Joint training between social workers and teachers is needed to
overcome “a lack of understanding” about their roles in supporting
children in care, say school inspectors.
The report, published this week by Ofsted, highlights concerns
over wide variations in provision. While some authorities are
singled out as exceptional, in others looked-after children are
moved from one foster placement to another, resulting in disruption
to their education. Young people in homes faired worst of all, the
Inspectors were also unhappy at what they saw as an increasing
trend towards discharging young people from care at age 16, making
it hard for them to attend college because of problems with
accommodation, lack of cash and support.
Ofsted visited 120 primary and secondary schools in 26 local
education authorities which have set targets to improve
opportunities for young people in care. It interviewed staff in
education, social services, and health as well as speaking to young
Ofsted’s overall conclusion was that initiatives such as Quality
Protects were having a positive effect on expectations and outcomes
for children. Achievements so far include a 70 per cent reduction
in exclusions of looked-after children in some areas.
But the inspectors felt that for a significant minority there
was an unacceptably low level of attainment.
Lack of communication between social workers and teachers was a
particular issue in primary schools while lack of stability was the
main concern for older children. Poor record-keeping on the part of
local education authorities was also identified as a problem and in
some areas as many as 100 children were virtually unknown to the
authority and their progress was largely unmonitored.
Chief Inspector of Schools Mike Tomlinson said: “The local
authority is the corporate parent for these children and it is
clear that some are being failed. There is a need to build on the
good practice found in some local education authorities to ensure
these vulnerable children receive the quality of education and care
they need and deserve.”
Raising Achievement of Children in Public Care from www.ofsted.gov.uk