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Children in Care: General Certificate of Secondary Education

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many and what percentage of eligible children in care were not entered for any GCSE in each of the last 10 years; (203591)

(2) how many and what percentage of eligible children in care did not achieve five A* to C grades at GCSE including English and mathematics in each of the last 10 years;

(3) how many and what percentage of eligible children in care were not entered for an English, mathematics, science or foreign language GCSE in each year since 1997.

The national data collections on the educational outcomes for looked-after children were introduced in 2000. 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 2007, England

Sat at least one GCSE or GNVQ

One GCSE at grade A* to G or a GNVQ

Five A* to C GCSE grades (or equivalent)

Five A* to G GCSE grades (or equivalent)

Number

Percentage2

Number

Percentage2

Number

Percentage2

Number

Percentage2

2000

2,100

53.5

1,900

49.2

300

7.3

1,400

35.5

2001

2,200

54.1

2,100

49.6

330

8.0

1,400

33.1

2002

2,500

57.9

2,300

53.2

320

7.5

1,500

36.3

2003

2,600

56.8

2,400

52.9

400

8.7

1,700

36.8

2004

2,900

59.1

2,700

56.1

450

9.4

1,900

39.4

2005

3,000

64.0

2,900

60.2

510

10.8

1,900

40.7

2006

3,300

65.6

3,200

63.2

600

11.8

2,100

41.4

2007

3,400

67.7

3,200

63.7

640

12.6

2,200

43.1

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 looked-after children in year 11.

Source:

OC2 Survey.

Although we do not collect figures on the number of children looked after who were entered for a GCSE, we do have information on the number who sat at least one GCSE/GNVQ. This is shown in the table.

We do not collect information about the number of looked-after children who achieve GCSE grades in individual subjects. 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.

Since 1997, there has been an unprecedented focus at national and local level on improving outcomes for looked-after children. Over a five-year period from 1998, the Government invested £885 million through the Quality Protects initiative and a further £113 million through their Choice Protects funding. Looked-after children often have highly complex needs and improving their outcomes is a top Government priority.

In-spite of improvements, outcomes are nowhere near good enough. That is why we are now building on the Care Standards Act 2002, which introduced National Minimum Standards for children’s services, and the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000, which for the first time provided a legislative framework to support care leavers make the transition to adulthood. We have made nearly £300 million extra available to deliver “Care Matters: Time for Change” and the implementation plan “Care Matters: Time to deliver for children in care”, including the introduction of a personal education allowance for all looked-after children who are at risk of not reaching the expected national standards of attainment. Through the Children and Young Persons Bill, currently before Parliament, we intend to require all schools to have a designated teacher to champion the needs of looked-after children and to ensure that local authorities do everything possible to avoid disrupting their education and training.