Children in care should have equal expectations

16th February 2001 at 00:00
Geraldine Brennan reported on encouraging educational advances made by children who have benefited from the Right to read scheme in children's homes in five pilot authorities (Friday, January 26).

She quotes one commentator who believes that current government targets for GCSEs achieved by children looked after by local authorities are "dishearteningly low". Barnardo's would certainly agree with that. We would like attainment targets for these children to be at least the equivalent of comarable groups of children living at home.

While availability of books and other stimuli to learning are crucial, the provision of adult support and involvement in learning by carers and teachers are equally vital.

Our own research has also shown the importance of greater stability for children in public care: fewer placement moves - and hence fewer school moves - are clearly linked to educational attainment.

Janice Funnell, education adviser, Barnardo's, Ilford, Essex

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