Targets can help children in care;Letter

19th March 1999 at 00:00
IT cannot be any clearer that all those with a professional responsibility for children in care are now compelled to act. The setting of local authority attainment targets for the educational standards of children in their care has been described as "very modest" (TES, March 5).

We would agree and would certainly hope that local authorities smashed through them. However, we would like to highlight just two of the major benefits of having these targets in place:

* the simple procedure of tracking attainment will, in itself, mean that efficient records will need to be kept;

* For children to gain the required target it would mean that they would have to attend school on a regular basis. This would be a vast improvement on the current situation.

There is no doubt that local authorities need help just as much as the children in their care do. We hope that they will soon seek the benefit of tools and expertise from a number of sources. These include: Equal Chances, published last week by the Who Cares? Trust; the National Teaching Advisory Service for Looked- After Children, which offers practical support to local authorities in meeting their responsibilities; The Personal Education Plan, recently published by the National Children's Bureau and Barnado's, providing a means of planning and providing continuity to the education of young people in care; Care About Education, also from NCB, which provides a joint training package for carers and teachers.

It is now, as Frank Dobson said, "our job to make sure the whole system delivers".

Sally Morgan

Project leader Education of Children in Public Care National Children's Bureau 8 Wakley Street, London EC1

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