Looked after children are inadequately supported in half of all local authorities, the education watchdog Ofsted has revealed.
In its annual assessment of local authority children’s services, Ofsted uncovers a “worrying gap between successful and unsuccessful authorities” when it comes to monitoring outcomes for looked after children.
Ofsted reports a “very wide gap” between the proportion of looked after children achieving five or more GSCEs at grades A*–C and the proportion of all children achieving this level. And for the fifth successive year, one in eight looked after children were absent from school for at least 25 days.
Dismissing the situation as unacceptable, NCH director of children’s services Elaine Peace said. “Education is key to improving the overall life chances for looked-after children.
“Unless all local authorities focus on ensuring these young people attend school and are given appropriate support, the gap in achievement between these and other young people will continue to grow.”
Chief inspector of schools Maurice Smith said: “More must be done to improve the life chances of certain groups of young people, particularly looked after children, and councils will need to demonstrate sustained improvement to meet the new requirements for children’s services as they come into force this year.”