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

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

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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