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Education of children in care

November 11, 2009

Being honest about a problem is always the best starting point for doing something about it.   We can always find reasons, explain why something isn’t as bad as it might seem, or take comfort in some evidence of improvement.    Sparked by a news report, and followed up with research, discussions, and now evidence gathering, I have been trying to highlight how we fail children in care in this country.   This morning at the Children’s Services Network annual conference we heard from a Danish expert in social pedagogy.  She described how the Danish model, more stable, much cheaper to run, achieves massively better outcomes than our English social care system.   Where just six percent of our children in care will go on to University, in Denmark it is 60%.    The truth is our children in care are more likely to end up in prison or on the dole.    

The Danish model is being piloted in 30 residential care homes in England now, and we will have the evaluation in 2011.  In the meantime, the LGiU continues our work on this issue, and today we road tested new ideas, such as a National Academy for children in care that would be the start of a giving these children the best possible educational opportunities.   I am on a steep learning curve and if you can help me, by coming to talk to me about the English system, or even better inviting me to see how the system is working at first hand, then do get in touch.   I’m sure that there are many examples of really great work out there.  I’ve said time and again that social workers, including those working with ‘looked after’ children, are overworked and undervalued, doing an incredibly important and tough job.  I even said that in the Sun newspaper at the height of the Baby P coverage, when few others would stand up for the profession.   I’m not criticising the people who work in social care, but we must not shy away from, deny or excuse the stark reality that on average children in care will have the lowest educational attainment of all children.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. yanay ahmet permalink
    November 18, 2009 4:59 pm

    National Academy for children in care are excellent idea.Why dont we use the local Independent Boarding Schools in local areas? Cheaper, excellent facilities, great future, no stigma and readily available. My local children’s homes charges tax payers £3500.00 per week per child and they have called police sixteen times over the weekend for some trouble with local residents. For that many what future do they have? They should shut down IMMEDIATLY.

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