Weak but not forgotten

23rd December 2005 at 00:00
Another Christmas, another bleak set of figures about the prospects of looked-after children. More than half of the 7,500 children in care who leave school each year do so without a single GCSE or equivalent qualification. Fewer than 100 make it to university. Many end up in the worst schools. Politicians have set targets, but the Government's latest proposal for a code which would put children in care at the top of the admissions list is an acknowledgement of how little progress has been made.

The yardstick of any civilised education system must be its success with the most vulnerable. Ministers have good intentions but they are often swept away by a preoccupation with more fashionable politics. In the midst of private sponsors, league tables and parent power, the weakest are forgotten. We intend to keep reminding ministers of the plight of looked-after children throughout 2006.

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