Response to latest report on educational outcomes for looked after children
Following the publication of the Department for Education’s Outcomes for children looked after by local authorities: 31 March 2018 report, chief executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams, said: ‘It is heartening to see that these figures support previous research from the University of Oxford that care can have a positive impact on the education of some looked after children. The figures in the report for looked after children in England’s attainment in key stage 2 relative to children in need is positive, as are the low number of absences and exclusions among looked after children.
‘We believe that it is vital to support the education of fostered children and young people because the available evidence still shows that children who are looked after generally have lower attainment at school than other children. Many children in care will have suffered trauma in their lives so we must ensure that sufficient provision is put in place to enable them to reach their full academic potential: training, resourcing and planning are all essential factors in achieving this.
‘Foster carers play a crucial role in their fostered children’s education in their role as “first educators”. We must ensure that foster carers are given the skills, knowledge and confidence to develop their child’s educational aspirations, opportunities and achievements.’
Our Fostering Potential programme aims to increase the skills and confidence of foster carers as ‘first educators’ through a peer support network delivered by experienced foster carers in the roles of education champions who will share practical tools to support children’s learning and development. Following the completion of the programme a range of resources will be created and made available.