Three ways to improve

17th March 2006 at 00:00
Stability at school and continuity at home with long-term placements are key to improving the education and lives of children in care, according to contributors to the TES website.

We asked what were the three things which would make a difference to looked-after children.

"Tiggywinkle" suggested clusters of specialist primary and secondary schools: "They need to stay at one school and not be moved frequently and at short notice, then have to make new friends - or not, as is more usual."

"Kazzam" mooted the idea of an independent voice to champion the interests of children in care both in school and at home.

"A foster parent, a teacher, a social worker are all employed by the same local authority. Where does the child turn for support if in disagreement with or unhappy about the provision being made?"

Some argued for lower expectations. "For a lot of these kids, education isn't about being in school and learning about historical or mathematical facts, it's about learning to survive," said "Veevee".

But this view was not shared by "Jetcat", who grew up in care .

"I remember three things that would have made a difference to my educational experiences at school: my carer being actively involved in school life, not just attending parents' evenings, but school photos etc; being allowed and encouraged to find space and time to do homework; and being recognised for achievements. The one and only time I got an A-grade at school, this was met with 'My daughter gets As all the time, but she works hard' from a residential staff member."

What three things do you think would make a difference to the lives of children in care? Weblog: www.tes.co.ukblogsTimeToCareForum: www.tes.co.ukstaffroomtimetocare

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