Why this is leading practice
Foster Care Associates has a commitment to ensure all children and young people receive an appropriate education to help them achieve their full potential. Approximately 95% of the children and young people who we look after and are placed with our foster carers have a school placement or alternative education provision. Our Education Service is successfully narrowing the attainment gap. We expect future outcomes to be well above the national average in the future. The commitment to continuing professional development for all the employees of Foster Care Associates has had an impact on the life chances of LAC beyond the 5A*-C thresholds.
Impact to date
In 2009 data shows that 18% of the children in care that we support achieved 5 A* - C at GCSE compared to a national average of 15%
In 2010, 24% achieved 5 A* - C and 91% achieved 1 A* - G. We expect these results to be well above the national average again.
LAC levels of engagement in formal schooling have increased, attendance is improving, and the confidence of school phobics is increased.
Rationale / Start Point
Education is paramount to stability within a foster placement and to enhance the life chances of children, in line with the 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters. Raising education attainment and ‘narrowing the gap’ is the main focus of the Foster Care Associates Education Service. We achieve this by:
- ensuring appropriate education provision,
- engaging with staff from schools and other agencies
- direct support to the children and young people
- empowering the foster carers.
- training and support for all Foster Care Associates staff so that they have the skills, knowledge and passion to drive improvement.
- Securing a national network of contacts and partners in the welfare of LAC
- Devising flexible, personal and bespoke education packages that address the needs of individuals and engage them in returning to learning.
- Using a the AQA Unit award scheme to accredit learning at the appropriate levels
- tracking and monitoring student attainment and being reactive to student need
Sustainability and Further Development
This work is sustainable because the Continuing Professional development, and induction of staff is well structured to support the Education Officers.
The developing national networking structures are fostering exchange of good practice between regional centres.and are another feature of Foster Care Associates work that should be considered for a Leading Aspect Award.