New figures reveal how children in care miss out

Looked after children in England are disadvantaged across the
board, according to the first national statistics covering their
educational qualifications, employment at age 16, health plus
cautions and convictions.

On average, 47 per cent of looked after children achieved level
two at key stage 1, compared with 82 per cent of all children.

And just 36 per cent reached level four at key stage 2 compared
with 76 per cent of all children. Meanwhile only 19 per cent
attained level five at key stage 3 compared with 62 per cent of
other youngsters.

At the end of year 11, just over half of looked after children
remained in education compared with 71 per cent of all pupils. A
quarter were unemployed the September after leaving school.

The rate of looked after children aged 10 and over who were
cautioned or convicted of an offence was three times the rate of
all children in that age group.

The figures are taken from new data covering all children and
young people in England who had been looked after continuously for
at least a year at 30 September 2000. The statistics were
previously not available centrally.

Rob Hutchinson, Association of Directors of Social Services
chairperson of the children and families committee, told Community
Care: “These figures support the fact that performance assessment
framework indicators for education of looked after children and
offending rates are correctly identifying areas of major

He added Quality Protects plans require local authorities, as
corporate parents, to produce proposals to improve the figures.

“Our aspirations for looked after children must be as high as
for all other children. But we have to be realistic in realising,
for example, that many children are in care or looked after because
of their offending or poor school attendance and it takes time to
turn that situation around,” he said.

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