Adoption and Children in Care: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th July 2022.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Adoption Barometer Report entitled a stocktake of adoption in the UK, published June 2022, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of (a) the finding that 68 per cent of established adoptive families struggle to get the support their children need in education and (b) the report’s recommendation that all educational professionals be trained and resourced to understand the specific needs of care experienced children and young people in an educational setting.

Photo of Brendan Clarke-Smith Brendan Clarke-Smith The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department recognises the findings in the Adoption Barometer Report that children adopted from care may need additional support in education. The experiences and barriers that looked-after children face do not disappear when they leave care through adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Orders, which can mean they experience poorer outcomes than children who have never been in care.

That is why all local authorities in England are required to appoint a Virtual School Head, who has a statutory duty to promote the educational achievement of previously looked-after children. This gives schools, parents, and guardians access to Virtual School Head expert advice on supporting the educational needs of previously looked-after children, including on how best to use Pupil Premium Plus funding to support them.

All maintained schools and academies must also appoint a designated teacher, who should be the central point of contact for parents or guardians about their child’s progress at school. The designated teacher has a leadership role in promoting the educational achievement of every looked-after and previously looked-after child on the school’s roll, which involves ensuring the personalised learning needs of every looked-after and previously looked-after child matter and their personal, emotional, and academic needs are prioritised. This includes understanding the impact that pre-care and care adverse experiences can have on looked-after and previously looked-after children and how to access further support where necessary.

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