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3rd February 2015

Welsh Government reveals strategy to 'better the life chances' of Wales' looked-after children

The Welsh Government has launched a new strategy to raise the ambitions and educational attainment of Wales' nearly 6,000 looked-after children today (February 3).

Launched jointly by Education Minister, Huw Lewis, and Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford, the strategy sets out proposed arrangements to "further support the educational attainment of children who are looked after, primarily those of compulsory school age but also includes aims to help with transition to further and higher education."

In March 2014, there were more than 5,700 children looked after in Wales. 3,700 of whom were of compulsory school age. Welsh Government data shows that the educational performance of children who are looked after is significantly below that of other mainstream pupils at all Key Stages.

Mr Lewis said: "We owe it to all young people to give them the best chance to succeed in life. This is especially true of children that, often for no fault of their own, have found themselves placed in the most challenging of circumstances."

Professor Drakeford said: "A good education with successful exam results may not prevent children who are looked after from making the wrong life choices, but having a strong foundation in education will stand them in good stead for life and will help open up opportunities and inform better life choices.

"This will only be possible if education services, social services and others work effectively together to ensure all children who are looked after receive help and support which enables them to achieve educational outcomes at least on a par with their peers."

Aims of the strategy for looked-after children

  • to raise the educational aspirations of children who are looked after and of those who care for them
  • to reinforce accountability and leadership across ourselves, local authorities and the education system
  • to ensure that education remains a priority even during unsettling periods in a child’s life
  • to make better use of data to aid practice, policy making and monitoring or educational outcomes
  • to promote and share good practice

What do the statistics show? Current educational achievement levels for Wales' looked-after children

  • Results for Key Stage 4 children from 2013 showed that 53% of all pupils achieved Level 2 inclusive – the equivalent figure for children who are looked after is just 13%.
  • In 2014, some 45% of 19-year-old care leavers were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). From 2007 to 2010, this figure stood at 51%.

The consultation also sets out the Welsh Government’s intention to change the arrangements to support children who are looked after through the Pupil Deprivation Grant. From April 2015 regional education consortia, working with schools and authorities, will be responsible for the delivery of effective support and outcomes for looked-after children. Consortia will also have flexibility to support the education of former looked after children who have been adopted.

Read more on this story on the Welsh Government website


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