The statistics

12th May 2006 at 01:00
57% Of children in care leave without a single GCSE or equivalent.

6% Get five Cs or better at GCSE. Results of care leavers have not risen since 2003.

9 Children in care are nine times more likely to be excluded than their peers.

36% Are entered for no GCSES at all.By the age of 19, at least a third of care leavers were not in education, employment or training.

pound;16bn Estimated savings for the taxpayer of raising the educational attainment of children in care, equivalent to half of England's education budget, according to research.

The Government has promised to "substantially narrow the gap between the attainment of children in care and their peers by 2006". Targets include:

* Raising the achievement of 11-year-olds in care to at least 60 per cent of the level of their peers

* Ensuring no more than 10 per cent reach school-leaving age without having sat a GCSE or equivalent

* Increasing the proportion of 16-year-olds in care who get five or more GCSE A*-C by four percentage points each year, and ensuring that at least 15 per cent reach this level in each local authority.

The Government has admitted it will miss its targets for school-leavers but says it is on course to reach its goal for 11-year-olds.

In 2004, the Government recognised the difficulties caused by regularly moving home and school by setting a target that, by 2008, 80 per cent of children under 16 who have been in care for two-and-a-half years or more should have been in the same placement for at least two years.

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