Local authorities told children in care need quality school places


Children in care should be granted places in good or outstanding primary and secondary schools, the children’s commissioner for England has said.

Anne Longfield has warned local authorities that they need to provide better quality places for vulnerable children if they are to ensure the children gain improved educational outcomes.

Her latest Stability Index report suggests that children in care are more likely to be faced with school instability if their place of education has a lower Ofsted rating.

The data found that one in five pupils attending a school rated as inadequate experienced a move in the middle of the 2017-2018 school year, compared to one in 12 children at an outstanding school.

According to the report, the link between school instability and school quality has strengthened in the last year – school instability rates have risen among those at schools deemed inadequate, and have fallen at schools judged at the higher end of the ratings.

Helping pupils to reach their potential

Guidance from the Department for Education states that higher rated primary and secondary schools – those marked as good or outstanding – should be prioritised when local authorities are looking to place a child in care in a new school environment.

It states that unless ‘exceptional evidence-based reasons’ are provided, any child in care should never be placed into an inadequate school.

Additional support, and evidence of it should be supplied if a child in care is placed into a school that is deemed to require improvement.

The stability index from 2018 found that a number of looked-after children were missing out on their education as they were moved in the middle of the school year.

Once placed into the correct settings, children in care can be supported by teachers and other teaching staff to ensure they can reach their potential.