Fostering Potential programme aims to raise the educational outcomes of fostered children by increasing foster carers’ knowledge and confidence in their role as ‘first educators’.
Fostering Potential is funded by the Sir John Cass Foundation and the British & Foreign School Society, with the aim of supporting the educational outcomes of children who are currently in foster care. This programme builds on the successful London Fostering Achievement programme and also on work carried out under the London Schools Excellence Fund.
Fostering Potential creates an educational peer support network in each local area, delivered by experienced foster carers in the role of Education Champions.
Education Champions work closely with other foster carers to increase their skills and confidence in their role as educators, sharing approaches and practical tools to support children’s learning and development. Work is carried out via home visits, one-to-one meetings or by attending support groups. The project work may also be supported by additional training and events hosted by the fostering service or by the virtual school.
The Fostering Network is currently working in partnership with the following local authority fostering services:
- The London Borough of Islington
- The London Borough of Tower Hamlets
- The Royal Borough of Greenwich
- The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
- Kent County Council
- Suffolk County Council
Nottingham City Council
- Report on project implementation and activity
- Report on impact at foster carer, child and service level
- Explore barriers, challenges and enablers to project implementation.
The full report and summary are available below.
Project delivery is ongoing and a supplementary report will be published before the end of the programme period in April 2020.
A Fostering Potential learning event took place on 4th March 2020 at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre in London, attended by foster carers, social workers and staff from virtual schools. Sessions included:
- The Fostering Potential programme by Susan Soar (The Fostering Network) and Heidi Austin (Suffolk County Council)
- The education of looked after children by Professor Judy Sebba (University of Oxford REES Centre). Also see Linking care and educational data report, 2015.
- Barriers to achievement and possible solutions by Laura Stagg (Achievement for All). Also see Designated Teacher resources including PEP guide.
A speaker from King's College London was unable to attend but please see the Propel website for information about support for care-experienced young people in Higher Education.
If you attended the learning event please complete the online survey as we do appreciate your feedback.
Fostering Potential webinars
The Fostering Potential programme has been supported by a series of free online webinars, with the aim of sharing research evidence and best practice with foster carers. Presentations and audio recordings from the webinars are below:
Webinar 1 - Introduction
Webinar 2 - Education research evidence
Webinar 3 - Barriers to achievement
Laura Stagg also recommended Developing an Attachment Aware Behaviour Regulation Policy by Brighton & Hove City Council.
Webinar 4 - Maths, myths and mindsets
Webinar 5 - Studying medicine
These slides will be helpful to any foster carer whose fostered child or young person might be aspiring to higher education in the future.
Webinar 6 - Higher education
These slides outline how to support care-experienced students to and through higher education, including tips for foster carers.
Webinar support documents are available below:
Please note that you need to use Google Chrome as your browser to access webinars.
If you are a foster carer in one of the participating areas contact your fostering service for more details. For all other Fostering Potential enquiries please email the project manager on firstname.lastname@example.org.