Education can change lives. Together with good quality foster care it can transform fostered children’s expectations 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.
Why is education important?
Education can mean many things. One aspect is schooling, another is exams, tests, and qualifications, and yet another is learning and personal development and growth.
School is a vital part of all of this. It can often provide continuity and stability when a fostered child or young adult’s life is in turmoil.
However, educational success should not only be measured in terms of the number of qualifications a student obtains. It can also mean a child or young person learning to clearly communicate their emotions to others or gaining the confidence to enjoy new social activities.
How we can help foster carers
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.
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
- 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.
A Foster Carer's Guide to Education in Wales.
The Fostering Network, with the support of Welsh Government, has launched A Foster Carer's Guide to Education in Wales.
This free guide will help foster carers understand better how the education system works in Wales so that they are better equipped to support the children and young people in their care. It has been designed to help support the foster carers role as an integral part of the team around the child, equipping them with the skills so that they feel more confident in supporting their foster child’s education, and help each child make the most of their talents and potential.
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.
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.
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.
Raising the ambitions and educational attainment of children who are looked after in Wales
A review of the first year of the Welsh Government’s Looked After Children’s Education Strategy 2016-17
This is a report of a consultation with foster carers in Wales carried out by The Fostering Network Wales for the Welsh Government between November 2016 and February 2017, to review the first year of their looked after children’s education strategy.
Amy’s Diary is based on the fictional diary entries of Amy, a fostered young person in Wales. Each left-hand page lists Amy’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.
Key issues affecting Amy’s life are covered, including coping with the move to secondary school, after-school activities, exclusion, moving schools, school trips, making GCSE choices, who goes to parents’ evening, out of area placement, and preparing for the next step. The diary method also allows Amy to comment on other situations at school.
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.
The Fostering Network can provide an in-service training course on education, tailored to meet your service’s needs. Contact our training team to find out more.
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 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.
Our member helplines provide confidential, independent and impartial advice for foster carers in the UK.
Our online community
Our members also have exclusive access to our online community where you can log in to share your experience and get advice from other foster carers. The community is a safe and secure area to discuss topics including being a foster carer and looking after a child, as well as advice on finances.