The children in care in Cornwall who have overcome the odds

Children in care living in Cornwall are celebrating their best ever outcomes so far with their SATs and A’ Level results and university places.

This past year has seen pupils achieving their best ever SATs results and the successes keep coming, with four young people getting the A’ Level results they needed which means they have now been able to go on to University. They join a growing number of over twenty young people now pursuing degree courses.

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Councillor Sally Hawken, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Children and Wellbeing said: “We are determined to help children in care to achieve their very best at school. Research from the Department for Education shows that educational attainment for looked after children is much lower than for non-looked after children but we are determined to disprove this.

“These young people may not have had the same advantages in their lives as children who are not in care but we can offer them the support they need at school to help them to achieve and have the successful and bright future that they deserve.”

In the new academic year (2018-2019) there are a higher percentage of year 12 and 13 pupils studying A’ Levels than in previous years, and the number of pupils engaged in education, employment and training this year is higher than previous years. Courses that students are studying range from philosophy to child care, to mechanics.

There is also positive news for children in care aged between 7 and 11 years who are likely to be significantly above the national level and, in 2018, have closed the gap between children who are not in care.

For children aged between 14 – 16 years outcomes have improved since the dip in 2017 and are now back on track with an overall trend of improvement since the establishment of the Virtual School in 2008.

Fixed term exclusions are down significantly and the number of unauthorised absences for children in care has dropped with an overall improvement in school attendance. The attendance rate for children in care in Cornwall is better than other children in care in the rest of the south west region.

To celebrate the results the team recently held two highly successful celebration events at The Alverton Manor. The younger children celebrated with a high tea, and the older children had a celebratory dinner with fairy lights, which some of the children described as ‘magical’.

The events were also attended by parents, carers, nurses, social workers as well as the Strategic Director of Children Schools & Families, Trevor Doughty and the Council’s Chief Executive Kate Kennally. 

Virtual schools were set up by the Government to raise the educational attainment of children in care by getting them the support they need to succeed at school and in later life.

Cornwall Council’s virtual school team is a small, multi-disciplinary team working to raise the educational attainment and attendance of children and young people from the age of 2 and in education post-16, including university. It tracks educational progress while supporting and monitoring work with children and young people in care. All children in care in Cornwall are part of Cornwall’s virtual school.

Children still attend a mainstream school, which works in partnership with the virtual school and this working relationship plays a key role in supporting young people to achieve these successes. The virtual schools team also work closely with social workers, foster carers, children and young people and the adoption services.  

Story posted 07 December 2018