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Schools can help to protect

Peter McParlin's article ("We must end this wasteful neglect", TES, August 25) drew attention to the poor deal that children "looked after" in care receive in terms of preparation for future independence in the community.

I am pleased that their needs are becoming more public, especially in relation to education. These children are "looked after" by the local authority, which includes the local education authority, not just social services as is commonly believed.

My work as an educational psychologist, both in schools and in a specialist, multi-professional assessment centre run by social services in inner London, led me to become increasingly concerned by the disadvantages faced by these children and generally by the lack of "co-operation and working together" necessary to enhance the futures of "children in need" (Section 27 17, Children Act 1989).

While I do not believe that children should be labelled, I am convinced that education services should prioritise these children in a system which works closely with other agencies.

In addition, clear information from schools, particularly in relation to children who are chronically neglected and emotionally abused, is vital for child protection.

RENUKA JEYARAJAH DENT

Education development director The Bridge Child Care Consultancy Service 24 Upper Street London N1 0PN

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