Some councils are failing to adequately serve looked-after children
with special educational needs, a government report has shown.
Achievement at Key Stage Four of Young People in Public
Care highlights the gulf between looked-after children’s
academic performance and that of the mainstream school population,
and identifies factors that can affect looked-after children’s
The report, by the Department for Education and Skills and the
Department of Health, is based on a study of 377 children in care
in 2001 from 12 local education authorities, a third of whom had a
special educational needs statement.
Many of this group were not having their requirements addressed,
which “resulted in further educational difficulties, aggravating
the cycle of failure and leading to erroneous and damaging
The report also says insensitive care placements exacerbate SEN
requirements. Almost a third of children had three or more
education placements, with a quarter having six or more care
placements between ages 11 and 16. This instability reduced their
chances of being entered for GCSE exams and affected performance at
key stage four.
Alison Williams, principal officer for children in care at National
Children’s Bureau, said better integration of care and educational
needs was required.
– Achievement at Key Stage Four of Young People in Public
Care from www.dfes.gov.uk