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Schools: Children in Care

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 28 January, Official Report, columns 672-4W, on special educational needs, in which schools children in care represented more than six per cent. of pupils. (255626)

The requested information has been placed in the Libraries.

The Department's main source of information on children in care is the Children Looked After Survey, but this does not record which schools pupils attend. However, information on whether a pupil is in care is also collected via the School Census. The most recent census data relates to January 2008.

This census shows that there were 34,390 pupils aged five to 19 attending primary, secondary and special schools classed as being in care as at January 2008. Data published by the Department as SFR 23/2008: Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2008, shows 47,600 children aged between five and 19 as being looked after as at 31 March 2008. However the School Census does not cover all looked after children; information is not collected for pupils in alternative provision, including pupil referral units, FE colleges, voluntary provision and those not in education or training. These differences in coverage will explain the different counts to an extent, but it is possible that the School Census undercounts the number of looked after children in primary, secondary and special schools.