Children and young people looked after by local authorities are underachieving in schools

Children and young people looked after by local authorities are underachieving in schools.

“Looked after’ is the term introduced by the Department of Health (1989) to describe all children in public care, including those in foster or residential homes and those still with their own parents but subject to care orders”*

(Department of health 2000)

According to Hayden et al (1999) and Sinclair (2005) children and young people who entre into the care system will have previously experience significant difficulties or disadvantages. (Holland, Randerson 2005) They are placed in care for various reasons such as sexual or physical abuse, persistent neglect, domestic violence, death or illness in there family. Their family may be unable to cope or there may be drug, alcohol, or substance abuse. The majority children and young people in care come from families experiencing difficulties and are separated from them through other forms of hardship or breakdown. The consequences of these experiences could form some barriers to learning.

(Milligan, Stevens 2006 P: 85) There has been growing concerns regarding the health status of looked-after children and their really low levels of educational attainment. Jackson et al (2005 P: 1) proposes that research on the education of children and young people in care was just about non-existent until the 1990s and although this subject has attracted more interest lately. Although the majority of the findings found in early studies were extremely negative and depressing. (Milligan, Stevens 2006 P: 94 Cox 2000 P: 65) Studies show that children in care attendance rates are low and exclusion is high. Furthermore data; continuously indicate that looked after children have poor outcomes in terms of gaining qualifications.(Taylor 2006) These children are more likely to have special educational needs, though findings suggest that some of these children may have experienced difficulties at school before going into care. Prior experiences of poverty and deprivation amongst young people in care are associated with under-achievement. For other children being in care may cause educational problems.

They may have experience numerous and often unplanned moves from home.

(Brodie 2001 P: 166) Frequent and unexpected changes in care and education, has been identified as one of the main factors that contribute to a high level of exclusion among children in care. (Alock et al 2002) Information acquired suggests that many children in care experience numerous and often unplanned move from home. Due to placement changes, children in care are often forced to change schools. This situation places them at a great disadvantage. Due to these unexpected moves they are forced to resolve different curricula and varying educational expectations without continuity of instruction or services.

Making and sustaining relationships with peers may be difficult due to lack of care and schooling enjoyment of schooling and educational success

(DR B CHARLOTTE) It is also recognised that it is not only the academic work that suffers due to the lack of attendance. Being excluded and missing out of the social side of school life, especially in the first few years of education, this can have an effect on children’s ability to make and keep friendships that is a fundamental part of growing up.

(Howe 1999: P: 150) Literature reveals that many maltreated children are not popular in school with their peers. They are inclined to be unhappy children who hardly ever smile or laugh. They can be inflexible and obstinate in both thinking and their behaviour, also may portrait aggression towards whatever or who ever cause them distress. Furthermore, they lack empathy.

Low self-esteem

(Ashford et al 2008 P: 429) Many children and young people in care do exhibit low self-esteem. Previously entering into care most children would have experience; a breakdown in family, peer or community relationships.

(Rapshaw 2002, McLaughlin, Noley 2003) They can be depressed and withdrawn, and have problems in school. Children with low self-esteem may not want to experience new things, and may frequently speak negatively about themselves. They possibly may exhibit a low tolerance for frustration, giving up easily or will wait for some -one else to take the lead. They also tend to be over critical of and easily disappointed in themselves.

(Long 2000) Students who display low self-esteem will set them-selves low targets, enabling them to achieve success, or unrealistically high ones, where they can direct the blame of failure on the task.

(Daniel, Wassel 2002, Guishard-Pine et al 2007 P: 75) Whereas a child or young person with high self-esteem will be inclined to have good academic achievement, be energetic, expressive, emotionally intelligent, outgoing, confidence person who as the ability adapt their role to meet the given situation.

Social services Department Local Education Authorities and schools may not gather or share information. That would help them plan effectively

Looked after Children are amongst the most socially excluded of our child population” (Hall, Elliman 2003 P: 296)

(DFES 2006) children and young people in care have stated during interviews that education is important to them. They do want to excel in school and they do recognise and are aware, of how a good education can in prove their life chances. Children express that they felt that the lack of communication between schools and the care system and support received, excludes them from receiving the education they deserve. Furthermore they felt not all schools were able to meet their individual needs and felt like outsiders. They felt that being care and the stigma of being in care contributed in them being single out and bullied.

(Whitney 2007 P: 76) Looked after children repeatedly state that they do not want to be seen or treat different form other children, all they want to do is to be accepted for who they are, not the that child in care..

(Charlotte DCSF and DR B document) Children’s and young people educational difficulties may begin before they entered foster care and that children and young people are themselves aware of this and do not associate poor academic performance only with being in care.

Schools and carers may display lower expectation of children or young people in care, which can contribute to under achievement.

“There are often negative attitudes and assumptions surrounding these children”. (Haylock Browne 2004 P: 109)

(Chase et al 2006 P53) Carers and teachers may display low expectations of children in care which could contribute to underachievement’s..

Schools and social services may not act sufficiently quickly and sensitively to enable children and young people in public care to catch up when their schooling has been disrupted.

(Charlottes Dr Brandos document) studies imply that children who do not attend school regularly possibly will not be able to keep up with school work and in a busy school day. So it essential that schools and other educational settings identify their particular needs, by offering support where necessary enabling them to catch.

Looked after children and young people special educational needs may have not been promptly indentified or assessed.

Department for education and skills (2006) all educational setting should have a designated person who is responsible for the well being of children in care. The person appointed as designed person will have regularly contract with carers and have limited access to confidential information concerning child’s background.

Guishard-Pine et al 2007P:131) children in care have a individual plan, which is a plan of action to support the child’s full range of educational needs, It is a multi-professionals plan that requires contribution from all of the professionals involved in supporting the child’s overall care plan, which is the responsibility of the social services department,

Looked after children and young people are over represented amongst pupils excluded from schools.

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