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New funding announced for pupils in care

02/10/2013 Joanna
New specialist teacher jobs are likely to be created through a government initiative designed to help raise educational attainment among children in care.

Last year, only 50 per cent of looked-after key stage two pupils achieved expected levels in English and maths, compared to 79 per cent of their peers not in care.

Furthermore, whereas 58 per cent of non-looked-after children achieved at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C including in English and maths, only 15 per cent of children in care managed to do likewise.

Until now, children who have been in care for at least six months have benefited from pupil premium funding being allocated to their schools along the same lines as children from low income families.

However, the government has now introduced the 'pupil premium plus' scheme, whereby as of April 2014, funding to schools per pupil in care will increase from the existing level of £900 for the 2013-14 academic year to £1,900.

Furthermore, children will now be eligible for this support from the moment they enter care, as will those who are adopted from care or who leave care under a special guardianship or residence order.

Children's minister Edward Timpson explained: "Children in care face unique challenges at school and often struggle to keep up with their peers at both primary and secondary level.

"It's vital that these vulnerable children are given the targeted support they need and the education they deserve to help them get on in life."

Councils' virtual head teachers will have a significant role to play in working with schools to ensure pupil premium plus funding is used to provide the best possible educational support for children in care, which could include one-to-one tuition to help pupils catch up.

Other steps recently taken to improve attainment among looked-after children include the National College for Teaching and Leadership improving its training programme for school governors on this issue, while all two-year-olds in care are now eligible for 15 hours of early education per week.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801644991-ADNFCR
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