Ten teams will be set up to help ensure more children growing up in care can benefit from places and facilities at top private schools, it was announced today.
The teams will work across the country to identify both opportunities in independent schools and children in care who would benefit from access to their music, sports or other facilities.
Today, Nadhim Zahawi, children's minister, is due to tell the Association of Directors of Children’s Services conference in Manchester that the scheme is about providing resources to councils to help them identify children and place them in the right schools.
“While standards in state schools continue to rise, I want independent schools and Directors of Children’s Services to play a greater role in helping raise outcomes for these vulnerable children,” Mr Zahawi is expected to say.
“A number around the country are already making fantastic offers to children in care, but I want more to come forward and councils to take up the opportunities. I am clear that this cannot be put off any longer, and I will accept no less.
“This is now about providing resources to councils to identify and place children where it is right for them. Together, we can and must increase access, improve opportunities and foster aspirations and belief in what looked after children can achieve.”
The minister announced last year that children in care could receive mentoring or scholarships from some of the top private schools in the country, as well as cut-price boarding places.
Today, organisations are being invited to bid for a £500,000 contract to run a national service of up to 10 teams to bring together private schools, local authorities, virtual school heads and social workers to find suitable places for children in care.
Barnaby Lenon, chair of the Independent Schools Council, said: “The all-round education and pastoral care offered by independent schools can be transformational for a young person and many schools are already supporting vulnerable children.”