The Department for Education has published figures today on how looked-after children do at school.
Here are some of the key findings:
1. Looked-after children are five times more likely to be temporarily excluded than pupils overall – but less likely to be classed as 'persistent absentees'
The statistics show that 11.44 per cent of looked-after children had at least one fixed period exclusion in 2016, compared with 2.11 per cent of all children. Both rates have risen since 2015.
But one in 10 looked-after children in 2017 were classified as persistent absentees – meaning they missed 10 per cent of more school sessions - compared with 10.8 per cent of all children.
There are also figures for children in need, who are involved with local authority support, such as family support, but are not in care.
Almost a third (19.9 per cent) of children in need were classed as persistent absentees in 2017 - up from 28.3 per cent in 2016.
2. The permanent exclusion rate for looked-after children has dropped to its lowest in five years
The rate stood at at 0.1 per cent in 2016 - slightly above the 0.08 per cent rate for all children.
3. Less than a third (32 per cent) of looked-after children left primary school having met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths in 2017
This compares with 61 per cent of all children.
However, this gap narrows when SEN pupils are removed; 57 per cent of looked-after children with no SEN reach the expected standard by the end of primary school, compared with 70 per cent of non looked-after children who do not have SEN.
4. Looked-after children are far more likely to have a special educational need (SEN) aged 11
Nearly three fifths (59 per cent) of looked-after children are classed as having SEN, compared with 17 per cent of non looked-after children.
5. Looked-after children with no SEN, or who are on SEN support, make better or equal progress at primary school than non looked-after children in reading, writing and maths.
However, for children with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), non looked-after children progress better than looked-after children.
6. At secondary school, just 17.5 per cent of looked-after children achieved a grade 4 GCSE in both English and maths, compared with 58.9 per cent overall.
7. And in contrast to primary school, even when the effects of SEN are taken into account – looked-after children at secondary school make less progress than non looked-after children.
After the statistics were published Nadhim Zahawi, minister for children and families, said: "We know some groups, such as children in need and those who are looked after, often face many challenges and do not always achieve the same results as other children. That is why we have launched a call for evidence to hear directly from school leaders, social workers and other professionals about how we can best focus on improving the educational outcomes for these children. We have also launched an external review into school exclusions to look at why certain groups of children are more likely to be excluded and the impact this can have on them.”