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Improving the educational progress of looked-after children
Responding to an Ofsted report on the educational attainment of children in care, Cllr David Simmonds, Chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said:
"Councils are dedicated to doing all they can to ensure children in care have the same life chances as their peers. The most recent figures show that the percentage of looked-after children achieving five good GCSEs is on the increase.
"It's encouraging that this report recognises the progress the majority of local authorities are making, not only in improving educational attainment, but also in enhancing young people's sense of self-worth and providing some much needed stability in their lives.
"Despite significant budget cuts, most councils have protected existing resources for key services like virtual schools, which provide extra tuition, promote aspiration and help looked-after children settle into a new school. However, as budgets continue to be squeezed, this is likely to become increasingly difficult with councils facing further tough choices about the non-statutory services they can continue to provide.
"The majority of looked-after children have not had the best start in life. They have often had very difficult experiences before they come into care, with many facing abuse or neglect, and they often demonstrate higher levels of special educational needs than their classmates. But that doesn't mean that with the right support they can't do just as well or better than their peers. It's important that we recognise the achievements of these young people who are fighting against the odds.
"As champions for local children, councils will continue to work hard with schools, teachers and care professionals to narrow the gap between the achievements of children in care and their peers so they can reach their true potential as adults."
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Cherie Willers, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone: 020 7664 3333.