#FCF2015 Issue of the Day: Fostering and Education
In 2006 a comprehensive report looking into the educational attainment of looked-after children showed that:
- only 6% of children leaving care over the age of 16 achieved at least 5 GCSEs, compared to 56% in the wider population.
- only 43% of looked after children achieve one GCSE or GNVQ, compared to 95% in the wider population
There has been some progress since then, but it is still the case that looked-after children are not achieving anywhere near the same level of educational attainment as their peers who are not in care.
The poor education attainment of children who are in care may be attributed to a great many factors, such as early years deprivation, lack of stability at home or in a foster home, learning difficulties and more. But none of these factors make low educational achievement inevitable for fostered children, and there is a great deal that foster carers can do to help children overcome these barriers and reach their potential.
The report goes so far as to say that "foster carers are the key to ensuring that all looked-after children achieve their potential." It also reports that young people at university who had grown up in foster care said that their placement with foster carers who had a strong commitment to supporting education was the key factor in their educational success.
4 characteristics of an education-positive foster carer:
Belief - they believe in each child’s potential, and are ambitious for the children they foster
Encouragement – they encourage and support their foster children to do well at school
Engagement – they attend parents evenings, school events and functions, get involved in school life
Advocate – they advocate for the child at every opportunity to ensure they are receiving the educational support they need
Many of these skills come naturally to people that have come from an education or training background, and that’s one of the reasons why they make such great foster carers.
If you are interested in education, or have a love of learning, and think you might have what it takes to be a foster carer, please get in touch with us today. Being the inspiration for fostered children to reach their educational potential is truly something that will change their lives, for the better, for ever.
#FCF2015 Day 4: Fostering and Education.