New plan to help looked after children reach their potential
A new strategy and action plan that will help looked after children in Wales to fulfil their potential at school and beyond was launched recently by the Welsh Government.
Raising the ambitions and educational attainment of children who are looked after in Wales’, which is jointly led by Education Minister, Huw Lewis and Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford, identifies key areas in which the Welsh Government and its partners will work to better support children in care in achieving better academic success.
While the primary focus is on supporting looked after children of compulsory school age, the strategy also looks at supporting children as they make the often tricky transition from school to further education, higher education and employment.
The strategy sets out how the Welsh Government and its partners will:
- Raise educational aspirations and attainment of looked after children and the ability of those who care for them (i.e. foster carers) to support their educational development;
- Reinforce collective accountability for looked after children and effective leadership across the Welsh Government, regional education consortia, local authorities, schools and further and higher education institutions;
- Make education a priority and point of focus and stability for looked after children, especially during periods of upheaval and uncertainty
- Ensure necessary support is in place to enable positive life and career choices and reduce the chances of looked after children entering the youth justice system;
- Identify data to aid practice, policy making and monitoring of educational outcomes, and
- Ensure excellent practice is identified, promoted and shared wherever it exists.
The strategy is supported by a detailed action plan and the Welsh Government will monitor delivery against the plan on an annual basis.
Education Minister, Huw Lewis said:
“Every single child in Wales - including those who are looked after - has the right to expect an excellent education.
“We know that good educational attainment can provide the gateway to future stability and can help to secure an independent and fulfilling life, however we also know that outcomes for looked after children rarely compare favourably with other children.
“In developing this strategy we have worked closely with partners such as the Fostering Network, Voices From Care, and Cardiff University’s Research Centre, Cascade to ensure it reflects the views and experiences of both children in care and foster carers.
“Their input has been invaluable and I would like to thank them for their hard work and contribution.
“The publication of this strategy is just the first step in our work to ensure sustained improvements in outcomes for looked after children and we will continue to work closely with our partners to make this ambition a reality.”
Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford said:
“We are determined as a government to do all we can to support looked-after children and care leavers to reach their full potential.
“This strategy is the first step in a concerted effort by the Welsh Government to ensure sustained improvements in all outcomes for looked-after children, which will impact positively on all aspects of their lives. We are developing a national approach for looked-after children which will help reduce the number of children entering care, improve outcomes for children already in care and provide better opportunities for care leavers.
“A good education with successful exam results may not prevent children who are looked after from making the wrong life choices but having a flying start in life and a strong foundation in education will stand them in good stead for the demands of modern life. It will also help open up opportunities and inform better life choices.”
The Raising the ambitions and educational attainment of children who are looked after in Wales strategy and action plan is available on the Welsh Government website.
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