[holding answer 16 July 2007]: In 2006, the proportion of children continuously looked after for at least 12 months aged 11 and achieving at least level 4 at key stage 2 for English, maths and science was 43 per cent., 41 per cent. and 57 per cent. respectively1. Although educational outcomes for children in care are improving slowly more needs to be done to close the achievement gap compared to all children.
Our White Paper, “Care Matters: Time for Change” describes how we will improve educational outcomes for children in care. Measures include giving all children in care at risk of not meeting expected levels of achievement a personal educational allowance of £500; requiring all schools to have a designated teacher to focus on the learning needs of this vulnerable group and funding ‘virtual school heads’ to drive up attainment, school attendance and reduce exclusions of children in care. We also intend to legislate so that children in care move schools only in exceptional circumstances, particularly during their GCSE years.
1 Statistical first release (SFR) 17/2007 “Outcome Indicators for Looked After Children: 12 Months to 30 September 2006, England’, www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/.