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Children in Care: General Certificate of Secondary Education

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

(1) how many and what percentage of eligible children in care were not entered for any GCSE in each of the last 10 years;

(2) how many and what percentage of eligible children in care did not achieve five A* to C grades at GCSE including English and mathematics in each of the last 10 years;

(3) how many and what percentage of eligible children in care were not entered for an English, mathematics, science or foreign language GCSE in each year since 1997.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners)

The national data collections on the educational outcomes for looked-after children were introduced in 2000. Data collected since 2000 and published in "Outcome Indicators for Looked After Children Twelve months to 30 September", show the GCSE performance or equivalents of children who were looked after for at least 12 months. The available information for England is shown in the table.

GCSE performance or equivalents of children who are looked after continuously for at least 12 months in year 11( 1) , 12 months ending 30 September 2000 to 2007, England
Sat at least one GCSE or GNVQ One GCSE at grade A* to G or a GNVQ Five A* to C GCSE grades (or equivalent) Five A* to G GCSE grades (or equivalent)
Number Percentage( 2) Number Percentage( 2) Number Percentage( 2) Number Percentage( 2)
2000 2,100 53.5 1,900 49.2 300 7.3 1,400 35.5
2001 2,200 54.1 2,100 49.6 330 8.0 1,400 33.1
2002 2,500 57.9 2,300 53.2 320 7.5 1,500 36.3
2003 2,600 56.8 2,400 52.9 400 8.7 1,700 36.8
2004 2,900 59.1 2,700 56.1 450 9.4 1,900 39.4
2005 3,000 64.0 2,900 60.2 510 10.8 1,900 40.7
2006 3,300 65.6 3,200 63.2 600 11.8 2,100 41.4
2007 3,400 67.7 3,200 63.7 640 12.6 2,200 43.1
(1) Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 if under 1,000, and to the nearest 100 if over 1,000.

(2) Expressed as a percentage of all looked-after children in year 11.

Source:

OC2 Survey.

Although we do not collect figures on the number of children looked after who were entered for a GCSE, we do have information on the number who sat at least one GCSE/GNVQ. This is shown in the table.

We do not collect information about the number of looked-after children who achieve GCSE grades in individual subjects. However, these data are available at a local level enabling local authorities to set targets for the attainment of looked-after children at key stage 4 which include English and mathematics. These targets are negotiated with the National Strategies and Government offices and form a statutory part of a local authority's local area agreement.

Since 1997, there has been an unprecedented focus at national and local level on improving outcomes for looked-after children. Over a five-year period from 1998, the Government invested £885 million through the Quality Protects initiative and a further £113 million through their Choice Protects funding. Looked-after children often have highly complex needs and improving their outcomes is a top Government priority.

In-spite of improvements, outcomes are nowhere near good enough. That is why we are now building on the Care Standards Act 2002, which introduced National Minimum Standards for children's services, and the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000, which for the first time provided a legislative framework to support care leavers make the transition to adulthood. We have made nearly £300 million extra available to deliver "Care Matters: Time for Change" and the implementation plan "Care Matters: Time to deliver for children in care", including the introduction of a personal education allowance for all looked-after children who are at risk of not reaching the expected national standards of attainment. Through the Children and Young Persons Bill, currently before Parliament, we intend to require all schools to have a designated teacher to champion the needs of looked-after children and to ensure that local authorities do everything possible to avoid disrupting their education and training.

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