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Children in Care: General Certificate of Secondary Education

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of 16-year-olds in care obtained (a) at least one GCSE at any grade, (b) at least one GCSE at grades A* to C, (c) five GCSEs at any grade, (d) five GCSEs at grades A* to C and (e) five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and mathematics in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (196882)

Data collected since 2000 and published in ‘Outcome Indicators for Looked After Children twelve months to 30 September’ show the GCSE performance or equivalents of children who were looked after for at least 12 months. The available information for England is shown in the table.

GCSE performance or equivalents of children who are looked after continuously for at least 12 months in Year 111, 12 months ending 30 September 2000 to 2006, England

1 GCSE at grade A*-G or a GNVC

5 A*-C GCSE (or equivalent)

5 A*-G GCSE grades (or equivalent)

Number

Percentage2

Number

Percentage2

Number

Percentage2

2000

1,900

492

300

7.3

1,400

35.5

2001

2,100

49.6

330

8.0

1,400

33.1

2002

2,300

53.2

320

7.5

1,500

36.3

2003

2,400

52.9

400

8.7

1,700

36.8

2004

2,700

56.1

450

9.4

1,900

39.4

2005

2,900

60.2

510

10.8

1,900

40.7

2006

3,200

63.2

600

11.8

2,100

41.4

1 Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 if under 1,000, and to the nearest 100 if over 1,000.

2 Expressed as a percentage of all locked after children in Year 11.

Source:

OC2 Survey

We do not collect information about the numbers of looked after children who achieve A*-C GCSE grades in English or mathematics separately. However, these data are available at a local level enabling local authorities to set targets for the attainment of looked after children at key stage 4 which include English and mathematics. These targets are negotiated with the National Strategies and Government offices and form a statutory part of a local authority’s local area agreement.

At national level the DCSF is matching data on looked after children to the National Pupil Database (NPD) which provides a wide range of data on the educational attainment of children and young people. From 2009 an initial analysis of looked after children to attainment data along with a range of other data will be available, including English and mathematics at GCSE.

Not enough progress has been made on improving the educational achievement of looked after children (LAC). They often face a wide range of barriers to learning that most children do not experience. However, we are determined to do more and improving the education of LAC is a top priority. It is key to improving their life chances and a successful transition to adulthood.

We have set out our intentions in ‘Care Matters: Time for change’ and the implementation plan ‘Care Matters: Time to deliver for children in care’ published by the Government with the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Children's Services, on 26 March 2008.