Exam target slips for looked-after children

    The National Children’s Bureau has backed a Local Government
    Association call for schools to be given a statutory duty to
    promote the educational attainment of looked-after children and
    young people.

    The call follows the publication last week of the Office of
    National Statistics figures which shows that 43 per cent of
    children in care did not sit exams – up 1 per cent from last
    year.

    The Department for Education and Skills wants the proportion of
    those not sitting exams reduced to 10 per cent by 2006, a target it
    could miss unless progress is accelerated.

    For looked after children who do sit exams, only one in 10 achieve
    five GCSE passes or equivalent at grade A-C.

    NCB chief executive Paul Ennals said: “Despite changes to
    admissions policies, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests some
    schools are resisting accepting looked-after children at short
    notice.”

    Chair of the LGA’s social affairs and health executive Alison King
    said the organisation welcomed the Children Bill’s creation of a
    specific duty on local authorities to promote the educational
    achievement of looked-after children but said the role of schools
    needed to be specified too.

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