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Achieving for Children
AfC Virtual School

Virtual School for the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames & the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Attainment and Progress for Children in Care

Nationally, looked after children continue to have poorer educational outcomes than non-looked after children. 

The number of looked after children has increased steadily over the past seven years.

  • There were 69,540 looked after children at 31 March 2015
  • 15% achieve expected grade outcomes at 16 compared with 52% of all children.
  • They are twice as likely to be Permanently Excluded
  • Three times as likely to have a Fixed Term exclusion.
  • 38% of care leavers are NEET
  • Only 8% access Higher Education compared to 50% of general population
  • They represent 27% of the Prison Population although they are only 0.1% of the greater population.

Oxford University REES Centre Research/DFEE National Data

Why do Children in Care Underachieve?

  • Their lives are characterised by instability: they spend too much time out of school.  It is worth noting that young people in care who changed school in Yr10 or 11 scored over five grades less at GCSE than those who did not.       
  • School Absence – Any period of absence from school should be avoided.  In previous years where attendance has been  above 93.5%  students have had a 70% chance of achieving 5 A*- C, whereas when attendance dropped below 93.5%  this reduced to a 30% chance.  We would ask colleagues in schools to partner us in strategies around improving Punctuality and Attendance.  It is worth noting that statutory guidance deters Headteachers from excluding children in care.
  • They do not have sufficient help with their education if they fall behind;  we would encourage schools to strive to close the gap through 1:1 tuition and flexible approaches.  AfC Virtual School is able to support initiatives through Pupil Premium funding, online tuition and Outreach staff.
  • Primary Carers are often do not have the necessary training to support education in the home sufficiently.  Foster Carers are encouraged to contact the Virtual School for support and attend our training.
  • Placement type: young people living in residential care aged 16 scored over six grades less than those in kinship or Foster care.  Where ever possible we work with Social Carers to ensure that students can be placed with Foster Carers during their GCSEs.   Where students are living in residential care we offer additional support to meet their needs.
  • They have unmet emotional, mental and physical health needs that impact on their education.  AfC Virtual School has a Wellbeing Outreach worker and Educational Psychologist who can supplement the support offered within your school.    Designated Teachers are advised to become skilled in understanding the impact on learning that children looked after face due to early trauma.  AfC Virtual School offers training in Attachment to support our colleagues in schools.  During time of anxiety, our students perform best where schools have a consistent key worker; a ‘safe place to be’,  and an option for smaller parallel curriculum groups at critical times.    Designated Teachers who have visibility and influence are best able to ensure the staff workforce are skilled in supporting the needs of children in care.