Promoting resilience in fostered children and young people

Feeling happy at school - Practice and service delivery issues

Published alongside the Green Paper 'Every child matters', the Social Exclusion Unit's (SEU) report on 'Better education for children in care' aims to improve stability in care and support at school in order to help boost education and prospects for children in care, one of the most deprived groups of young people.

The measures outlined in the SEU report mean that children in care will get better personal education plans to support learning needs and more books to help learning at home. Designated teachers will encourage children in care to stay on at school after the age of 16 and more work placements will be available to help children in care fulfil their potential. The reports include the following:

In order to support local authorities as they take action to improve the education of children in care, the SEU has also produced a practice guide called 'A better education for children in care: the issues' (82) which outlines the key issues emerging from their report and the steps some local authorities are taking to address them.

In the past there has been a perception that Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs) have led the way in terms of providing additional educational support to foster children. In a survey of 55 IFAs, just over half of these agencies had employed an educational liaison officer and one fifth had an on-site school. (83) More recently, many local authorities have made big advances in these areas. The SEU has published seven fact sheets that outline examples of existing good practice from local authorities.

The fact sheets cover the following areas:

Practice examples

Hampshire County Council has appointed a lead officer responsible for the education of children in public care, a dedicated staff group of teachers and a community therapist for looked-after children.

Cheshire County Council has an Education Support and Development Team that aims to improve educational achievement and opportunity. It includes an educational psychologist and three teachers who provide direct support and advice to children and foster carers. (91)