New cash to raise education standards

Local educational authorities are to receive extra government money
to tackle the educational achievement of children in care, as part
of a reorganisation of grants for vulnerable young people.

From April 2003, LEAs will be given an additional £84m to
increase the number of children in care that attain one or more
GCSEs and reduce the number of looked-after children who are
excluded from school.

The ring-fenced funding from the Department for Education and
Skills is the amalgamation and expansion of a number of existing
small grants into a new “increase standards fund”, focused on
supporting vulnerable young people through education.

The fund will help school refusers, teenage parents, young carers,
asylum seekers, traveller children, and young people with medical
needs, as well as children in care.

Speaking at the Voice for the Child in Care’s annual conference in
London earlier this week, minister for young people and adult
skills Ivan Lewis said the grant could be used for a range of
initiatives, including distance learning schemes, services to
identify those most at risk of developing problems, and systems for
reintegrating excluded children back into mainstream schools. “We
want local authorities to take a strategic view on engaging young
people and shaping services around their needs,” Lewis said.

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