achieve their potential and improve educational programmes.
     
    Read more about Fostering Achievement.
     

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