Cross-party report on children in care recommends Buttle UK Quality Mark and Assisted Boarding Network
12 October 2012
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers recently published the report of its cross-party inquiry into the educational attainment of looked after children in England. The report, 'Education Matters in Care', was launched last month by Edward Timpson MP, Chair of the APPG and now minister for children in care.
The report features a number of examples of good practice in the sector that are having a positive impact on the educational outcomes for children in care and care leavers. However, it also highlights a number of areas for improvement and raises concerns about the postcode lottery of support which still seems to exist for support for Care Leavers on their transition from care to adulthood.
The report makes a series of recommendations targeted at local authorities, specific government departments, colleges, universities and other organisations. We were delighted that one of the recommendations was that the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills should “assist and encourage rolling out of the Buttle UK Quality Mark to all registered providers of further and higher education” and we are already in discussions with the departments to this end.
The report also recommends the promotion of the role of the ‘designated member of staff’ for Care Leavers at Further Education Colleges and Universities, as well as the importance of early outreach events such as university visits and taster sessions to raise awareness and aspiration. Having a designated contact for Care Leavers as well as pre entry outreach and support are requirements of the Quality Mark and we see a lot of good practice in these areas. Whatsmore, the involvement of both educational institutions and carers in Personal Education Plan reviews is a further recommendation of the report and in fact we would extend this further in that we ask colleges with the Quality Mark to be involved with student’s pathway plans, if students and local authorities are happy for them to do so. We therefore welcome the recommendations of the report and are pleased that Quality Mark institutions are already meeting a number of the recommendations.
The report also highlights the positive role of Assisted Boarding, and the role that boarding education can play for vulnerable children including those in care. The report quotes comments made by Tim Loughton MP and Lord Adonis at the launch of the Assisted Boarding Network, a joint initiative between Buttle UK and the Royal National Children's Foundation. For more information on the Assisted Boarding Network click here.
A list of institutions with the Quality Mark is available on our website here.
To find out more about the recommendations and the evidence the inquiry received you can read the report here.
Image credits: Flickr, hackNY, 'Fall 2012 hackNY Student Hackathon'.