30 Aug 2012
Educational achievements of looked after children in Wales are improving gradually but many are still not reaching their potential according to a report released by the Auditor General for Wales.
The report concludes that there is too much variation in attainment, inconsistent support and a lack of clearly defined outcomes against which progress can be assessed.
The Welsh Government and local authorities have introduced several policy initiatives since 1999 including guidance and funding to support the education of looked after children. While this has contributed to some improvement and growing evidence of good practise, there are still discrepancies between local authorities in services and outcomes. The report says that a lack of clearly defined objectives and weaknesses in planning, performance management and corporate parenting is hindering progress.
In addition, changes in data collection limit the ability to monitor improvements and allow comparison across the UK. The attainment of looked after children varies across Wales and is lower on some measures than elsewhere in the UK. The report highlights that while the proportion of looked after children who achieve the expected level at Key Stages 2 (age 11) and 3 (age 14) has increased slightly in recent years, their performance falls further behind as they get older. Statistically, the educational attainment of looked after children is significantly worse than that of all children.
The Welsh Government has set out proposals for greater regional and national delivery of education and social care. Additionally, local authorities are continuing to develop local planning partnerships. Together these developments aim to provide a new more effective framework to develop clearer, co-ordinated strategies for young people.