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Scandal of invisible children

Today The TES begins a campaign for a better deal for the 65,000 children in care. Six years ago, a TES survey revealed that many education authorities had no idea whether these children left school with any qualifications. Others said thousands did not achieve a single GCSE.

Ministers spoke of a scandal. They promised extra help.

Since then, thousands more children have passed through school. Councils now know their academic results. But new figures show that the scandal remains. Just one in 16 achieves five good GCSEs. Fewer than a 100 go to university each year.

Teachers deal with these children every day. They are confronted by the consequences of their difficult backgrounds and of a system which means that most change foster families three times a year. When one thrives, it is often a teacher who makes the difference. Inside, we tell the story of Jonny Hoyle who was helped by his English teacher, John Ward.

But for most people these are invisible children who rise briefly up the political agenda and disappear again. Our campaign aims to remind others of their plight. We want to start a debate about how they can be helped.

Should they go to boarding schools as Sir Cyril Taylor suggests in today's TES? What can we learn from children who do make it? Join us in this important debate in the paper and on the web.

News 3, Platform 21

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