New exam targets branded ‘insulting’

Looked-after children’s organisations have branded the government’s
revised targets for improving the educational performance of
children in care as “insulting”, “patronising” and “fundamentally

The new targets specify that 90 per cent of looked-after children
should sit a GCSE or equivalent exam and 15 per cent should be
achieving A*-C grades by 2006. They replace targets set in 1998 and
2002 respectively for 75 per cent of students to be passing a GCSE
by next year and 15 per cent to gain five A-C passes by 2004.

New figures published last week show that only 41 per cent of
children in care achieved one GCSE or GNVQ pass last year, 4 per
cent lower than 2001 (news, page 6, 3 April).

Maxine Wrigley, co-ordinator of A National Voice, said the new
target was about “getting bums on seats”, while John Kemmis, chief
executive of Voice of the Child in Care, said they were “pointless”
and devised to “make them achievable”.

Fostering Network executive director, Gerri McAndrew said: “It is
patronising and obstructive to suggest these children cannot
achieve educationally, and there is no reason why specialist
targets should be set for them”.

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