The educational attainment of looked after children and young people is improving slowly but there is too much variation in attainment, inconsistent support and a lack of clearly defined outcomes against which progress can be assessed. These are the findings of a report published by the Auditor General for Wales.
Since 1999, the Welsh Government has introduced a number of policy initiatives, guidance and specific grant funding to support the education of looked after children and young people.
Looked after children value education and some overcome upheaval and disruption, do well in school and go on to further and higher education. However, overall educational attainment remains low. The attainment of looked after children varies across Wales and is lower on some measures than elsewhere in the UK.
The policies and initiatives of the Welsh Government and local authorities have contributed to some improvement, but, whilst there is growing evidence of good practice, there is inconsistency between local authorities in services, arrangements and outcomes. The report says that a lack of clearly defined objectives and weaknesses in planning, performance management and corporate parenting is hindering progress.
The report contains a number of recommendations for Welsh Government including:
- To work with local authorities and the regional education consortia to develop a clear agreement about their respective roles and responsibilities;
- To promote good practice in the education of looked after children and young people;
- To improve the availability and reliability of data for monitoring outcomes for looked after children;
- To improve the arrangements for assessing the progress of looked after children at a national level.