The Education of Looked After Children. London Borough of Croydon

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1 Appendix 1 The Education of Looked After Children London Borough of Croydon Report on achievements for academic year 2OO4/5 January 2006 Author Mike Johnston 1

2 Summary This report summarises the educational statistics from the OC2 return completed in the autumn of All figures were completed on children who had been looked after for at least one year previous to 30 th September The purpose of this report is to:- Provide explanation and context to issues surrounding the educational attainment of looked after children in Croydon. Provided comparisons with other data Look at developing trends and strategies for working more effectively. The statistics presented here need to be interpreted with caution, as SATs and GCSE results are only one way of looking at children s achievement and progress. Children who are looked after sometimes have so many other issues in their lives that they are not able to demonstrate achievement in terms of national examinations, but nevertheless make good progress in relation to their circumstances. There were 335 children of school age that had been looked after for at least a year ( as at 30 th September 2005). 182 were placed out of Croydon though 47 of these were placed in nearby authorities. 153 were placed in Croydon. Numbers increase in each school year group, with 10 children in year 2 and 95 children in year 11. Numbers go up considerably in years 10 and 11 mainly due to the admission of unaccompanied minors and ( 42 (44%) of year 11 children had been in the care system for less than 2 years, in most cases this was the date that they entered the country and in many cases shows exceptional educational achievement and determination to succeed. Key stage 1, 2 and 3 performance Reliable data is available from the last five years. The following chart shows children achieving average or above results at each key Stage. Key stage 1 SATs are taken at the end of year 2 at Infant school. Key stage 2 SATs are taken at the end of Junior school in year 6, and key stage 3 SATs are taken at the end of year 9 in secondary school. The main measure of performance in key stage 4 is G.C.S.E taken at the end of year 11. Achievement for looked after children remains very low compared to the general population, but it needs to be remembered that this group contains large numbers of children with significant issues in their lives that make progress in education very difficult. Author Mike Johnston 2

3 Croydon SATs LAC over five years to KS1 Average of 2+ ks 2 average 4+ Ks3 Average 5+ Key Stage 1 Number of children in group 10 Number statemented 1 (10%) Number achieving an average of 2+ 5 (50%) Percentage nationally achieving 2+ (86%) LAC nationally achieving 2+ (55%) Male 7 (70%) White British 6 ( 60%%) White /Caribbean 2 (20%%) Any other mixed Background 1 (10%%) African 1 (10%) Comment Due to the very small cohort of children at this age the number of children achieving level 2 or more swings widely from year to year, and depends on the cohort of children in this group. The one child statemented has severe learning needs and is disapplied from the National Curriculum. As the numbers in different ethnic groups is very small, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the comparative performance of different groups. The ethnicity of children is broadly the same as last year. Author Mike Johnston 3

4 Key Stage 2 Number of children in group 18 Number statemented 4 ( 22%) Number achieving an average of 4+ 7 (39%) Percentage nationally achieving 4+ (79%) Percentage LAC nationally ach. 4+ (43%) Male 12 (67%) White British 9 (50%) Caribbean 1 (6%) White and black Caribbean 4 (22%) African 3 (17%) White black African 1 (6%) Comment This group has been monitored intensively by the Primary Secondary Transition Specialist within the LACE team. The results achieved are lower than last year, but it is felt that all children are working to their appropriate level. There is a great deal of educational need within this group with 22% of the group having a statement of education need. As regards extra input from the LACE team it is felt that little more input could be put in place, but there could be some more support to develop literacy in the earlier years of primary school for some children, and this is being addressed by the Reading Champion. The numbers within different ethnic groups are too small to be able to analyse. There appears to be little difference in achievement between children from different backgrounds. The small number of children in this group means that there is potential for wide changes in percentages from year to year, but overall there seems to be evidence of progress made over the last five years. Key Stage 3 Number of children in group 36 Number statemented 7 (19%) Number achieving an average of 5+ 9 (25%) Percentage nationally achieving 5+ (70%) Percentage of LAC nationally 5+ (23%) Male 23 (64%) White British 14 White and black Caribbean 2 African 9 Pakistani 1 Author Mike Johnston 4

5 White and black African 2 Any other ethnic group 1 Any other white background 6 Caribbean 1 Comment There has been good progress made with achievement at this key stage over the last five years, but the percentage achieving an average of 5 across their SATs has dropped slightly this year. Achievement remains low in national terms. A number of these young people have had considerable input from the LACE team, and all of these children have been tracked. From the ethnic data it would seem that some unaccompanied minors are coming into the country at an earlier age than in previous years. G.C.S.E Results The following table gives results at G.C.S.E for the last five years. There has been significant progress with exam results this year, although due to numbers percentages will vary from year to year. GCSE performance over five years to one Qualification 5 A*-G grades 5 A*-c grades Author Mike Johnston 5

6 National/ Croydon LAC GCSE Comparisions National all children National LAC Croydon LAC Percentage Achieving one GCSE any grade Percentage achieving five GCSE A*-C grades Number of children in year 11 ( 2004/5) 95 Number statemented 4 Percentage nationally achieving one G.C.S.E (all children) 97% Percentage nationally achieving five A*-C G.C.E.(all children) 54% Percentage national LAC achieving one GCSE 56% Percentage National LAC achieving five A*-C GCSE 9% Croydon LAC achieving one GCSE 59.7% Croydon LAC achieving five GCSE A*-C 18.5% Total number of unaccompanied asylum seekers 59 (62%) The number of asylum seeking young people has remained similar to last year, with significant numbers coming from African countries. There are now similar numbers of boys (54% male) and girls in this cohort. Many of these young people have only been in the education system for a short time ( 42( 44%) have been in the country for two years or less) and have done extremely well considering this. 76 (80%) children achieved alt least one qualification of any sort. A table of results for then 3 main ethnic groups is as follows. Numbers for other groups are too small to analyse. 54% of children in this group were living in borough. Author Mike Johnston 6

7 Numbers of children achieving at least one A-C GCSE. Ethnicity Total number in year 11 Number achieving one GCSE Percentage African UM White/European UM Indigenous children There is no significant difference in performance in the unaccompanied minors groups. In general some of the African children have been taught in English, and perhaps a bigger proportion of the White/ European unaccompanied minors arrive with no spoken or written English skills. In view of their disadvantage most have done well. It might be expected that the indigenous group achieves higher results but some have significant mental health issues that prevent successful engagement with education. The LACE team often find unaccompanied minors the easiest to support, as many of them are highly motivated and willing to accept help with school work. The following should be noted:- of this year 11 group 76 ((80%) had achieved at least one qualification of some sort that reflected their achievements to date. One child was ill for most of year 11 in hospital Three had been put back a year but were doing well in education but had to be included in the statistics. One was sectioned on mental health grounds Four children were statemented with severe learning difficulties. Overall the group had done well and official statistical returns do not do justice to the achievements of Croydon s looked after children. Of this cohort 21 (22%) have received significant support in their education from the LACE team and Get Connected, ranging from monitoring to individual support at homework club school or foster home( though not necessarily in year 11). All the young people who attended Get Connected achieved at least one qualification. A number of children did not achieve any qualifications- this was almost entirely due to social and emotional problems that prevented the young person from achieving their potential. A few young people had achieved well in education and were due to achieve excellent results but dropped out of school during the spring Author Mike Johnston 7

8 term of year 11, as they couldn t cope with the extra pressure. ( This problem has been noted by colleagues in other authorities) Permanent Exclusion This is recorded as being 4 children- a higher proportion than the general population but less than the 6 recorded last year. These children had received input from the LACE team to either try and prevent this or arrange alternative education. For many of these children a Pupil Referral Unit placement is more appropriate for their needs. In 3 cases a member of the LACE team attended the exclusion meeting at the school to support the child, carer and social worker. One other exclusion was overturned after intervention from the team and the young person is still attending with support from the team. Children with a Statement There were 14% of children with a statement of education need (16% in 2004). Of the national population about 3% of children have a statement. This is reflected in the low educational achievement of looked after children. Most of the asylum seekers coming into the country during Key stage 4 do not go through the statementing process. If year 11 are removed the level of statementing is 17% Attendance at school Those missing 25 days schooling is now 8% and has reduced from last year. (11.3% in 2003%) This group are almost entirely in years 10 and 11 at school, and are mainly reflected in the non achieving group mentioned under G.C.S.E attainment. Professionals on the whole have worked very hard with this group, but many have significant mental health issues that prevent them from accessing meaningful education. These children are generally well known to the LACE team. LAC missing 25 days of school Author Mike Johnston 8

9 Admission to School No specific data is kept on children and how long it takes to get a school place. In Croydon during the academic year 2004/5 this process was timely, but there were more difficulties when children were placed with other boroughs. As an interim, private provision has been used such as Purley Language College and Peckham Positive Project, until the young person obtains a school place. Children arriving in year 11 are very hard to place- particularly if they come into the system from the spring onwards. This will need to be looked at, particularly as there are large numbers entering the system at the moment. Summary These statistics need to be treated cautiously as there are small numbers, but it would seem that over five years good progress has been made with the education of looked after children. Some of the reasons would seem to be:- Well motivated unaccompanied minors coming into the country, many of whom are academically able in key stage 4 LAC having a higher profile in terms of school admission, and support from school. Action from the LACE team including training, direct support for children social workers schools and carers and other activities to support education. Future Action I would suggest that the following needs to take place:- A member of the LACE team to monitor and support in the primary phase- this would eventually impact on GCSE statistics and children that are hard to reach in key stage 4 Explore ways of enabling very disaffected key stage 4 children to succeed. Particular support to year 11 children in the spring term and at the time of their GCSE. Explore ways of enabling unaccompanied minors to access education more quickly. Author Mike Johnston 9

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