Promoting resilience in fostered children and young people

Feeling happy at school - The good and bad news about school

The Social Exclusion Unit and The Who Cares? Trust carried out a consultation exercise into the educational experiences of children in care. Around 2,000 responses were received, making this one of the largest direct consultations undertaken with this group of children.

Link: Social Exclusion Unit

The consultation found that children were positive about their education, attended school regularly, and were given support by adults. However, there are problems around the number of children who are changing schools, bullying and exclusions. (80)

Key themes include the following:

The good news

Children in care consider education to be important, largely for career reasons:

  • 97% said that they thought education was important
  • 61% of these cited career prospects as the main reason.

Many of the children lived in an environment that already had some of the factors we associate with supporting a successful education:

  • 91% had a quiet place to do their homework
  • 81% had help with their schoolwork
  • 71% had a computer where they lived.

Most children in care said they had adults that they could confide in or ask advice from:

  • 87% said that there was a member of staff who they could talk to at school.

The bad news

A high proportion of children had been excluded from school (this includes self-perceived, unofficial and fixed term exclusions as well as permanent exclusions):

  • 37% had at some point been excluded from school
  • 51% of these said that more support would have helped them not get excluded.

The majority of children in care had been the victims of bullying. Most had told someone and this stopped the bullying, but for a significant minority it did not:

  • 62% had been bullied
  • 80% of those who had been bullied told someone
  • 67% of those who told someone said this stopped the bullying. (80)

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