EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 HRS WEDNESDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2015
Response to Cardiff University research findings on educational attainment of looked after children in Wales
Fostering charity – The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT Cymru), welcomes the research by Cardiff University on educational attainment of looked after children, and applauds the inclusive methods that have been used to capture the views and aspirations of children and young people.
There are a number of issues and recommendations highlighted by the report that TACT Cymru fully acknowledges and supports:
- Placement moves can be highly disruptive to a child’s education resulting in school moves, longer commutes and missed periods of their education. Care planning therefore needs to be sensitive to a child’s educational milestones, and educational needs should be prioritised when discussing moving children and young people to new foster care placements.
- Many children in care are unable to fulfil their educational potential because they have unresolved emotional problems. Timely access to therapeutic support is essential for looked after children and care leavers. TACT would like to see better training and support for teachers and school support staff in understanding the needs of looked after children and how to promote their wellbeing as well as their educational attainment.
- There has been a focus in recent years on developing the working relationships between different professionals and local services to better support looked after children to realise their educational aspirations. We fully support this move but would like to see a greater focus on the involvement of foster carers and adoptive parents. These carers have a detailed understanding of the needs of the children and young people in their care and therefore an important role to play in their education. Schools should actively seek to involve foster carers and adoptive parents in the development and monitoring of the Personal Education Plan (PEP).
TACT’s foster carers and young people frequently highlight education as a key issue and we are currently conducting a detailed survey of our foster carers and young people across England, Wales and Scotland to understand more about the issues facing young people and how we can improve educational outcomes for looked after children and care leavers.
For comment, more information and interviews please contact Laura Luxton – TACT Communications on [email protected] or telephone 07793 580 418
Notes to editors:
Full Cardiff University Research Report: Mannay, D., Staples, E., Hallett, S., Roberts, L., Rees, A., Evans, R. and Andrews, D. (2015) Understanding the educational experiences and opinions, attainment, achievement and aspirations of looked after children in Wales. Cardiff: Welsh Government. Available at https://gov.wales/understanding-educational-experiences-and-opinions-attainment-achievement-and-aspirations-looked-0
About TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust)
TACT is a children’s charity dedicated to providing outcome-focused fostering and adoption services for around 650 children across England, Scotland and Wales. Our voluntary income is spent solely on activities, extra support and therapy which directly benefit our children and young people, who are at the heart of everything we do. Our job is to help overcome the prejudice that looked after children suffer and help heal the damage done that led to them coming into care. Ultimately we believe that given a loving and secure environment, children in care can reach their full potential.