Councils’ low expectations ‘insult’ children in care

    Many children in care are failing to reach their educational
    potential because of low expectations and wide variations in
    services provided by local authorities.

    A failure to provide realistic educational targets, mixed with a
    culture of minimal expectations and the services provided by local
    authorities, means that children in care are not able to
    succeed.

    That was the message from Barnardo’s Cymru at the Wales launch
    of the report Better Education, Better Future.

    The children’s charity has criticised the Welsh assembly for
    “insulting” children by setting educational targets so low that
    young people would have little hope of securing a decent job.

    The new achievement targets set by the assembly for children in
    care in Wales, with a goal of two GCSE or GNVQ passes for 2001-2,
    are seen by Barnardo’s as being part of a culture that perpetuates
    the enormous gap between children in care and the average child
    from the general population.

    “We need to create a climate where children in care can fulfil
    their potential. At the moment it is a lottery. A child who is
    taken into care in a local authority which is committed to
    improving education opportunities has a much better chance of
    getting qualifications and getting on in life, than those who
    don’t,” said a spokesperson for Barnardo’s.

    A spokesperson for the Welsh assembly: “Evidence from our
    Initial Children First action plan indicate that percentages of
    looked-after children with at least one GCSE or GNVQ varied widely
    between local authorities, between 16 per cent and 66 per
    cent.”

    He added: “The targets therefore have to take account of current
    levels of performance and of the significant difficulties faced by
    many young people who are looked after by local authorities,
    including learning difficulties, the effects of abuse or neglect
    and disrupted lives.”

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