Exclusion of looked-after pupils 'to end by 2024'

New care review plan says Scottish schools must 'know and cherish' their care-experienced pupils

Emma Seith

School exclusions for children in care should end by 2024, under a new plan

A route map towards implementing the recommendations from Scotland's Independent Care Review has been published, outlining priorities for the next three years.

It includes the goal that the formal and informal school exclusion of care-experienced children will end by 2024, and that in the next three years all schools will “know and cherish” their looked-after pupils.

Thousands of people who were in care shared testimonies with the review, which was published in February 2020.

It concluded that vast and urgent change was needed within the care sector.

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The new plan, called Keep The Promise, will be split into three separate documents, with each covering a three-year period, with the goal being that the conclusions of the review should be fully implemented by 2030.

Improving support for children in care

Plan 21-24 – published today – focuses on the period from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2024. It provides five key priorities and areas of focus under which organisations will work to achieve the required change over the next three years.

The five priorities include "a good childhood", which focuses on services such as family therapy and education.

When it comes to education, the plan states: “Care-experienced children and young people will receive all they need to thrive at school. There will be no barriers to their engagement with education, and schools will know and cherish their care-experienced pupils. 

“School improvement plans will value and recognise the needs of their care-experienced pupils with robust tracking of attendance and attainment so that support can be given early. 

“Care-experienced young people will be actively participating in all subjects and extracurricular activities in schools. 

“The formal and informal exclusion of care-experienced children from education will end.

“Schools will support and ensure care-experienced young people go on to genuinely positive destinations, such as further education or employment.”


Fiona Duncan, chair of The Promise Scotland, said Plan 21-24 would be Scotland’s “route map and guiding light for the next three years” and would ensure that in the future children come to know only "care and compassion, not a ‘care system’”.

She said: “Thousands of children, young people and families with experience of the ‘care system’ told the Care Review their story, often sharing intimate and traumatic parts of their life, in the knowledge that their world may not change as a result, but that life could be different for generations to come.

“These stories shaped the entire Independent Care Review and its conclusions. These stories inspired Scotland to #KeepThePromise.

“Plan 21-24 is Scotland’s route map and guiding light for the next three years. It details the first phase of change towards building a country that cares, with services that work to meet the needs of children and families, when and where they are needed.

“And if Scotland lives up to its commitment, and ‘where children are safe in their families and feel loved they stay – and families are given support together to nurture that love and overcome the difficulties which get in the way’, then those to whom The Promise is kept will know only care and compassion, not a ‘care system’ – but may never know that transformation was powered by the generosity and selflessness of all those who gave their stories in hope of change for people they may never meet.”

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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