Education emerged at the top of the agenda at the inaugural meeting. Susanna Cheal, director of the Who Cares? Trust - a charity lobbying on behalf of children in care - bemoaned the lack of national statistics. Small studies have shown that permanent exclusion among children in care is 10 times higher than the average, and that as many as 30 per cent are out of mainstream education.
A recent Social Exclusion Unit report on truancy and school exclusion indicated that targets are to be set. "Fifty per cent of all children in care should achieve a qualification by 2001, and 75 per cent by 2003." Proposals on how this will be achieved are expected later this summer.