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Can we help real Tracy Beakers?

What leading education figures say abour our campaign.

Alan Johnson Education Secretary, said: "I welcome The TES's Time to Care campaign - education is vital to improving the life chances for these children."

Barbara Hutchinson, interim chief executive of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, said: "The stark reality is that foster carers need to earn money so they can be at the school gate, or even in the classroom, not in an office or other workplace."

Steve Sinnott, NUT leader: "The TES is spot-on in highlighting the needs of looked-after children and has opened up a real opportunity to improve their lives."

Maurice Smith, chief inspector of schools, said: "I commend to you The TES's campaign to improve the attainment of looked-after children."

Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, said: "A civilised society should be judged on how it takes care of its most vulnerable citizens. Sadly, our record in looking after one of the most vulnerable groups, children in care, is not good."

Jaqueline Wilson, author of the Tracey Beaker series of books about a girl in care, said: "This is a splendid campaign - it's time we gave every looked-after child a fair chance."

Dame Mary Richardson, HSBC Education Trust, which is providing support for the campaign, said: "As a former head, I am proud that educationists are leading the way in responding to the plight of our looked-after children.

Their prolonged, and thereafter sometimes lifelong ordeal, is heartbreaking and a disgrace to our advanced society."

Amanda Allard, senior policy officer at NCH, the children's charity, said:

"Schools should be financially rewarded for admitting looked-after children. They are a group that often requires additional help either because of special needs, emotional trauma or simply missed schooling.

Those schools which are inclusive and embrace the potential of these children should be supported to be able to respond to their needs."

Barry Sheerman, MP, chair of the Commons education select committee, said at a hearing this week: "It is pretty scandalous what happens to looked-after children in our education system. If we can't do something for them, then there is something wrong."

Tell us what you think: email opinion@tes.co.uk. Or join the debate at www.tes.co.uk

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