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Raising the educational attainment of looked after children in Wales

8 February 2016

Child Research

University research has informed the Welsh Government’s new strategy aimed at raising the ambitions and educational attainment of looked after children in Wales.

A study published last year by researchers at the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) highlighted the extent of the gulf in educational attainment between children in care and their peers, and called for decisive action from policymakers to bridge this divide.

The study, commissioned by the Welsh Government, stated that just 8% of care-leavers progress to full-time education by age 19 – compared with 43% of all young people – with just 2.4% attending university.

The Welsh Government’s new strategy identifies the areas where action needs to be targeted to further support the educational attainment of children who are looked after, primarily of compulsory school age but also includes transition to further and higher education. It is accompanied by an action plan which sets out a commitment to improve educational outcomes for looked after children.

The CASCADE report which helped inform the strategy is available from the Centre’s website:  Mannay, D., Staples, E., Hallett, S., Roberts, L., Rees, A., Evans, R. and Andrews, D. 2015. Understanding the educational experiences and opinions, attainment, achievement and aspirations of looked after children in Wales.