'I never thought I'd be any good'

12th May 2006 at 01:00
Rebecca Hall says The TES's recommendations are common sense. "I wish they had been in place when I was in care."

Between the ages of three and 16, Rebecca, now 21, had eight foster placements in Derby. As a result she attended four primary and two secondary schools.

"It was very unsettling," she said. "I would just get into my work and then have to move school and start all over again. It knocked my confidence. I never thought I'd be any good at education because of it. It was only when I got to Year 10 that I began to think I could do well at school.

"People in care have the ability to get good grades but most don't get them. They need more support and their confidence raised. If you are moved around lots of different schools, it's going to lower your confidence. Free transport so you can stay at the same school would be useful."

Despite the turbulence at school, Rebecca passed eight GCSEs and went on to complete a health and social care GNVQ. She is now in the first year of a sociology degree at Derby university.

"Looking back, extra tuition would really have helped," she said. "It could have been private, but I also think extra money for schools would have helped. One of my weakest areas was maths. It would have been good to have the chance of catch-up classes.

"I do think that more training for teachers is also a good idea. I think teachers know the basic issues about children in care but not much more. I don't think most people really know about the problems young people in care face," she added. "It's good that this campaign is raising awareness."

Rebecca is now considering a career in teaching. "When I was at school, I had a teacher who was really inspiring. It's important to have that. But I definitely won't teach maths, maybe English."

What advice would she give to the next generation of children in care? "I would just say stick with it even when it seems impossible. A lot of people say it but it's true."

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