Praise for TES campaign
Its backers include Maurice Smith, acting chief inspector of schools and a former social worker, and Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.
Sir Cyril has argued in the TES that places at boarding schools may hold the answer. Some private schools disagree. The campaign is also backed by the children's charities, Barnardo's and NCH.
Less than 100 of the 65,000 looked-after children get to university each year and more than half leave care without a single GCSE. One study showed that a quarter of all adults in prison had been in care for at least part of their childhood.
How do you think children in care could get a better educational deal? By starting a debate about how we can improve attainment of looked-after pupils, The TES hopes to help create an increase in the proportion who leave school with good qualifications. These are some of the comments on the TES website already. Join the debate by adding your own thoughts and ideas on www.tes.co.uk or write to the TES letters page.
Just wanted to say, good job TES for raising awareness about these "forgotten" children. As a teacher, I feel that education is important as it will give these kids something useful to focus on and to develop their minds - but, whether they get GCSEs or not is not the real issue here - the most important thing is that they get attention, love and respect so they can feel acknowledged and hopefully move on to lead happy and fulfilled lives.
I have worked as special needs co-ordinator for more than five years and have been responsible for children in care. One of the major issues is the mobility of these children, which enables them to get "lost". They are moved from carer to carer and this often means moving school.
Teachers do a great job on the whole, but we are not miracle workers and can only do so much. More needs to be done so that these children can fulfil their potential because GCSEs and qualifications do matter. Help to raise their self-esteem and sense of self and they can begin to learn.
What's more important, pieces of paper with grades on or well-rounded children that know they are loved and have self-respect and happiness? I am a teacher and I can tell you: it's the happy, loved children that do well no matter what.
We need to spend our time, energy and resources sorting the system rather than belittling it.
We have a looked-after child in school and the thing he lacks most is an emotional bond. Teachers don't provide this so consequently the child does not thrive. Some teachers are better than others at reaching him. He is not stupid, but in order to get the attention he craves is very manipulative.
Going to boarding school (as suggested by Sir Cyril Taylor in his TES opinion article) would just prove to him that nobody cares and would not be right for him.
Any child who has to change schools several times for whatever reason will suffer in terms of low achievement, failing to form relationships with teachers and bonding with peers. It is reasonable to expect teachers to work harder to make foster children feel secure, welcome and capable (and I am sure most teachers do), but surely the real issue lies with better planning by the social services, to make sure these children are uprooted less often.
Fantastic idea to have this campaign TES! From my experience as a social worker (now teaching) and a project leader for a looked-after children education project what children in care need most of all is support from real people. Not faceless managers and so-called experts who have no idea of the reality of these kids' lives but real teachers, carers and friends in school. Real teachers who plan specifically for the child.
As a secondary teacher I am struck by the importance of school as somewhere that can offer stability to looked-after young people. I have worked with youngsters for whom school has been a relief. At times their behaviour is challenging but for some, school and academic attainment represent a regaining of some kind of control.
FE Focus 2, Letters 30, Friday magazine 6