Grades for children in care lower than classmates’

Children in care leave school with few GCSEs than their classmates.

Children in care leave school with few GCSEs than their classmates. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Children in care are leaving school with fewer GCSEs than their classmates, according to new figures.

Department for Education data reveals children looked after by North Somerset Council are being left with the equivalent of more than a GCSE grade behind their peers.

The charity Become, which supports children in care, is calling for more teacher training to support pupils.

Sam Turner, from Become, said: "The stark gap in attainment between looked-after children and their peers at school demonstrates the huge impact childhood adversity has on children's ability to learn.

"Most children enter care as a result of abuse or neglect, and for too many, their lives do not feature the stability and support they need to heal from this trauma and thrive in school."

The figures were based on the Progress 8 score, which shows the rate of improvement a student has made from the end of primary to the end of secondary education.

Exam results at key stage four were compared to the average scores of other students who performed similarly at key stage two. A score of 0 means they are in line with the average, while a score of -1 indicates they are about a grade behind.

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The score for children in care in North Somerset was -1.7, compared to -0.1 for all pupils in the 2017-18 academic year - meaning children in care progressed more than a grade less on average than the average for all pupils.

It is also about half a grade worse than the average of -1.2 for children in care across England.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "The nature of the trauma and life experiences of many of the children looked after can have a negative impact upon their ability to engage with education.

"As well as this, some individuals experience changes in foster placements and, because of complex and challenging issues and non-engagement with school, changes in educational provision.

"This lack of consistency can have an adverse impact upon their academic progress and attainment.

"Together with schools we work hard to support each child looked after achieve their best and thrive in school.

"This includes training we provide for key staff in schools with responsibility for children looked after on the effects of trauma and how to support children and young people in school."