Figures reveal extent of lack of achievement by children in care

    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, and
    cautions and convictions.

    The government figures show that 47 per cent in the appropriate
    age group achieved level two at key stage 1, compared with 82 per
    cent of all children. And 36 per cent attained level four at key
    stage 2 compared with 76 per cent of all children. Meanwhile, just
    19 per cent reached level five at key stage 3 compared with 62 per
    cent of others.

    At the end of year 11, just over 50 per cent of looked-after
    children stayed on in education compared with 71 per cent of all
    16-year-olds. One-quarter were unemployed by the September after
    leaving school.

    The rate of looked-after children aged 10 and over who were
    cautioned or convicted of an offence was 11 per cent, three times
    the rate of all children in that age group.

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

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

    “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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